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Old 01-07-2013, 04:07 AM   #1
edin88
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Default 1st all-grain Hefeweizen doesn't taste like a hefeweizen

Hey,

I brewed my first beer ever on Dec. 2nd and after bottle conditioning/carbing for about 2 weeks, im wondering how i can make it better next time.

recipe: 6 lbs. rahr 2-row, 4 lbs. white wheat, 1oz Northern Brewer hops at 60 min. (the german hefeweizen kit from morebeer)

Mashed at 151 deg. for 60 minutes, fly sparged with 170 deg water for like 45 mins, boiled wort for 60 minutes. Cooled with an immersion chiller down to like 76 or 78 deg. then just pitched one vial of WLP300 into a 6.5 gal. plastic carboy. Here's the first thing that went wrong: my final volume was not the intended 5.5 gallons but more like 4 because the kettle i used had a very wide surface area and i lost a lot of beer to trub (after cooling the wort i dumped it back into my cleaned/sanitized cooler mash tun and transferred the wort through plastic tubing to my carboy). OG was 1.054, efficiency was in the 70s. Not bad for a first timer!

after like 10 hours i had signs of fermentation and after like 24 hours the whole thing went crazy and i had a blow off. not gonna lie, that was actually a relief to see. that yeast went nuts. anyways, the carboy was in a dark closet that no one uses at 59-62 deg. for 3 weeks. I took samples a few times and the fermentation came to 1.020 pretty soon (1 week) but after that it chugged slowly to get to 1.012, where it stopped. The smell and the color of the samples were EXACTLY what i wanted: Weihenstephaner clone-esque. The taste...eh. it tasted like a flat, slightly sweeter Coors or something. My notes after 8 days say "Like a flat, watery Hefeweizen/Coors hybrid. Hefeweizen taste comes through in the beginning, fades to sweetness."

Anyways, i didn't stress it then. After 3 weeks, I cleaned/sanitized the hell out of some bottles and went to work. i made a bottling bucket out of a Home Depot bucket and some plastic/brass fittings (cost too much, i'll buy a real bottling bucket next time but i had to go with that in a pinch cause i wanted the beer to be "ready" for my bday that was a week away). I had an awful time starting the siphon due to my small volume of beer (less than 4 gallons in a 6.5 gallon carboy). I used one of those you blow into and my friend advised me to slow down a few times cause he thought i'd pass out. So there's suspect #1 for why the beer tastes not so true to style. Suspect 2 is me dipping a paper towel sheet into the bottling bucket full of beer for a second. Why? cause im an idiot. Suspect 3 is not enough time in the bottle, which is what I imagine a bunch of people reading this have already decided is the culprit.

So how does it taste? Still more like a Coors/Paulaner hybrid. Im getting the sweetness that I taste in beers like Paulaner HW, but that FANTASTIC yeast character is not quite there. When i pour slowly, the beer comes out looking great, like a true HW (might post a pic tomorrow), and the head retention is superb. But that damn yeast character is just missing, even when i pour the last bit out of the bottle with all the settled yeast and who knows what else (paper towel).

What do you think I should change to get my beer to taste more like a Paulaner or a Weihenstephaner?

-Edin

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Old 01-07-2013, 04:18 AM   #2
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Sounds you are missing/looking for yeast flavors (banana/clove) ?

If so that would narrow down a whole lot of your post.

What yeast did you use and what temperature was the room in which the beer fermented?

And if you are looking for a creamier AL/GR hefeweizen backbone, that I am curious about as well.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:22 AM   #3
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What temp did you ferment at? Fermentation temp has a lot to do with getting those flavors.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:29 AM   #4
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what yeast did you use, what temp did you ferment at? those are bigger issues for hefe flavor than your mistakes.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:45 AM   #5
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You may have fermented to cold.

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:27 PM   #6
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As i said in the post, the yeast was a vile of WLP300 and the fermentation temperature was fluctuating between 59 and 62 deg. in a cold, dark closet in my basement for 3 weeks.

too cold makes sense, but i read a lot of people saying even something like 68 deg. gives you overwhelming banana smells and i didn't want that. i wanted balanced banana/clove but it seems 59-62 was TOO cold.

anyone ferment as low as me and get similar results?

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Old 01-07-2013, 02:45 PM   #7
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Are you sure the temperature of the beer was 59-62? It seems impossible that it could have cooled that far from a pitching temp of 76-78. It would seem to me that the fermentation would have been done by the time it cooled that much.

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Old 01-07-2013, 03:18 PM   #8
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My mistake, ambient was 59-62. That would mean the wort stayed in the mid to high 70s for at least a few hours but im pretty sure by the time i saw active signs of fermentation 12 hours later it had gone down at least 10 deg., does that make sense?

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Old 01-07-2013, 04:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edin88 View Post
My mistake, ambient was 59-62. That would mean the wort stayed in the mid to high 70s for at least a few hours but im pretty sure by the time i saw active signs of fermentation 12 hours later it had gone down at least 10 deg., does that make sense?
Just remember that fermentation produces heat. It can raise the wort temp by 5 degrees or more. I'm no hef expert, but I would have pitched about 10 degrees cooler than you did, and monitor the temp throughout the fermentation. Your closet temp was probably OK until the fermentation died down, then may have been too cold.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:15 PM   #10
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Seems like wlp300 at 60 F for three weeks from 1052 to 1012 is interesting.

I didn't see info about aerating wort well before pitching which is essential for proper yeast growth.

Next time try pitching at cooler temps and letting temp rise naturally to what it's going to be.

Between the low oxygen and initial high temp at pitch, maybe the yeast was stressed.

Only thing you can do now is brew more wheat ale!!!

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