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Old 05-27-2010, 08:35 PM   #1
maida7
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I made a hefeweisse recently. 50/50 wheat to barley malt. Mashed at 153F fermented at 62F for 2 weeks

I made a starter from WLP300 german wheat yeast that I had saved in a jar. Normally this yeast makes a great ester profile of german wheat beers. You know the banana and clove thing. But the problem is that the beer came out with NO esters. It's super clean tasting like an American wheat.

How is this possible?

 
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Old 05-27-2010, 09:24 PM   #2
pheboglobi
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It might have been too low of a fermentation temperature to produce esters. According to White Labs, optimum temp is 68-72 for this yeast.

 
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:38 PM   #3
maida7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pheboglobi View Post
It might have been too low of a fermentation temperature to produce esters. According to White Labs, optimum temp is 68-72 for this yeast.
I've had great ester flavors at 62 with a previous batch using the same yeast. So I don't think that is the issue. I think the optimum temp ranges on the White Labs site refer to the optimum for yeast health and growth. Not necessarily the optimum for beer flavor.

The only thing I can come up with is that I over pitched the yeast. It was yeast I saved in a jar from a previous starter. I made a 1L starter with the jar of yeast on a stir plate and pitched the whole thing in a 5.5 gallon batch.

Is that enough to be considered over pitching? Would over pitching result in zero esters? I swear it tastes like somebody swaped my wlp300 with wlp001. And that is possible because I have some jars of that saved as well. But everything is labeled clearly.

 
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:46 PM   #4
Fishin-Jay
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I just used the same yeast for a hefe, fermented at ~69-70 and I've got great esters. The pitching rate you mention seems right on with Mr. Malty's calculator. Maybe you somehow got a mislabled jar of yeast?
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Old 05-27-2010, 10:58 PM   #5
bendc
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62 seems to be on the low end for any ale yeast. Try fermenting warmer next time if you want more ester production. Warmer temperatures will bring out esters in any kind of yeast. This is why Belgian styles are sometimes fermented in the upper 70s.

 
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Old 05-28-2010, 01:32 PM   #6
maida7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendc View Post
62 seems to be on the low end for any ale yeast. Try fermenting warmer next time if you want more ester production. Warmer temperatures will bring out esters in any kind of yeast. This is why Belgian styles are sometimes fermented in the upper 70s.
Yeah, I'm aware of all that. But this yeast can give great banana and clove flavors at 62F. I know because I've fermented with it at that temp before and it works great.

I'm leaning more towards that it was a mislabeled vial from white labs. I did make a wiezenbock with the same vial. You see, what I do is buy 1 vial and make a huge starter. The I split the starter into 3 parts. 2 part get stored in the fridge for later use. One part gets used to make another starter for whatever I'm brewing next.

The hefe was from one of the stored jars. The weizenbock was from the non stored portion. Both batches come from the same parent vial. I have yet to taste the weizenbock as I like to age that beer. I guess I need to crack open the keg of weizenbock and see what it's like. If the weizenbock has the same clean (non ester) profile then I know that the original vial was the wrong yeast. Dang you white labs!

 
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
remilard
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Loss of ester production is a common complaint from repitching German wheat beer yeast. Common enough that I've never tried it. I know that Gordon Biersch never repitches and when German breweries do I believe it is always via top cropping (note: Belgian breweries always top crop too).

 
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:42 PM   #8
maida7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by remilard View Post
Loss of ester production is a common complaint from repitching German wheat beer yeast. Common enough that I've never tried it. I know that Gordon Biersch never repitches and when German breweries do I believe it is always via top cropping (note: Belgian breweries always top crop too).
Really, I did not know that! Once again: experience is what you get after you need it the most. I wonder how my weizenbock will taste. It was a starter made from a starter from the original vial.

 
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Old 05-28-2010, 04:46 PM   #9
pheboglobi
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Read "Brewing with Wheat" pages 107-110.
• Yeast Selection and Cropping
• Fermentation Temperatures
• Pitching Rates
• Fermenter Geometry
• Fermenter Configuration

And it is about Ester and Phenol production (i.e. banana and clove character).

But to summarize, if you don't feel like finding and reading the book for just three pages:
• Pitching at higher temps promotes ester and phenol production.
•*Lower pitching rates promotes ester and phenol production.
•*Top-cropping wheat yeasts for reuse is important, otherwise it loses character quickly. The Weihenstephan 68 strain (aka WLP300) is specifically mentioned in this regard, possibly losing its character after a generation if not top-cropped.
• Short and wide fermenters promote ester and phenol production.
• Open fermenting promotes ester and phenol production.

62F is pretty low for any ale yeast to produce flavors, especially a hefe yeast. Which isn't to say that it wouldn't do it, just that the classic character of this yeast would likely be minimal at that temperature, and far far less than had it been fermented at 72F. The amounts of esters/phenols produced could be masked by any other flavors in the recipe. e.g., A basic 60/40 hefe recipe with minimal hops pitched at a low rate from a first gen yeast in and fermented at 62F could create a beer with the classic banana and clove flavors.

 
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:03 AM   #10
brewt00l
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maida7 View Post
The only thing I can come up with is that I over pitched the yeast. It was yeast I saved in a jar from a previous starter. I made a 1L starter with the jar of yeast on a stir plate and pitched the whole thing in a 5.5 gallon batch.

Is that enough to be considered over pitching? Would over pitching result in zero esters? I swear it tastes like somebody swaped my wlp300 with wlp001. And that is possible because I have some jars of that saved as well. But everything is labeled clearly.
That's exactly how I described an overpitch of WLP013 I did a little while back....zero esters & absurdly high attenuation for the strain; like the beer was stripped clean.

 
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