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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Straight hefe tastes like honey?
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Old 09-16-2008, 03:52 AM   #1
CGengo
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Default Straight hefe tastes like honey?

About 6 weeks ago I bottled my forth batch of beer, Jamil's Hefe recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. The beer is good but has a very strong honey overtone to it and everyone notices...frankly, I don't think it tastes much like a hefe. I haven't had this issue before or in the 2 other batches I've done since (an English bitter and an American brown). The recipe is below but I think the mistake happened in one of two mistakes:

1 - Not realizing that hops pellets expand like a hundred times their size, I packed the pellets into a small muslin spice bag for mulling cider. At the end of the boil, the bag was about to burst at the seems. I'm thinking I didn't get the full bittering effect from the hops, possibly making the beer sweet.

2 - I fermented the beer at an ambient temp of 68 degrees. At the time I didn't realize that I should have had the temp probe on my freezer on the side of the carboy reading the wort temperature. The ferment smelled was knock-you-over banana smelling but there's not really a banana flavor, nor is there a clove flavor, just honey, honey, and more honey.

Recipe:
8.6 lb Wheat LME
0.8 oz Mittlefruh (60 min) - recipe called for Hallertau
Yeast = WLP300
Full boil. Boil to pitching @ 65 degrees in about 35 minutes. No honey or honey malt at any point.

So where did this honey flavor came from? Next time I make a hefe, I hoping it tastes more like Franzikaner.

Thanks.

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Old 09-16-2008, 04:40 AM   #2
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@ 60* (ambient) I'm getting strong pineapple nose and flavor from hydro sample using WLP300. At 75* (ambient) I got heavy banana nose and flavor. Mittlefruh is a type of Hallertau, both of which are low AA as hefe's are supposed to be. My guess is its the 300

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Old 09-16-2008, 06:29 AM   #3
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I'm brewing the same recipe this week. It's in the fermenter and bubbling away @ 68- Very fruity banana nose but not quite that strong when tasting a sample. In his recipe Jamil states a slow ferment at 62 is best for a more subdued flavor so until you have temp control for fermentation or it cools down I wouldn't be too harsh on the recipe until your able to brew it the way it was described.

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Old 09-16-2008, 12:51 PM   #4
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I have brewed that recipe twice, the first time I brewed it with LME and Mt Hood Hops. Fermented at 69. It turned out great, with a little banana and clove nose. Definitely not honey. Very nice straw color. The extract came from Austin. I used two tubes of WLP 300.

The 2nd time I had to use DME (Breiss) from a local Homebrew shop. I used 6.45 lbs wheat LME and Liberty Hops. Fermented at 72. It turned out good but way too dark, out of style. pretty much the same nose but a stronger taste, closer to a dunkel weizen. I made a 1000ml starter using one tube of WLP 300.
This fermented very fast!

I need to get my fermentation temps down but it had been in the 90's and thats as cold as the basement was. I have a fridge now with a temp control so next time I will try 62 as Jamil recommends.

Maybe your extract was old? Does it taste like honey or Butterscotch? Does it finish on your tongue very slippery?

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Old 09-16-2008, 03:22 PM   #5
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in How to Brew, John Palmer mentions pentanedione as a compound having honey flavor (its in the same class as diacetyl). He doesn't say what conditions will lead to its production but its within the chapter about conditioning. From your post it seems you've had it in the bottle for 6 weeks? How long was it in primary? Hopefully some more time will mellow the flavor out.

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Old 09-16-2008, 03:25 PM   #6
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I'm thinking that poor hops utilization is to blame for the sweet flavor. If you've ever tasted unhopped wort (like for a starter), it's sweet like that. If your hops were packed tight, that would decrease the hops utilization alot- maybe by as much as 50% or so, if the inside hops weren't exposed to the wort.

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Old 09-16-2008, 11:19 PM   #7
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The LME came from Northern Brewer, so I can't imagine it would have been terribly old - theirs is a 65/35 split wheat/light LME. It's definitely honey, not butterscotch and not slippery. Also, I noticed a typo in my original post, it was fermented with an ambient temp of 62 degrees, not 68. The beer was in the carboy for 3 weeks and I used a 2L starter for the yeast.

I'm leaning towards under-utilized hops leading to the majority of the sweet taste as there is basically no hop bitterness at all to cover up the wort sweetness. It's only a 13 IBU beer (1.050 OG, 1.012 FG) when done correctly, so figuring a 50% under-utilization, that puts me around 6 - 7 IBUs which would be too light even for an American Light Lager, much less a hefe.

Oh well...getting smarter with every batch and this one is at least drinkable, just too sweet to drink more than one or two in a session.

Thanks all.

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