Help me brew a Hefe!

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mattman91

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Let me start off by saying that I do not want to cut corners here. Time, ingredients, processes, whatever helps me make the best authentic German Hefeweizen is what I'm interested in.

Also, fwiw, I brew on the Anvil Foundry 6.5. I typically ferment in a Fermonster in my temperature controlled fermentation chamber.

I LOVE a good Hefeweizen, especially this time of year.

I have not tried brewing one yet as some of the factors with brewing them intimidate me as a new brewer ( only 4 all grain brews under my belt).

The first thing that intimidates me is the type of yeast needed. From what I have read, Wyeast 3068 is king. I do not have any experience with liquid yeast. I have only used dry yeast for all of my beers. One thing that I have read is that you want to "under pitch" the yeast to maximize esthers. I brew 3 gallon bathes. Would one liquid pack of this yeast be too much? Should I make a starter ( I have never done this)? How much exactly do I need?

For the grist, I'm planning on doing an easy 60/40 white wheat and pilsner. Will using 2 row instead of Pilsner change anything, other than allowing a 60 minute boil instead of a 90 minute boil? Is it "not traditional" to sub the pilsner?

Lastly, the thing I am most concerned about is the decoction mash. Is this necessary? I have read mixed reviews. I have also read that some people sub some of the pilsner malt for Munich to mimic the decoction mash. To me, this seems like "cutting corners", but what do I know? :)

I have seen a few Youtube videos of this process, but I'm a bit confused.

One video shows 1/3 of mash WITH the grains being removed, boiled and placed back in the mash, while another shows only removing the liquid. Which of these is correct? Does it matter?

Step mashing. Is this necessary? What schedule should I use? What temperatures should I mash at?

I know there are tons of questions here, any help would be greatly appreciated!

Cheers!!
 
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I dont get over the top "authentic" with my hefe and its probably one of the easiest beers I brew. I do 2row and white wheat as you mentioned and I use white labs wlp300. I do a standard 60min mash and fly sparge. I don't have my notes next to me but I know it is light on hop additions. You can punch the numbers in a yeast calculator to get what you want. I under pitch slightly and ferment at 70f and it turns out great in my opinion.
 

AlexKay

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I brew 2.5-gallon batches, and get good banana results pitching a single pouch of 3068 and fermenting at 72. I’d guess that temperature control is (much) more important than pitch rate.
 

3 Dawg Night

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I just bottled my first hefeweizen last week, using the recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. It's 50% pilsner and 50% wheat, and I made a small (1L) starter with WLP300. I did a 60 minute mash, no decoction (an no Munich), batch sparge, and 90 minute boil. The sample I tasted had a nice balance between clove and banana. I can't wait to taste it carbonated in about another week!

If you're going for authentic, I'd stick with the pilsner.

I'm not a believer in underpitching, but you could probably get away with pitching a single fresh vial with no starter.
 
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mattman91

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All great advice, thanks?

Should I go with white wheat or red? Two different kinds?
 

DuncB

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Satisfying beer to make and drink. No clarity concerns with these.

I use an electric brew system as well.
From my readings I went with for the mash,
Dough in at 46 deg celsius for 44 degree at 20 minutes to accentuate cloves,
52 degrees for 20 mins as protein rest, 40 mins at 63 for some sugars and then 20 mins at 70 degrees and mashed out at 76 for 10 minutes.
My system is programmable so the above wasn't a faff.

Pitched liquid yeast one packet at 18 ( just splashed for aeration as no O2 at that time) and let it rise to 20 then held and at end raised 1 celsius for further 2 days as diacetyl rest.

Water was CaSulp, Mg Sulph NaCl, CaCl and some lactic

The yeast produced a huge creamy krausen unlike any I'd seen before.

Ferment and rest was done by day 7.

Kegged and bottled, I and homebrew club happy with it.

There are some dry wheat beer yeasts but I have no experience with them.
 

Nate R

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All great advice, thanks?

Should I go with white wheat or red? Two different kinds?
#1- hefe's have always been my BEST beers i brew. I think they are forgiving A.F!!
#2- skip pilsner- go 2-row. It makes it easier
#3- i add 1# of red wheat in with my white wheat (keep the 60/40 ratio tho- so less white wheat)
#4- a touch of carafoam rocks!!
#5- no starter
#6- the fermentation temp will have a bigger impact on clove vs. banana
Edit: i think you can skip the decotion but i reccomend step mash!
Have fun!!!
 
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Bill Tong

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I just brewed a 58/38/4 wheat/pilsen/melanoiden hefeweizen using Munich Classic.

Day 10: took sample, tasted good
Day 14: confirmed FG, bottled, but serious tart green apple.

Day 7 in bottle: still seriously tart, getting real worried now
Day 14 in bottle: Hello wonderful Heffe!!! Tartness almost totally gone, slight upfront sweetness with banana and clove.
 

