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Old 04-04-2012, 06:51 AM   #1
Tvc15's Avatar
Feb 2012
Portland, Oregon
Posts: 62

Like all new home brewers, I have met with some difficulties with my first beers. Enemy number for me one has been banana esters (smell and taste) due to too high of a fermentation temp or lack of oxy- duh know for sure but I did them all wrong.

So brew number 7, I got my act together and got the temperatures in line (pitch and ferment at an average of 64-66 within the parameters of the yeast). I made a NW Hefe that was looking like it was going to be fantastic! At bottling (2 week ferment) it tasted and smelled perfect. I even opened one bottled a week early and it was looking like it was going to be awesome!

Now two weeks later I opened a bottle and that that goddamn banana scent is back, really? What the hell could I have done... Am I cursed with banana scented beer?

OK... I understand that banana scent is OK with a Hefe but it appeared from out of the blue... And at this point I loath it!

BTW- Used drops to prime, Wyeast 2565, oxygen for 1.30 min, steady temp, low head space, clean clean clean...


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Old 04-04-2012, 07:30 AM   #2
Apr 2011
denver, CO
Posts: 195
Liked 18 Times on 17 Posts

how are you controlling your temps? I set my carboy on my basement floor full of tap water for 2 days once, it was at a steady 64deg... i then brewed a beer, pitched yeast, and set it one the same floor, the next day my temp was at 72deg with a full on fermentation. moral of the story, fermentation creates its own heat. Never brewed a hefe so i cant help you with the yeast strain, but i do know if you air temp is mid 60s it WILL ferment higher than the room temp. I now ferment in a large Tub with water in it. In the summer I add frozed water bottles to keep things cool. sorry about the bad beer. I couldn't drink the first 5-6 beers I brewed. I feel your pain and frustration

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Old 04-04-2012, 07:49 AM   #3
Insomniac's Avatar
Apr 2011
Oxford, UK
Posts: 683
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

How warm did you keep the bottles while carbing? Could have been made during that ferment if it was done warm.

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Old 04-04-2012, 08:49 AM   #4
Jan 2011
lincoln, illinois
Posts: 384
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Isnt a hefe suppsed to taste like a banana. Isnt that the point. I like the banana and clove flavors. But if you don't like banana don't brew a hefe.

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Old 04-04-2012, 11:32 AM   #5
Mar 2010
buffalo, ny
Posts: 993
Liked 24 Times on 21 Posts

lol yea i would complained at the next batch. for this one, you not only get no sympathy from me, but i might just digitally highfive you for awesome bananas in your hefe
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You want to be a missionary? Got that missionary zeal?
Let a stranger change your life, how's that make you feel?
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Find a quiet place use a humble pen.

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Old 04-04-2012, 11:52 AM   #6
Pie_Man's Avatar
Aug 2011
Gainesville, FL
Posts: 1,370
Liked 138 Times on 130 Posts

That banana character is very common in German wheat beers. Wyeast's website mentions that the Kolsch yeast (2565) has some fruity esters of an ale yeast, I guess banana is one of those fruity esters. It's been my experience that fermenting in the upper temperature ranger of a yeast produces more of the fruity esters, 64-66 is closer to the upper range for this yeast (56F-70F). Also, is 64-66 the temperature of the beer or the ambient temperature? If it's the ambient temperature, the beer fermented even warmer, typically by 5-10 degrees.

I would say if you enjoy a wheat beer, but don't want the banana character, that you may want to try an American Wheat beer.

This guy's in your beer,

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Old 04-04-2012, 12:01 PM   #7
Pezman1's Avatar
Jul 2009
Coppell, TX
Posts: 471
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I've brewed Hefes, but I've never used 2565 Kolsch yeast.

Nothing in the description of this yeast mentions banana, but it does call for cool, almost lager-like temps.

Make sure your temps are actual fermenter temps and not ambient.

If you want to brew a wheat beer without any banana use 1010 Am Wheat. This is what I use for SWMBO's Honey Wheats. No banana or clove at all..


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Old 04-04-2012, 12:15 PM   #8
Dec 2011
Culpeper, VA
Posts: 2,640
Liked 279 Times on 225 Posts

My stout and my Belgian ale both smelled like bananas for the first few weeks in bottles. After 1-2 months in bottles that banana smell was gone!
Next up: Amber Ale
Primary 1&2: 90 Min IPA clone
Primary 3&4: Belgian Wit
Keg #1: White Mosaic Pale Ale
Keg #2: Empty
Drinking: Amber Ale, White Mosaic Pale Ale

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Old 04-04-2012, 12:38 PM   #9
Mar 2011
Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 66
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Originally Posted by uncommonsense View Post
Isnt a hefe suppsed to taste like a banana. Isnt that the point. I like the banana and clove flavors. But if you don't like banana don't brew a hefe.

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Old 04-04-2012, 12:57 PM   #10
Feb 2012
berlin, nj
Posts: 507
Liked 33 Times on 29 Posts

I fermented a Dunkelweizen at 68 (measured on the outside of the Carboy) and I didn't notice banana esters until I made pancakes with it.

How are you aerating your wort? I swirl the wort for about 15 minutes before pitching.

Wyeast's writeup on 3068 says that overpitching can eliminate banana esters. You might have to experiment with your pitching rate.

Also, and I don't know how much this really affects the beer, but it's traditional to have the pitching temperature and the fermentation temperature of a hefeweizen add up to 30C.

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