A question about Hefe fermentation temperature

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

ebursey

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2020
Messages
9
Reaction score
4
I just brewed my first hefeweizen and it's bottle conditioning as I write this. When I tasted the beer on bottling day, I was surprised to find that it tastes like clove without any discernible banana flavor. I'm not disappointed but I am a little surprised because I was shooting for something balanced, with both flavors present. My first thought is that I fermented at a low temperature that favored clove phenols over banana esters. I'm excited to try this again and I'm wondering what to do differently to get more banana flavor. I don't want a banana bomb, just a little more banana flavor.

Before beginning, I read a bunch and, unsurprisingly, I saw a lot of wildly different suggestions. Ferment at 62F. Ferment at 72F. Underpitch. Pitch normal. Don't aerate. Aerate.
In the end, I decided to pitch a normal amount of yeast at a somewhat low temperature, let the temperature rise on its own, then set the temp around 68F for the remainder of the fermentation.

Here's what I did.
3 gallon (final volume) extract brew.
3.25# Briess Bavarian Wheat DME.
Chilled the wort to 60F.
Aerated with a pump for 40 minutes.
Pitched about 2/3 of a tube of WLP300 (exp date Jul 24, 2021).

Pitched at 60F.
Set temp on the thermostat to 62F.

The next morning when fermentation had not yet started, I adjusted the temp to 65F.
Later that day / beginning of the following day, the temp had risen to ~68F and it stayed there for a day or so.
When it fell to 65F I set the thermostat to 68F and kept it there for a total of two weeks.

Gravities (corrected refractometer readings)
OG = 1.044
FG = 1.011 - more of an estimate because the yeast scatter the light so much but I made the reading without checking my notes and this was dead on what I expected.

So, in order to get a little more banana, what would you recommend? Would you recommend that I pitch at a warmer temp and/or ferment at a higher temp? If so, what temps would you recommend? Should I do something other than adjust the temperature?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

Bassman2003

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2013
Messages
992
Reaction score
312
Location
Arlington
Banana can be elusive. It looks like you did everything that would produce some banana. Where you fermented was on the higher side as I usually pitch at 60F and ferment at 62-63F for a day or two of activity and then let rise to 65F. Most flavor as I understand it is made in the first 50% of gravity, so that factors in when to change temps.

Underpitching seems to be a large part of banana flavor. For your size batch, you could try pitching 1/3 to 1/2 of a vial. I would make a starter with this small amount of yeast to make sure you get a quick start to fermentation. Direct pitch of the vial often results in long lag times. I would avoid getting into the 70s for fermentation as you will start to create off flavors. There is a long thread about banana woes and hefeweizen not too far back. I do not recall if any conclusion was made.
 

Beer Viking

Beer Lover
Joined
Mar 22, 2020
Messages
155
Reaction score
64
Location
BC, Canada
Banana can be elusive. It looks like you did everything that would produce some banana. Where you fermented was on the higher side as I usually pitch at 60F and ferment at 62-63F for a day or two of activity and then let rise to 65F. Most flavor as I understand it is made in the first 50% of gravity, so that factors in when to change temps.

Underpitching seems to be a large part of banana flavor. For your size batch, you could try pitching 1/3 to 1/2 of a vial. I would make a starter with this small amount of yeast to make sure you get a quick start to fermentation. Direct pitch of the vial often results in long lag times. I would avoid getting into the 70s for fermentation as you will start to create off flavors. There is a long thread about banana woes and hefeweizen not too far back. I do not recall if any conclusion was made.
Not trying to highjack this thread, but if someone was useing dry yeast how much of a pack would you pitch to do underpitching correctly?
 

odie

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2016
Messages
1,360
Reaction score
562
Location
CC, TX
I used Munich Classic yeast on my latest hefe. I pitched the whole pack and it was a krausen monster. I bet 1/2 a pack would be enough.
 

Cammanron

Active Member
Joined
May 7, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
32
I have a similar experience. I’ve tried fermenting at warmer temps- 73-75, and under pitching dry yeast and drinking early (in an attempt to get the banana smell and flavour before it can condition out), and I still get very little to no banana. My hefe is still very good, mind you and I love drinking it, but I’m aiming for the elusive banana “boat”.
I find the wonderful smell of opening a hefe a nice compliment to an easy drinking beer.
 
Top