3 Dawg Night

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I just brewed a 58/38/4 wheat/pilsen/melanoiden hefeweizen using Munich Classic.

Day 10: took sample, tasted good
Day 14: confirmed FG, bottled, but serious tart green apple.

Day 7 in bottle: still seriously tart, getting real worried now
Day 14 in bottle: Hello wonderful Heffe!!! Tartness almost totally gone, slight upfront sweetness with banana and clove.
I've been wondering about melanoidin malt in a hefeweizen, to try to emulate a decoction mash. Do you think it adds anything?
 

Bill Tong

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I've been wondering about melanoidin malt in a hefeweizen, to try to emulate a decoction mash. Do you think it adds anything?
This was my first so don't have anything to compare against, maybe someone else can help. Beer did turn out great, can't wait to get home so I can have one!
 

odie

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I've had mixed results with WB-06...

One was very disappointing but strangely the yeast I harvested from that batch made an excellent hefe a few months later...it went from no banana to solid banana...go figure.

Still...I'm skipping WB-06 next time in favor of danstar/Nottingham hefe yeasts
 

Bill Tong

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I've had mixed results with WB-06...

One was very disappointing but strangely the yeast I harvested from that batch made an excellent hefe a few months later...it went from no banana to solid banana...go figure.

Still...I'm skipping WB-06 next time in favor of danstar/Nottingham hefe yeasts
I was planning on using WB-06 until I learned it's a var Diastaticus. I have heard of over carbonation in the bottle, since it keeps on working slowly over time. Also a bottle bomb risk for me.
 

odie

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Maybe that's what I got in the fridge. It's "munich classic" as was recommended here. but I thought the brand name was a bit different. I kinda suspect there are two brand names for the same company depending on what they were "marketing". Kinda like Fermentis and Safale?
 

jrgtr42

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aside from the mash bill, from what I understand, it's the yeast. You want to underpitch - that one pack for 3 gallons should work out, as long as it's fresh. Also, you want to ferment warmer than usual - 70 - 75 F to get those banana / clove esters out.
|I did an extract one ages ago - I;m sure I made some mistakes in the boil, but at the time I didn't know about yeast pitch rates and temp control - so I did a full pouch of liquid yeast, straight in, and it was definitely warm in my place, so it was high temp - it came out great.
 

deuc224

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I just brewed a 58/38/4 wheat/pilsen/melanoiden hefeweizen using Munich Classic.

Day 10: took sample, tasted good
Day 14: confirmed FG, bottled, but serious tart green apple.

Day 7 in bottle: still seriously tart, getting real worried now
Day 14 in bottle: Hello wonderful Heffe!!! Tartness almost totally gone, slight upfront sweetness with banana and clove.
See this is important to know and i dont think it gets talked about much. Hefes have a reputation for being consumed as fresh as possible, but when they are fresh, they have a bad tart or i think kind of a yeast bite, which im not a fan of. After a couple weeks of being on gas and time, the hefe mellowed out and was great. This is important to mention.
 

odie

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What's a good ferm temp to get that banana and clove?
 

odie

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Probably ok. going thru my notes I only found once that I noted the hefe ferm temp. 65'. Many of my beers I don't write down the ferm temp which leads me to think 68' is the default since that's what I do most my ales at.
 

Nate R

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What's a good ferm temp to get that banana and clove?
Middle of the range should give the balance of both. I seem to recall lower temp gave one, higher temp gave the other. (I.e. you could go more clove less banana or vice-versa.)
 

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odie

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Pitched with the Munich CLassic….that yeast is a monster...blew stuff out the bucket lid...very banana smell inside the ferm chamber. running it at 65'
 
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mattman91

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PXL_20210411_111349337.MP.jpg


They weren't lying when they said Wyeast 3068 smells like sulfur during fermentation.

I didn't under pitch like some say to do with this yeast. If anything, I over pitched by using the entire liquid pack (no starter) for a 3 gallon batch.
 

odie

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that's pretty tame looking compared to what's inside my bucket right now...LOL

looks more like bubble bath...mine is like whipped cream topping...REAL whipped cream, not that Coolwhip crap...

But a blow tube is definitely what is needed with this yeast...
 
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mattman91

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that's pretty tame looking compared to what's inside my bucket right now...LOL

looks more like bubble bath...mine is like whipped cream topping...REAL whipped cream, not that Coolwhip crap...

But a blow tube is definitely what is needed with this yeast...
Oh, about 18 hours in my blow-off tube was full of foam.

Did you get a sulfur smell with the Munich Classic?
 

odie

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No sulfur...just solid lovely banana smell when I opened the chamber.
 
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mattman91

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Did my first gravity check for this one, 6 days in to fermentation. 1.012. as it stands now that puts it at 5%. Wonder if a few more days may give me a gravity point or 2 more...
 

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