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Old 04-25-2012, 03:04 AM   #1
goodsuds
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Default Questions about hefeweizen

I'm brewing a batch of hefeweizen and I was curious how long I should leave it in the primary before I bottle it. I was planning on 2 weeks, but I've been told and I've read comments that suggest a longer time in primary is better. The little bit of information I've found about hefeweizen and other wheat beers suggest less time is better since you want the beer to be sweet.

Also, my recipe says to mix the yeast off the bottom back into suspension before bottling. That makes sense, seeing as it is a wheat beer, but I didn't know if that would affect how I prime the bottles. I'm using Cooper's carbonation drops but I can just prime with sugar if I need to.

Lastly, has anyone else used Safbrew WB-06? My OG was 1.035 and today is the 3rd day of fermentation and my hydrometer shows 1.000, which is 4.5% ABV and 81.4% attentuation. It is still going strong as I still see a lot of bubbles coming to the surface. The temp of the FV has been between 21 and 22 degrees C, and today it spiked up to 23 because the ambient spiked. I'm not sure if I should try to keep the beer cooler or just let it keep going at 22 degrees.

Thanks.

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Old 04-25-2012, 03:49 AM   #2
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See answers below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goodsuds View Post
I'm brewing a batch of hefeweizen and I was curious how long I should leave it in the primary before I bottle it. I was planning on 2 weeks, but I've been told and I've read comments that suggest a longer time in primary is better. The little bit of information I've found about hefeweizen and other wheat beers suggest less time is better since you want the beer to be sweet.

The patent answer on how long to leave in the primary is to leave it until it is done. Assuming you have a normal fermentation and hit your correct terminal gravity in about a week, then leaving it for two weeks is perfect for a Hef. You don't take it off early because you want it sweet, it will not be sweeter at two weeks then it will be at three weeks, you take a Hef off at two weeks because they are best served young, and your not as concerned with letting the beer clear as Hefs are traditionally cloudy.

Also, my recipe says to mix the yeast off the bottom back into suspension before bottling. That makes sense, seeing as it is a wheat beer, but I didn't know if that would affect how I prime the bottles. I'm using Cooper's carbonation drops but I can just prime with sugar if I need to.

You do not need to mix the yeast off the bottom back into suspension before bottling. A Hef yeast will still have plenty of yeast in suspension after a couple weeks in primary. On top of that you are going to ferment in the bottles, which will give you even more yeast in the bottle. Many who drink German Hefs like to swirl the bottle to get the yeast back in solution when they drink it.

Lastly, has anyone else used Safbrew WB-06? My OG was 1.035 and today is the 3rd day of fermentation and my hydrometer shows 1.000, which is 4.5% ABV and 81.4% attentuation. It is still going strong as I still see a lot of bubbles coming to the surface. The temp of the FV has been between 21 and 22 degrees C, and today it spiked up to 23 because the ambient spiked. I'm not sure if I should try to keep the beer cooler or just let it keep going at 22 degrees.

I have not used that yeast, but I see a couple of flags in your post. First are you sure you are measuring your gravity correctly, and correcting for temperature. 1.035 is a pretty low starting gravity for a Hef, and it would be rare for a Hef yeast to go down to 1.000. Also generally Hef yeast give a more balance flavor profile at lower temperatures. For that yeast I would try to ferment in the 18-19 deg C area if possible

Thanks.
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:49 AM   #3
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Hey goodsuds,

While I am no expert brewer, I really love my Hef, it's one I have honed in on.

Several things
* I go 4 weeks in primary, usually done in 10-12 days but the yeast will clean up nicely at 3-4 weeks, let the yeast work for you. With the right yeast, you will still have plenty in suspension to look like a hef. BTW, I use WLP300

* Not sure it's a good idea to mix the yeast back into suspension, it's designed to fall out and what is left is what you want. Never heard or read this one, I could be wrong

* Priming drops are fine or batch prime before bottling, your call. Make sure fermentation is done before you bottle or you will get bottle bombs. 3 days worth of readings with no change in SG indicates fermentation is done.

* Your gravity readings appear to be off. 1.035 seems low for original gravity. 1.000 is definitely wrong as pure water measures 1.000. Don't see how it can be at 1.000 and still be going strong. Something is amiss here

* Sorry, never used the yeast you reference

Toy4Rick

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:06 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. That helps clear things up.

