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Old 12-06-2010, 11:26 PM   #1
unsrbus
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Default Hefeweizen 101

Quite the enticing title with several questions. Here is a little back ground.

I have made several successful badges of wine over the last three years but enjoy beer soooooo much more. Especially Hefeweizen from the motherland. So I decided to take the leap. I started several weeks ago with a True Brew kit. I found it so exciting, I made a second batch two weeks later using a recipe from a book.

6.6 lbs of Northwestern Extract Weizen
2 oz. of Hallertau 3.0%
Wyeast 3638 Bavarian Wheat

1 hour boil with Hops added 15 after boil was achieved.

added to remaining 3 gallons of cool water in 5 gallon carboy.

Let rest till temp reached 70 F and pitched the yeast

SG 1.047
FG 1.018 7 days later. No visible fermentation dring a 10 minute watch.

I decided to bottle at that point. Added 5 oz of priming sugar disolved in water.

After reading many posts it makes me wonder if I should not have waited an extra week to see if the FG would drop some more.

It smelled great and looke to be more of a dunkel weizen than normal but the flavor was there as well.

Any opinions? Should I have waited? What are the effects going to be on the final product.?
Way too much to learn, but so much fun!

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Old 12-06-2010, 11:34 PM   #2
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I'm new to this, but I think most people will say that's rushing it a bit. The gerntal rule is 1-2-3. 1 week in primary. 2 weeks in secondary. 3 in bottle or conditioning and carbonation. Many just leave it in the primary and just bottle after 3 weeks

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Old 12-06-2010, 11:47 PM   #3
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Your beer may range from just perfect to over-carbonated to bottle bombs as the final stages of fermentation are reached. Drink this one a little early and finish it before it has time to over-carb too much. You will know if it is approaching the "bottle bomb" stage if the pressure in the bottle causes it to gush out or seems to have too much pressure or even if it forms too much head. If it happens, finish drinking it soon or remove the caps and recap after a few minutes to release the pressure.

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Old 12-06-2010, 11:57 PM   #4
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Ok, I can understand if the additional sugars (anything before priming) ferment along that a bottle bomb can be created. But is that a guaranteed end result? Kind of a silly question I guess, but if the fermentation was complete and the beer just settled out early will the sugars just sit and add flavor? Again kinda silly on my part.

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:02 AM   #5
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Bottle bombs are never a guarantee, but then again, why risk it? Seriously, if they explode in your hand they could take your EYE. Um, suck with a capital "S"?

If you're nervous, de-cap and recap, or keep in the fridge to allow the cold beer to dissolve more gas in solution (cold liquid = more gas dissolved). I'd say don't be nervous. 1.018 is a bit high for a lot of beer types, but using extract to make a wheat beer, it's still within the realm of believability. Especially since you said it was a bit dark -- that makes me wonder if you didn't scorch some of your extract, which is known to 1) darken the color and 2) cause higher FGs.

So, don't quite relax, but don't worry, either. Definitely have a homebrew. And the bright side is: hefe's don't benefit much from extra aging, so drink 'em as young as you like.

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:07 AM   #6
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You mention the darkening and scorching. It's like a science eperiment. I could swear it wasn't that dark when I tucked the carboy full of homebrew away in the corner of the basement. POints that I left out earlier are fermentation took place at a very stable 62-64 degrees with no light. I had it wrapped in blankets. Is the darkening effect something that can happen with time, 7 days? Bottled and sitting in the corner of the basement. I would say maybe 58 degrees.

Thanks for all the quick replys.

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:18 AM   #7
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No, it won't darken in the fermenter under normal conditions.

The yeast in suspension can make it less translucent, which might be interpreted as darker... but usually not.

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:19 AM   #8
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It needs to carb at higher temps than 58, if you want to drink it within the next few weeks. 70F is more typical.

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:37 AM   #9
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Sounds fairly successful unsrbus.
One thing I would say about avoiding possible bottle bombs, or anxiety about finished fermentation, is to take two final gravity readings a few days apart, if the reading is the same over the course of three days or so fermentation is done and it is safe to add priming sugar and bottle. fwiw

Happy brewing!

ps Don't trust the bubbles! They will lie to you!

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Old 12-07-2010, 12:47 AM   #10
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Are there ill effects of letting it carb at lower temps? Besides taking longer? It seems a lot of literature says to letting it ferment and carb at lower temps. Maybe mine is too low. Trial and error?

Thanks for all the quick responses.

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