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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > build a better weizen?
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Old 07-03-2007, 01:23 AM   #1
Funkenjaeger
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Default build a better weizen?

On seeing the constant recommendations, and the fact that they're great for the summer, I recently brewed my first hefeweizen, which was a partial mash. The recipe was as follows:
Mashed:
1lb Pilsener, 1lb Vienna, 1/2lb Wheat Malt, and 1/2 lb Torrified Wheat

3.3 lb wheat LME
1.27lb wheat DME
1oz hallertauer 60min
1oz saaz 15min
WLP300 yeast

it fermented in a closet at my house, so it wasn't exactly temperature controlled, but it was pretty cool during those couple weeks, probably mid 60's most of the time. Fermentation was reasonably vigorous, I used a blowoff tube, and it did manage to get some krausen into the opening of the tube but didn't actually blow much out.

OG 1.049, FG 1.014, before going into the keg, close to the beersmith predicted FG of 1.012

it came out pretty good, but it didn't have as much banana/clove hefe character as I expected. There was definitely some though, and it was pretty good, but I really wished it would have been more like a hefe and less like a plain wheat beer.

I scooped out a bunch of the yeast cake from the hefe and used it for my next brew, a dunkelweizen. Seemed like a natural progression, after all.

The recipe was:
Mashed:
1lb 2-row pale, 1lb wheat malt, 1/2lb caramel 90L, 1/2lb munich, 0.3lb chocolate malt

4.4lb weyermann hefeweizen LME
1lb wheat DME
1.5oz hallertauer 60min
0.5oz hallertauer 10min
Yeast from hefe yeast cake

This batch was fermented in my temp controlled cabinet, which was maintained at 65, for a ferment temp starting at around 68 and slowly falling toward 65 as activity subsided. I used a blowoff tube again, but this time didn't see any krausen make it into the tube.

The dunkel sat about a week and a half in primary, and then about a week and a half in a keg before cold crashing. I am pretty disappointed with it - it really just tastes "flat" to me - not as in carbonation, but as in no flavor really stands out. I can't really taste ANY of the hefe character, no significant malt flavor, or hop flavor. it has body to it, but that seems to be about it. I was hoping it might get a bit better over time, but it doesn't seem to have changed much over the week or two I've been drinking it from the keg. I knew hefes had different character depending on whether the fermentation temp was a bit above or below a certain point, but I didn't expect to have to worry about not getting ANY hefe character...

Was it my recipes? Was it my fermentation temps? Or was it something else?

Everyone always says that hefes are really simple and easy, so I'm certain that I'm doing something wrong here, if not multiple things - so I'd appreciate any advice on how I can try to make a better hefe in the future.

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Old 07-03-2007, 02:06 AM   #2
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Suggestions:
--Use fewer hops 1 oz Hallertauer for bittering should be sufficient
--Use all DME, add it late
--Make a yeast starter
--Pitch cooler and let it come up to your fermentation temp
--Check homebrewer_99's recipe

Are you stirring up the yeast and dumping it into your glass? My "yeast free" hefeweizen before I stir up the yeast tastes plain.

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Old 07-03-2007, 03:23 AM   #3
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Sounds to me like you did a very good job. Part of me feels that the Vienna and flavor hops may be hiding some of the expectations you are trying to achieve. Drinking it side by side with an American wheat may shed some new light. I am currently drinking an American and traditional Weizen and had some of the same concerns when it came to the Weizen. They were both brewed with the same grain bill, just different yeast and hops. When tasted side by side it was not even close to the same beer. Going from the American to the Weizen was like putting my hand in cold water and then hot.

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Old 07-03-2007, 03:24 AM   #4
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Beerific: Thanks for the plug. I'm drinking one right now.

Evandude: The best advice at this time that I can give you is you really need to get away from using LME.

I don't know your brewing practices, but I predict that if you use my recipe, which is modified from the Paulaner HW in Clone Brews, that you will enjoy it. Especially, if you are looking to make one more German tasting.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions. I'll be more than willing to help you succeed.

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Old 07-03-2007, 04:29 AM   #5
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As always, you guys are awesome. Thanks for the responses.

@Beerrific, suspended yeast was not a problem - my hefe in particular ended up with a lot of suspended yeast even after the keg had sat in the fridge for days and days without being disturbed in the least.

