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Jayjay1976

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Just tapped my latest in a long string of failed attempts to produce a weissbier with noticeable banana character.

Things I've tried that haven't worked:
Ferment cool
Ferment warm
Mash low
Mash high
Less wheat (<40%)
More wheat (>66%)
Wyeast 3638
Wyeast 3068
Lallemand Munich Classic
Filtered tap water
Straight RO with a bit of CaCl
Full water salts using calcs
Protein rest
No protein rest
Ferulic acid rest
Old-timey multi-step traditional mash schedule
Simple infusions at various temps
Domestic malts
Continental malts
Melanoidin malt
Noble hops
Ignoble hops
In lederhosen
In strumpfhosen
Dressed as a gnome
Dressed as a gnome + cape and elf boots
Dressed as a monk
Disguised as a monk
In possession of monk paraphernalia
In possession of monk genitalia
Wooden mash paddle
Stainless mash paddle
Listening to benedictine monks of santo domingo
Singing along with monks of santo domingo
Conference call with monks of santo domingo
Family intervention (yikes)
While playing donkey kong, both with and without a Carmen Miranda fruitbowl hat

The worst part is that my wife LOVES Hefeweizen and especially the traditional banana character. She tasted this latest one and said "maybe you just aren't cut out to brew Hefeweizen" and "I won't tell if you add banana flavoring".


HALP!
 
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Kent88

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Dressed as a gnome + cape and elf boots
...
In possession of monk paraphernalia
...
Wooden mash paddle
...
Singing along with monks of santo domingo
Conference call with monks of santo domingo
...
While playing donkey kong, with a fruitbowl hat
Pics or it didn't happen.

Have you tried a (mostly) open fermentation?
 
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Jayjay1976

Jayjay1976

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Have you tried a (mostly) open fermentation?
I use a fermonster with a blowoff tube in just a bit of starsan. I understand that is not truly "open" but the miniscule amount of backpressure can't be more than the day to day fluctuation in barometric pressure due to weather changes.

Next.
 

Dland

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Besides no banana flavor, is it good beer? If it is still good drinkable beer, no reason not to keep trying. Not a weissbier expert, but I suspect there might be another yeast you could try.
 
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Jayjay1976

Jayjay1976

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Besides no banana flavor, is it good beer?
Yeah, I drink it. Not dumpers by any means, just curiously lacking the classic banana character. If it is a specific, precise ferm temp or schedule, I'm set up to do that. What drives me nuts is how good the hefeweizen at my LHBS always turn out, and they don't make any special effort. Maybe I'm trying too hard?

I forgot to mention above, I've tried underpitching as well as building starters, both with and without oxygenation. My understanding is that underpitching and low aeration forces more esters. Just apparently not for me.
 
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Hoppy2bmerry

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I’ve used WLP 300 and gotten mild banana without trying too hard.
Edit: I just checked more notes, the last one I made I fermented with WB 06 got 2nd place with it. It is more about temps than anything else if I’m not mistake, you can definitely let those monks go back to the monastery.
 
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Hoppy2bmerry

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Yeah, I drink it. Not dumpers by any means, just curiously lacking the characteristic banana character. If it is a specific, precise ferm temp or schedule, I'm set up to do that. What drives me nuts is how good the hefeweizen at my LHBS always turn out, and they don't make any special effort. Maybe I'm trying too hard?

I forgot to mention above, I've tried underpitching as well as building starters, both with and without oxygenation. My understanding is that underpitching and low aeration forces more esters. Just apparently not for me.
Stop trying too hard!
 

Vale71

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I use a fermonster with a blowoff tube in just a bit of starsan. I understand that is not truly "open" but the miniscule amount of backpressure can't be more than the day to day fluctuation in barometric pressure due to weather changes.

Next.
Ironically "open fermentation" has nothing to do with the fermenter being open as with the geometry. To exacerbate ester production the fermenter needs to be as shallow and as wide as possible and preferably have a square shape. That notwithsanding I've gotten good banana character using a conical Unitank which supposedly is the least suitable vessel for that kind of beer so I'm really at a loss as to what your problem could be.
 

IslandLizard

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STRAIN: 3068
WEIHENSTEPHAN WEIZEN™

Profile:
The classic and most popular German wheat beer strain used worldwide. This yeast strain produces a beautiful and delicate balance of banana esters and clove phenolics. The balance can be manipulated towards ester production through increasing the fermentation temperature, increasing the wort density, and decreasing the pitch rate. Over pitching can result in a near complete loss of banana character. Decreasing the ester level will allow a higher clove character to be perceived. Sulfur is commonly produced, but will dissipate with conditioning. This strain is very powdery and will remain in suspension for an extended amount of time following attenuation. This is true top cropping yeast and requires fermentor headspace of 33%.

