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Old 06-12-2006, 09:18 AM   #1
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Default hefe weissen with not a lot of flavour

Hi,

I brewed a hefe this week and it went into the keg yesterday. What I've found before with wheat beers is that they are drinkable very quickly although they do improve a little with age.

Anyway, when I tasted the new brew I was a little disappointed that it didn't seem to have much flavour. Sure, it has the clove and banana tastes but not particularly strong and there doesn't seem to be much else. Do you think it will improve with age and develop more flavour?

Grain bill was 3kg pale malt, 3kg wheat malt and 1kg of carapils. I don't remember the hops as I don't have the details here but it was fairly lightly hopped with about 14 IBU's. I used the Brewferm Hefe weissen yeast and the total batch quantity was 25 litres.

Why does it seem to be short on flavour? Mash temp was about 65 C. Possibly too low?

Any thoughts or observations welcome.

Thanks,
/Phil.

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Old 06-12-2006, 10:13 AM   #2
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The clove/banana type flavors will not improve with age...they will diminish. There are a number of factors that play into increased estery/phenolic character in Hefeweizens, a few off the top of my head:
- Acid rest: This will increase the ferulic acid in the mash which is a precursor of 4-vinyl guaiacol which is the compound responsible for much of the Hefe flavor. Obviously, a lot of people get by without an acid rest, but it will help if you're going for maximum flavor.
- Reduced oxygenation of the wort: this stresses the yeast slightly which increases esters. You still need to oxygenate, but try half as much.
- Temperature of fermentation is extremely important...varies with yeast strain but usually >70F will increase bananas, while <70F will increase cloves.
- Open fermentation. This is directly from Warner's bible German Wheat Beers. I suppose not that many homebrewers have tried this (including me), but there are actually plans in this month's BYO for an open fermentation vessel along with rationale.

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Old 06-12-2006, 11:03 AM   #3
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My first Hefe suffers from the same Hefelite affliction. It was a partial mash (6lbs extract, .5 lb munich) batch so I probably didn't have enough control over the temps to consider an acid rest. I also fermented on the cold side maintaining an average temp of about 68

I have another hefe going now with the same yeast (WLP380), but using tetnannger hops cause they are supposed to be spicy and I am keeping it above 70
Its fermenting much more violently blow off required, lots of krausen and big bursts of belchy bubbles. This was also much bigger. 8.5lbs of weyerman wheat malt in about 5.5 - 6.0 gal. with an OG of 1.065 sorry so long cheers

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Old 06-12-2006, 11:53 AM   #4
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I may not have explained myself very well. The banana and clove flavours are there. That's fine for me, not too strong not too subtle. There's just a lack of any other flavour. I'm wondering if I should have mashed at a couple of degrees higher to produce more flavour.

/Phil.

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Old 06-12-2006, 12:07 PM   #5
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The banana & clove flavors from the yeast should pretty much dominate any other flavor in a Hefeweizen. What else are you looking for?

Mashing at a higher temperature would result in a more dextrinous, less fermentable wort. Generally speaking, part of a Hefeweizen's character is a tart dryness which is achieved with a lower temp saccharification rest. Most single infusion Hefeweizen mashes I've seen were 149-150F which is quite low. I employed a multi-step rest for my last Hefeweizen and have been pleased enough with the results that I'll probably repeat it for my next one.
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:34 PM   #6
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I think i'd be pretty dissapointed if I had a Hefe that was actually dominated with clove or banana flavours -- I would describe these as aromas rather than a dominant flavour. I don't think the lack of flavour is a brewing flaw, rather a characteristic of the yeast.

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Old 06-12-2006, 12:55 PM   #7
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I'll have a pint of it later and see if I can give a better description of the problem.

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Old 06-12-2006, 01:03 PM   #8
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You also want to get a slight "breadiness" out of the grains. I have yet to make a single infusion hefe to see if the decoction and step mashing for my first hefe actually made a significant difference.

Kai

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Old 06-12-2006, 02:05 PM   #9
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One other note (now that I've read your recipe a bit more closely) -
You're using about 15% Carapils in your grist. With that much wheat you don't need any at all for good head, and you're not really looking for extra body. It also doesn't contribute any color, aroma, or much flavor. Generally speaking, in a darker beer with heavy body you'd still use <10% Carapils.

Actually, looking at the data sheet they recommend 1-5%:
http://www.briess.com/pdf/Malthouse%...0Malt%20WK.pdf

I don't know if this is contributing to the lack of flavor your describing, but I'd try the recipe again without the Carapils and the wheat/barley ratio between 50/50 to 60/40.

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Old 06-12-2006, 06:24 PM   #10
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Ah, now that's interesting about the Carapils. I think that sounds like the problem. Meanwhile, the first two glasses I had this evening tasted pretty good in this uncharacteristic British heatwave!

Thanks,
/Phil.

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