As for gravity, it was low to start b/c I had to add extra water to get the wort cool. The recipe called for 1.050 at 20L, but I ended up with 1.035 at 23L. I was shooting for 22L, but I had aerated the wort so much that it had about 10 inches of foam. Once it settled the fill line was just over 23L. It was suggested that I didn't have the wort mixed well, but I don't know how I didn't. I mixed it fervently as I slowly added cool water.

I was stumped by the gravity today since I couldn't get my head around how it coulp possibly go lower than 1.000 since as you pointed out, that is the gravity of water. But, I don't know how I could have screwed it up. Unless my hydrometer is messed up (it is a cheap plastic one that came in a Cooper's kit). I accounted for temp difference using thegravity chart I found on John Plamer's site. I kept track of the ambient temp and wort temp when I took OG and again today. Using the chart I figure 1.036 was my OG and today gravity was 1.0014.

Maybe I need a better hyrometer?

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:17 AM   #5
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Og seems low and like poster said below 1.000 is water. So something is wrong there. Might have to check your hydrometer

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Old 04-25-2012, 05:52 AM   #6
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Its the hydrometer. I just checked some water and it measured .9600.

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Old 04-25-2012, 04:45 PM   #7
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So for this batch your calculations may be off a tad, but as long as the hydrometer is consistent on what it reads in water you can still use it to tell when you are done fermenting. Just wait till the gravity isn't dropping any further. You can pick up a new hydrometer pretty cheap for future batches. For now, just sort of ballpark guess the readings. If your kit was targeting 1.050 at 20L and you ended up with 23L your OG should be around 1.043 or so. Your final gravity will probably come in around 1.008 to 1.010 somewhere assuming common attenuation for the yeast. That will give you a sessionable Hef at about 4.5% ABV That is actually within the low ranges of the style so it should turn out to be just fine.

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Old 04-25-2012, 06:09 PM   #8
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Thanks for the info. I'm actually getting ready to go to the local home brew shop and pickup a new hydrometer and a good digital scale. I'd like to compare the gravity in both hydrometers measuring water and my beer, and then also compare their respective weight to figure out how accurate they are using the plato scale.

In another thread someone else suggested I should have had an OG around 1.042 or 1.043, so assuming my yeast do their job well (76% average attentuation) I'm hoping to be between 4.2% and 4.5%. That's actually good because I like a lighter, "American" Hef. Schlafly brewing here in St. Louis makes a pretty good Hef that is 4.2% ABV. It is a good beer for summer, but it lacks some of the complexity and flavors (coriander and orange peel aren't even noticeable) of other Hefs and white beers. I don't know what kind of yeast they use, but it has a mild hint of banana and clove.

Thanks again for the help! Oh, by the way, the recipe didn't say to stir the yeast into solution when bottling. The recipe author racked into a keg and he says to agitate the keg to get the yeast into solution. For some reason when I read that in my mind keg translated into fermenter. I kept wondering why someone would want to stir up the trub and bottle it. Duh. I guess it helps when you read when you're not half asleep.

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Old 04-26-2012, 02:55 AM   #9
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Ok. I got a new glass hydrometer. I poured some tap water at 64 degrees F and it read 1.001. The Cooper's hydrometer read .980. I took a sample of the beer which was 71.2 degrees F. The new hydrometer read 1.011 (1.012 corrected), and the Cooper's said it was .980. I think its fair to say the Cooper's hydrometer is WAY OFF!

Just for grins I decided to mix some sugar into tap water until the Cooper's hydrometer measured 1.035 (water temp was 69 degrees F). The new hydrometer measured 1.050. Obviously my OG wasn't 1.050 and was likely around 1.042 or 1.043 (+.001 temp corrected). So seeing as today is only day #4 and I'm already at or near 4.1% ABV I'm content with that.

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Old 05-06-2012, 10:08 PM   #10
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My beer has been in the fermenter for 15 days now and it has stopped fermenting. My gravity is 1.009 (1.010 temp corrected), and it has been consistent for the last 3 days. However, when I poor the beer at the spigot to check the gravity a good amount of yeast is coming out with it (eyeballing it I would say about 1 tablespoon settled out of the 1 cup of beer I drew), which is strange since the spigot is several inches from the bottom of the FV. Do I need to worry about bottle bombs if I'm getting more yeast than expected into the bottles, and should I let it sit longer to clear up? Also, I'm using what came in the Cooper's kit, including their 740ml bottles and priming tabs. They recommend 2 tabs per bottle with their Lager kit. Am I okay using 2 tabs with my Hefe, or should I calculate it based on my recipe? Obviously bottle bombs are bad, but I also want to make sure it is good and carbonated, but not overly so.

Thanks!

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