I'm sure the choice of grains wasn't perfect - to be honest, the main reason I used 3ish pounds of grain in both recipes is that I recently built and started using a 2-gallon mini-MLT and I wanted to play around with partial mashing as much as I could. Now that I've used it a few times and the novelty is wearing off, I'll stop using it when it's not necessarily appropriate for the recipe

I will tone down the flavor hops the next time I try - though I don't really specifically notice a significant hop presence in the beer, it could very well be affecting things while still being subdued enough that I can't put my finger on it.

As for LME vs. DME, well, I never realized it made that significant a difference, guess it's time for me to spend some time searching and reading

I'm in the process of improving my process, in particular, I am near done with a stir plate for yeast starters, and I've got an immersion chiller on the way.

And I'll definitely go with homebrewer_99's recipe next time

What about my overall ferment temps? I notice in your recipe log, homebrewer_99, you mention fermenting at 77F, which is a whole lot warmer than the mid-60's I was using.

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Old 07-03-2007, 05:13 AM   #6
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I don't recall the 77F, but low to mid 70s will get you more banana than cloves for sure.

I use WLP351 which is only available in Jul/Aug, but I wash so I have enough yeast to keep me going for years.

I mixed it with a 3068 Bavarian Wheat which is also nice.

With the low hop AA the sweet flavor really comes out. I've tried the same recipe with 3.8 and 3.4, but they were more bitter than I like. I dropped it to 3.0 and have been pleased with it so far.

I lived in Germany for 9 years and sampled HWs all over Bavaria. So all my "research" has not been for naught.

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Old 07-03-2007, 04:34 PM   #7
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I was planning on switching over to other styles for a while after these two weizens in a row that didn't do so well, but now that I've got much higher hopes thanks to everyone's advice, I think I'll do another hefe immediately. Since I don't need to ferment it as cool as I did before, I can free up my fermentation cabinet so I can still do other brews at the same time, so it'll hardly even slow me down. Plus I've already got some hallertauer on hand, and the WLP300 yeast, and some munich malt... so it looks like I just need to pick up some DME and another fermenter!

homebrewer_99, your recipe calls for krausening. How important is that to the recipe? I'm semi-familiar with krausening from things I've read, but primarily as a carbonation method. If you're krausening and also force carbing, I take it the krausening in this case is more about cleaning up the beer than about carbonating?

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Old 07-03-2007, 04:52 PM   #8
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Well, if you pull it out you should put it back in...

I actually used the gyle for carbonating/conditioning. I also believed it would keep the yeast in suspension longer, but as all yeasty brews the longer it's in the keg the clearer it gets.

The reason I did this were two-fold. One, as an experiment since I've never done it or spoke with anyone who has, and two, to carbonate it naturally at room temps. I figured I could dispense at lower pressures.

I don't have a freezer/lagering vessel yet, but actively looking at getting one this week.

Last night I layed a cornie of HW on its side to get the yeast in suspension then placed it in a primary bucket last night and surrounded it with smaller ice chunks then filled it with water. The ice melted quite fast then I added a couple of frozen bottles of water down one side of the fermenter. This will make the beer colder.

I have a cobra tap attached to a quick disconnect with an 8' hose. All I got was foam. I purged the CO2 and set the dial to zero. I got beer, but it was not carbonated. This has been my problem with kegging ever since I've started...little to no carb bubbles in my brews. I bottled my last 2 batches of HW and they are very spritzy (bubbly).

Afterwards I set the regulator to 25 psi and went to bed. I'll check it again when I get home tonight.

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Old 07-07-2007, 11:41 PM   #9
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I brewed your recipe yesterday, homebrewer_99, and now I'm really seeing the characteristic hefe fermentation for the first time. I'm fermenting at about 72F, as opposed to 65-68 as I did before, and MAN is it blowing some foam!

I'm using regular 5/16" siphon tubing in the grommet in the bucket lid as a blowoff tube, but that doesn't appear to be doing a very good job. It's filling the tube with foam, swelling the bucket lid until it builds up enough pressure, and then having a mini eruption in the blowoff container that blows starsan foam all over the place. I came home this evening to find it was still just as furious, and it even managed to leak around the edge of the lid. I'm just glad it hasn't blown the blowoff tube or the lid off yet! I think I need to figure out a way to use larger blowoff tubing

But, it's certainly exciting and I can't wait to see how the hefe comes out.

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Old 07-08-2007, 03:00 AM   #10
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Thar' she blows!!

Sounds great.

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