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Old 03-11-2009, 02:34 AM   #1
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Default Warm Hefe Fermentation...

Last night I put my hefe into the primary after my first full boil with new burner and pot.
Anyways, when I woke up this morning she was bubbling away, and the house was at around 70 degrees. I was planning on setting up a swamp cooler in my closet when I got home. I figured that since swmbo was home she wouldnt let it get above 72 in the house, boy was i wrong. I came home and it was like 77 in the house So I quickly grabbed my rubbermaid tub, filled it with cold water and sat the primary in it. It has now been in there for a little over 3 hours now and the bubbling has slowed down some, so Im assuming that the wort has cooled some as well. The smell comming out of the airlock is a bit on the banana side... So my question is this, am I going to have a banana hefe on my hands just because of one warm day of fermentation? Also, do it just need to keep it around 70 degrees until primary fermentation is complete?

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Old 03-11-2009, 02:38 AM   #2
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Yes, you will have a banana hefe, but not because of the house temp.

Fermentation by itself generates heat, sometimes as much as 10 degrees.

Also, sometimes your brew can ferment out in just 1 day or overnight. You'll know this when people complain that they never saw any activity coming from their airlocks...not because the yeast went dormant or the temp was too low, but because it's done fermenting.

Just make sure any sulfur odors/flavors are gone before you bottle it.

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Old 03-11-2009, 02:42 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by homebrewer_99 View Post
Yes, you will have a banana hefe, but not because of the house temp.

Fermentation by itself generates heat, sometimes as much as 10 degrees.

Also, sometimes your brew can ferment out in just 1 day or overnight. You'll know this when people complain that they never saw any activity coming from their airlocks...not because the yeast went dormant or the temp was too low, but because it's done fermenting.

Just make sure any sulfur odors/flavors are gone before you bottle it.
So what could have been done to avoid the banana flavor? It really only fermented above 74 degrees for about 3 hours max (between 12-3)
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Old 03-11-2009, 02:48 AM   #4
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the banana flavor/aroma comes with a lot of hefes, especially if you use a hefe yeast. on top of that, i have read fermenting hefes at warmer temps (71 and up or so) enhances this banana/bubble gum aroma and flavor. by the way alot of people enjoy beers like that! so unless you reallly despise bananas, fear not, it will be enjoyable.

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Old 03-11-2009, 02:56 AM   #5
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So what could have been done to avoid the banana flavor? It really only fermented above 74 degrees for about 3 hours max (between 12-3)
You can't avoid all the banana flavor. You can reduce it by fermenting at lower temps though.
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Old 03-11-2009, 04:32 AM   #6
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I fermented my hefe at 72* and just love it. Very similar to the Fat Tire Mothership Wit but w/o all the spiciness.

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Old 03-11-2009, 07:00 AM   #7
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Trying to remember which one it is but I believe over pitching will also result in less banana. I could have that backward. Apfelwein killed my brain and the beer kept it dead.

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Old 03-11-2009, 07:31 AM   #8
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Not all, but most Hefes (at least the ones I drink in Germany all the time) have a banana flavor. Some are more pronounced than others, but it sort of goes with the territory in that style of beer. Maybe that is why they are so nice and refreshing on a warm summer day.

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Old 03-11-2009, 01:53 PM   #9
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Update:
So I put my fermenter in a rubbermaid tub with some frozen water bottles, it is keeping the fermentation at around 68 degrees. It only fermented at the higher temp for a short period of time. However, that short period of time was on the first day of fermentation. I checked it this morning, still bubbling away, however, the banana smell has almost gone away from the airlock.

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Old 03-11-2009, 02:45 PM   #10
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I think people throw out all knowledge of yeast when it comes to wheat beer.

In a normal ale, we don't ferment warm because it produces esters. We also like to pitch a healthy amount of a yeast starter to cut down on esters. Hefe yeast just happen to produce bananna esters that just happen to be a lot more noticeable to us. Ferment at normal ale temps (65-70) and pitch a healthy starter. You will get a great tasting, slightly estery hefe.

Just remember, you are not trying to control the amount of bananna, just the amount of esters produced.

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