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Old 10-27-2008, 06:17 PM   #1
John_Peters
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Default First Brew day approaches - Need tips

I've been lurking on this forum and doing lots of reading for several months, and now I've finally decided to make my first homebrew.

I recently read John Palmer's How to Brew website just to make sure I've got as much knowledge going into this as possible. I do however have a couple of questions, and would like a few tips as well.

I am brewing the AHS Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen clone using the "Mini-mash" kit.

I understand that making a starter is extremely important, but I do not have any DME. Is it possible to make a starter using some of the LME from the kit?

I plan on making the starter on Wednesday and brewing on Saturday morning. I don’t have a secondary yet, so I was planning on leaving the Hefe in the primary for 3 weeks then bottling and leaving those for 2 weeks. Does this schedule sound acceptable for the style (knowing that Hefe’s are supposed to be consumed while ‘green’)?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-27-2008, 06:34 PM   #2
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I've never used a starter, but lots of people swear by them. I just make sure I get my wort cooled enough, then shake it in the fermenter before I pitch it. It might take an extra day or so to finish fermenting out, but if you're not going into a secondary, I don't think it would matter.

Write up a list of the steps you have to go through on brew day, and check them off as you do them. It seems like not that much to keep track of, but it gets a little hectic until you get your routine down.

Also, once you have beer that's conditioned and all that, don't drink a whole bunch while you're brewing more, even a checklist might not be able to save you from that!

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Old 10-27-2008, 06:43 PM   #3
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What kind of yeast are you going to be using? If it's a dry yeast, don't bother with a starter. If you are going to make a starter, I think you'd be better off picking up some DME somewhere, or you can go find some Malta Goya (it's a Mexican soda) and mix it 50/50 with some water and use that as a starter.

I would also say that 2 weeks in the bottle isn't long enough to properly carbonate, but from what I understand, for a hefe, you should be able to do 1 week in primary and then bottle for 3 weeks and be good.

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Old 10-27-2008, 06:43 PM   #4
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Definitely don't worry about a secondary. I don't use it for 90% of my beers, and he Hef style will definitely not need one. The purpose of the secondary is mostly clarification, which is simply not applicable to that type of beer, where you will want some of cloudiness.

Same goes for the starter here. One of the effects of pitching fewer yeast (e.g. no starter), is that the yeast will tend to produce more esters. The German Hefeweizen is one of the style that will benefit from those esters, even the phenolic ones that are a major off flavor in most other styles.

If this geeky level of explanation sounds intimidating... don't ever forget
RDWHAHB.
Enjoy.

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Old 10-27-2008, 06:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loup View Post
What kind of yeast are you going to be using?
Thanks for all of the quick replies everyone.

I am using the Wyeast Weihenstephaner liquid yeast (Activator pack). My kit came with a small "pill" of yeast nutrient, should I use it when I pitch to the wort?

Hefeweizen is my favorite beer style, so I can't wait to see how this turns out.
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:52 PM   #6
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Use you oven for the mini mash part. Heat it to 170ish and after you add your grain to the mash - cover the pot and TURNING OFF the oven - put it in and set the timer.

The oven temp will drop to the 130-150 range but your water will be stable.

My oven only goes to 170 (digital) - I was hoping it would go to 150 but . . . . it 's not a problem.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:43 PM   #7
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If you don't have DME, don't fret the starter right now. Since its your first brew, you have a lot of other stuff to worry about.

If you want to ensure the yeast are at least a little woken up before pitching, smack the pack at the start of your brew day. Leave it out to come to room temperature while you brew. When you are ready to pitch, the pack should be somewhat swollen to looking like it might explode. It depends on how old the pack is.

Your fermentation schedule looks good. You can even get away with bottling after 10-14 days with a hefe. Just make sure your gravity is stable.

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Old 10-27-2008, 07:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edcculus View Post
If you don't have DME, don't fret the starter right now. Since its your first brew, you have a lot of other stuff to worry about.

If you want to ensure the yeast are at least a little woken up before pitching, smack the pack at the start of your brew day. Leave it out to come to room temperature while you brew. When you are ready to pitch, the pack should be somewhat swollen to looking like it might explode. It depends on how old the pack is.

Your fermentation schedule looks good. You can even get away with bottling after 10-14 days with a hefe. Just make sure your gravity is stable.
Should I toss the “yeast nutrients” that came with the kit in the wort also or are they unnecessary?

The nutrients I am talking about are not the "smack pack" but extra ones that came with the kit.
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:49 PM   #9
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I'd toss them in for good measure. The Smack Packs have all worked 100% for me - even the one that never ballooned out after 24 hours. Worked great.

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Old 10-27-2008, 08:49 PM   #10
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Yea, use the yeast nutrient too.

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