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Old 04-14-2010, 06:38 AM   #1
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Default "bavarian style" or "blonde" characteristic questions

Could anyone tell me what defines a "bavarian" or "blonde" style of beer? To me, they have similar tastes that I find to be a bit on the stanky & thick side of things, even when it's a lighter beer. The taste reminds of bananas, but not in a good fruity way, more of a decomposing way. I'm not a fan, so I'm trying to find out what I should avoid in my future 5 gallon batches. I just brewed a Honey Hefeweizen (northern brewer Extract kit) and it too has this strong taste that I'm not a fan of. The beer is fine, but it's just not what I'm looking for in the future. Some people seem to love it, but it's not for me.

I would consider New Belgium's "Tripel" as being right on the borderline of this taste that I don't like. I don't think I've found a "blonde" beer besides Pete's Wicked Strawberry Blonde that I like, and that's a bad example because the strawberry sweetness overpowers the stankness.

Are there specific processes or ingredients that give beers this "bavarian "flavor?

thanks in advance

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Old 04-14-2010, 12:59 PM   #2
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I've never heard of a "Bavarian" style or flavor, so I'm guessing here. Since you mention a hefeweizen specifically, I think it's the esters you don't like.

I can't stand hefeweizens! That's a very light wheat beer that is driven by the yeast character. Bananas, bubblegum, clove, etc. Some tripels have that as well. I've not picked it up in blonde ales, but I'm not that experienced with commercial blonde ales and it's quite possible that you may have had some Belgian styles where that is a big flavor component.

There are a couple of ways to make a light colored beer without those flavors. First, the yeast choice. If you use a "clean" ale yeast, it will have a much neutral flavor.

Another issue is fermentation temperature- even the "cleanest" ale yeast strains will get fruity if fermented too warm, generally about 70 degrees, the yeast will cause some changes and will start to edge into fruity esters. That's because esters are a product of the yeast.
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Old 04-14-2010, 10:44 PM   #3
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Specifically it is isoamyl acetate, which makes bananas and banana runts taste the way they do. All yeast will produce this at detectable levels if the temp is high enough. Bavarian wheat beers (but not bavarian lagers) and belgian ales use idiosyncratic yeast which will produce lots of isoamyl acetate, and phenols and other stuff even under good fermentation conditions. No american "blond ale" should taste like banana, only belgian/french blond/blonde ales should have this character.
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