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Old 04-30-2013, 02:59 PM   #1
buzbey
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Default German hefe aging

I have read German hefe weizens are to be consumed fresh and do not age well. Is this because of the yeast used, that I have also read dies soon? If So would a commercial example say a schnider weiss that they filter out the yeast and add in a lager yeast for bottle conditioning age well? Or does it have something to do with the grain bill not the yeast? Or both?

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Old 04-30-2013, 10:34 PM   #2
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I guess it depends on what you're trying to gain by aging it. Are you trying to improve/change the flavor, or just trying to figure out how much time you've got to drink a batch while its in peak condition? Assuming its standard strength for a hefe and fermentation was well controlled, there's no need to age a hefe.

As far as improving the flavor, the lower alcohol means that there's a greater chance for an infection to pop up during the aging process. Plus, some of the flavors associated with aging of big beers are due to very slight oxidation, which while in a RIS might be enjoyable, in a hefe will probably stand out. I'm not sure whether or not the phenols/esters present in a hefe decrease over time, although I'd be inclined to think they might.

I've never heard of the hefe yeasts being inherently less stable, although I suppose it is possible, or maybe a by product of the fact that there's more yeast in general within a bottle. I know plenty of people use the same hefe yeasts to brew weisenbocks and these can be aged for long periods without problems, so I'd be surprised if rapid autolysis is something that hefe yeasts are prone to do. So I suppose its possible to age a hefe, although I'm not sure that there's a good reason to do so.

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Old 05-01-2013, 12:50 AM   #3
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+1 I agree.

Much of the flavor you want in a hefeweizen is from esters and phenols produced by the yeast. Those flavors will age out and mellow if you cellar one.

Also, one of the points of a hefeweizen is to drink it "mit hefe" or "with yeast." If you age it, the yeast settles out. Which means you have to swirl the yeast back into suspension to drink it that way.

With that said, I made a 9% hefeweizen. It's been in the bottle since July last year and it still tastes great.

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Old 05-01-2013, 01:09 AM   #4
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Alright, It makes sense now. I didn't even think about the ester and phenol profile fading with time. Thank you!

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Old 05-03-2013, 11:40 AM   #5
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FWIW - I had a few Franziskaner Dunkelweiss' that I forgot I had, and at over 3 yrs old there was no missing the esters. Im probly not a great judge but I thought it was still great beer

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