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Old 07-22-2009, 03:10 AM   #1
cellardoor's Avatar
Mar 2008
Brookfield IL
Posts: 381
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I have made a similar beer three different times. Not that impressive i know, but I've only brewed about 15 times and these were my only repeats. I realized all three brews I had improved my brewing process so I thought a vertical tasting was in order both to see how the beer aged and how my improvements in brewing changing the final product.

The beers were a Bavarian Hefeweizen. The first one was the AHS extract kit without any type of temperature control brewed in 4/08. In my apartment it had to have been mid to high 70's without a water bath so I can only guess the insane fermentation temperature. The second was the same AHS kit but this time with a water bath to keep fermentation in mid 60's brewed in 07/08. The most recent one was an all grain Bee Cave Brewery Hefeweizen with a water bath and fermented as close to 62 as possible from the recommendation in Brewing Classic Styles brewed in 04/09.

If I tasted each beer individually I would say they were decent and drinkable. Side by side it was like night and day. There is such a progression in taste I can't believe it. The earliest beer clearly is suffering from high fermentation temps as the fruity flavors and higher alcohols are present in the back of your mouth. You can easily taste the style it is supposed to be but those esters take away from the flavors that the yeast should have contributed.

The second beer takes the fruity tastes and alcohol taste away and is actually a great beer. I would drink a few of these and not complain about it. that is until I drank the third one. It is the all-grain brew with fermenting temps real close to 62. This beer is how a traditional hefeweizen should taste. This is where I could tell the differences between beer #2 and #3. #2 's flavors are just a bit muddled and I'm not getting that yeast spice on the back end. The all grain beer's flavors are distinguishable and for the first time in ANY hefeweizen I have had, I can taste the banana and clove flavors. I don't know if this is attributed to the great recipe from EdWort, me using liquid yeast (WY3068) as opposed to the dry weizen to the previous two, fermenting at 62, or just my progression as a brewer.

Tonight was a walk and taste down memory road and really put a perspective to my brewing as I went from beers that I made that tasted awesome to me but not many others, to the hands down best hefeweizen I have ever had. I thank HBT to much of this and I just hope this post makes sense as the 3 bottles I've recently drank in a short period of time are getting to me and I'm starting to feel like I'm rambling on.

Prost HBT!
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Old 07-22-2009, 03:25 AM   #2

I've never noticed much of a difference in my house brews, but I suppose it's because my technique probably hasn't changed as drastically as yours did in the above scenario. I have, however, tasted some of my first beers recently.

My first two beers were kits (my only two kits)... an English Pale, and an Irish Red. Now, I've brewed both those styles since, but not the same recipe. I was very suprised at how much my beer has improved though since those first two.

Interesting topic.
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Old 07-23-2009, 04:51 AM   #3
frolickingmonkey's Avatar
Sep 2008
Whatcom County, WA
Posts: 331

This is something I've considered lately, though since I got into kegging pretty quickly, I don't have any vintage bottles of previous brews. I need to start using the BierMuncher bottling wand to fill a couple of bottles from each keg so I can do some vertical taste testing...
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Old 07-23-2009, 06:39 PM   #4
Jul 2008
Columbus WI
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I've done this with my Amber. I've brewed it 4 times, each time with a tweak but same basic recipe.

The problem is aging. #2 was about a 8 months old, #3 was 5 months and #4 was 2 months. As with you - a lot of difference not only in flavor as I could tell the tweaks but I could tell a difference in technique. From to warm of fermenting on #2 and to mini mashing on #3 to full boil on #4.

The odd thing is my friends said This is one of the best beer I have ever had on each one. I think they like free beer LOL
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Old 07-23-2009, 08:22 PM   #5

Agreed.. I find that giving beers to friends is nice, but don't expect good feedback. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, right? They will all tell you it tastes good because it's free. I only have one friend who is good for getting feedback from, but he only likes IPAs and Stouts, so everything else is pretty much "I don't like it" from him.
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