Fermenting a Dunkelweizen - when to bottle?

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New Member
Mar 5, 2024
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New Jersey
Hi all,

New brewer here, but have a question about wheat beers in general.

As a side note, I have seen that wheats and IPAs are generally thought to be better when they are fresher. For the IPAs it has been explained that has to do with the hop flavor dissipating the longer the brew sits, but I have not seen an explanation for wheats. Any thoughts on this? What are we gauging the freshness by?

As for my actual question: I brewed a dunkelweizen over the weekend that ended up with an OG of 1.059 and I pitched a starter of WLP300. It has been fermenting for 72 hours and the krausen fell overnight. I took a gravity reading this morning and it is sitting at 1.016. I plan to check the gravity again tomorrow to see if there is any change. For a wheat beer, how long should I wait after reaching a terminal gravity? I have an opportunity to bottle tomorrow or the next day (if the gravity holds steady), but then won't have another opportunity until next weekend. This would result in an extra ten days sitting in the primary and a total of 15 days in the fermentor.

Is it likely that the ten days will make any difference in the flavor (for better or for worse)? I am leaning towards leaving it to sit, but wanted to get some opinions on this specific case.

Thanks for any input!
It's not so important that you get it out of the FV a soon as is possible. It is important that certain things have to happen before you take it out of the FV. So if you leave it longer than you expect it takes those things to have happened, then you likely will have more successful brews more often.

Don't be in such a hurry to take SG readings. You don't have to know every moment. If you can see into the FV or have a sight glass, then when the trub and other stuff that makes your beer cloudy go to the bottom. That is probably the time you should get your first SG reading after taking your OG, IMO.

Sure your style of beer should be slightly hazy. So put hazy beer in the bottles. Don't put murky beer in the bottles. That will only give you a thicker sediment layer that can cause you to get less of the clean beer out of a bottle before the sediment starts flowing out with it.
Bottling tomorrow or the next day means only 4 or 5 days. It may be done, gravity-wise but I'd recommend waiting. The later time you mentioned with15 days total would be better. Even if you hit FG now, the beer will benefit from the yeast having some time to "clean up."
Wheats are fast, but 4-5 days is definitely pushing it. I'd go for the 15, also. It'll be fine for much longer than that. I have a Dunkelweizen in the fermenter that's at about 12 days, and I plan to keg it in the next day or 2, so about the same amount of time as we're recommending.
You need to do a video. I wanna see someone open ferment for real, one video i saw had it closed in a room in a barrel but i wanna see a homebrewer do it.
I don't have a video but a few pictures. Open fermentation is not leaving your fermenter lid off in the corner of your room, unless you are searching for wild yeast. I visited a few breweries in Germany and their open fermenters were basically stainless tubs in a room with filtered air and exhaust for the CO2.

Winkler Tour 12.JPG
Winkler Tour 13.JPG

With hefeweizen, the shape and depth of the fermenter can change the flavor. When you smell the bananas and cloves, that's aroma and flavor that is not in your beer. The deeper the fermenter the more the CO2 stirs up the wort, releasing aroma.

This is my fermenter empty. I use a blichman cooling coil for temperature control. The lid is not air tight, keeps dust and others out and lets CO2 escape.
open ferment 1.jpg
This is with Hefeweizen in it. I have a box made of reflectix I put over it for insulation.
open ferment 2.jpg
Using this fermenter and Lallemand Munich Classic dry yeast, my hefeweizens rival most of those I drank while stationed in Germany.