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Old 07-26-2006, 03:42 AM   #1
turfguy1969
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Default Does a Wheat beer NEED a secondary?

Just wondering if there is any advantage except clarity for moving a heffe weizen into the secondary fermenter? Should I bother? Don't we want a little sediment? Thanks

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Old 07-26-2006, 03:53 AM   #2
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I just brewed a wheat and only left it in secondary for about 2 days before bottling ( I had to take it to a friend's housewarming 2 weeks from bottling).

It was a huge hit.
It was all gone in a weekend.

I don't think it would have gained anything from clarification in the secondary, but take that for what it's worth since I've only brewed one wheat beer.

Homebrewer_99 is the wheat expert, so maybe he'll chime in.

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Old 07-26-2006, 04:18 AM   #3
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...and here I am...

Actually, the answer is yes...and no.

It doesn't NEED a secondary at all, but I recommend one for the simple fact that a day or two in a secondary allows more of the yeast to fall out and make the beer look lighter in color.

IMO, you can rack from the primary right to the bottling bucket only if the following condition exists: 1) the brew has fermented out. Meaning, the FG is within the range for the style.

If your FG is 1.014 and your recipe recommends between 1.008 and 1.010 then I would say rack to the secondary and wait another week or so to see if it will drop some more.

Right now I'm drinking one that I let go all the way down to 1.005. That's dry.

My basic recipe is 1 lb of grain (or another lb of Extra Light DME), 1 lb of Extra Light DME and 3 lbs Wheat DME with 1.1 oz Hallertau (3.5%) at the boil then add another at 45 mins and finish with another 15 min boil. It's a very basic recipe that I always tweak a bit here and there, but it always comes through for me.

My starter was a 5th generation WLP351 yeast!

I am quite pleased with it and will repeat this recipe again except with fresher yeast.

I just got 4 more vials of WLP351 and have one in the primary right now (it's only available in July and Aug!). I used it when I entered my 1 and only HB contest. It won Best of Style and Best of Show and beat out over 100 other brews. Why gamble with success??

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Old 07-26-2006, 04:38 AM   #4
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I went with a 10 day secondary with the hefe I brewed as my second beer. I got busy and couldn't get it to bottles. It is definately clearer than any commercial hefeweizen and lost some of its character. Still an excellent beer, but not what I was shooting for. So maybe it is a good idea to own a hydrometer... I don't... yet.

HB99: What are you using for grain? Are you doing a mini-mash or steeping?

And: do you know anything about the difference between the WLP351 yeast and the Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Hefe yeast?

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Old 07-26-2006, 04:59 AM   #5
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I just use a pale malt. Nothing special...and I steep for 30 mins at 160F.

As for a difference between the yeasts...nothing that I can think of that would make me not use Weihenstephan. I have used all the Weizen yeasts available to us.

IMO all the weizen yeasts are good. I like all their flavors. Never had a bad batch, but I guess it's just a habit that I use WLP351 a lot.

Just make sure you rack some of the yeast from the secondary if the beer has gotten too clear. Plus if you pour like they do in Germany (which I do) and use a REAL weizen glass (of which I have over 50 of...) then make sure you stir up the yeast from the bottom with the last 1/2 inch of beer left in the bottle to get that great head and cloudy effect.

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Old 07-26-2006, 05:06 AM   #6
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Most commercial Hefeweizens I get are pretty dang clear until I agitate and pour the yeast as Bill recommends. Most German breweries do lager their Hefeweizens for some period before bottling and then bottle condition with a lager yeast at cooler temps, so a secondary is not out of style at all. I think the cloudiness comes perhaps partially from the protein (wheat only has about 10% more protein than barley btw), but mostly from kicking up the yeast from the bottle.

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Old 07-26-2006, 06:58 AM   #7
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Thanks HB.

I'm sure my problem was too high of a racking and then bottling efficiency because I've been agitating to get what little yeast I have in my bottles out.

I probably ought to get some REAL beer glasses instead of using the 1 Guinness pint glass I have and the water glasses I have. But with a grad student's wage I think I'll keep putting my money towards ingredients rather than glasses.

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Old 07-26-2006, 07:43 PM   #8
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Nothing to worry about, I shake my bottles too. ...as they do in Germany...

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Old 07-26-2006, 09:27 PM   #9
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Does the idea of mixing up the yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle apply to all wheat beers?

I've never had a wheat beer. I have a batch of Belgian White just about ready to bottle and I bought a bottle of Hoegaarden to sample for comparison.

So I'm supposed to roll the bottles around a bit before opening, yes?

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Old 07-26-2006, 09:52 PM   #10
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I pour most of the beer into the glass. Then I'll do a swirl and pour that into the glass as well. If you pour it just right it makes kind of a cool swirl in the glass before it mixes.

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