(Weihenstephan Weizen | Wyeast Laboratories)
 

bracconiere

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not sure if that will help...but looks like it is break down components of leucine, and glycine during fermentation....so you, like me, want esters! :mug:


maybe a little acetobacter infection would help?

edit: and by god man, before you add banana flavoring....at least try using plantains in the mash!
 
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monkeymath

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Hm, I honestly don't understand why you wouldn't get that banana flavour. WY 3068 is a solid, balanced yeast (unlike WB06, which is not even really a Hefeweizen yeast...!).
If you can find a bottle of "Gutmann" (a brewery), you could culture up the yeast from the sediment (the bottles contain lots of viable yeast). It produces a ton of banana. But, given that it's a relatively small brewery, it might not be available where you live.

One thing some German homebrewers do to get more pronounced banana flavours is the so-called "Maltaseverfahren", where you basically mash twice, adding a part of the grist and water only after the first run.
Here's a description in German Maltaseverfahren
With the temperature curve, it should be intelligible, but I can also try and translate if you'd like me to.
I should note, however, that others have had mixed results with this method: some praise it, some have been disappointed. But it might be worth a shot if you're so desperate for banana.
 

TheMadKing

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I notice in your list of things you don't have "underpitching"

You may be just pitching too much yeast, so they aren't reproducing enough to generate the esters you want

Edit saw you mentioned it later down.

If you want more esters you should pitch way low, ferment on the warmer side, add oxygen and yeast nutrient.

Your goal is to target a high number of yeast generations with rapid growth. So pitch like 500,000 cells/mL, and ferment at 68-70
 

HopSing

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I just tapped my hefe and I'm happy with the banana tones. I used a full packet of rehydrated Lallemand Munich Classic for a 6 gallon batch (I see you tried that too). Mashed at 154F for 60 minutes. I kept my boil fairly gentle (0.9 gallon boil off over 60 minutes) and fermentation around 70F-72F and kegged it after 8 days. I also boil and ferment in the same vessel using a hops spider to keep hops out, but all break material still in, so perhaps that helped? Don't give up and try to enjoy the "mistakes"!

~HopSing.
 
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Jayjay1976

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I just tapped my hefe and I'm happy with the banana tones. I used a full packet of rehydrated Lallemand Munich Classic for a 6 gallon batch (I see you tried that too). Mashed at 154F for 60 minutes. I kept my boil fairly gentle (0.9 gallon boil off over 60 minutes) and fermentation around 70F-72F and kegged it after 8 days. I also boil and ferment in the same vessel using a hops spider to keep hops out, but all break material still in, so perhaps that helped? Don't give up and try to enjoy the "mistakes"!

~HopSing.
I fermented this latest batch with Munich Classic, brewed a week ago Sunday and kegged the following Friday. Fermented it in our laundry room where the temp is pretty steady, 71-73F, it seemed to finish out in about 60 hours. It was set up with a blowoff tube but with 1.5 gal. headspace in a 7 gallon fermonster it didn't ed up needing it. Its conditioning now at 32F and 12psi CO2. Tasted a bit green still with a hint of sulfur and so far no noticeable banana. How much time should I give it before concluding this is another failure?

This batch was 66% wheat, 33% GP, some melanoidin and enough acid malt to put it around 5.2, with mandarina hops. I'll post the recipe shortly.
 
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TheMadKing

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I just tapped my hefe and I'm happy with the banana tones. I used a full packet of rehydrated Lallemand Munich Classic for a 6 gallon batch (I see you tried that too). Mashed at 154F for 60 minutes. I kept my boil fairly gentle (0.9 gallon boil off over 60 minutes) and fermentation around 70F-72F and kegged it after 8 days. I also boil and ferment in the same vessel using a hops spider to keep hops out, but all break material still in, so perhaps that helped? Don't give up and try to enjoy the "mistakes"!

~HopSing.
Just FYI there is an issue with Lallemand dry yeasts that was just pointed out to me by a brewer in another thread - their packets are not a pitchable quantity of yeast.

Lallemand's pitch rate calculator shows that you need 11.3 grams (more than 1 packet of yeast) for a 1.050 gravity beer with Munich Classic. So you definitely underpitched slightly by using a full packet.
 
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Jayjay1976

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Just FYI there is an issue with Lallemand dry yeasts that was just pointed out to me by a brewer in another thread - their packets are not a pitchable quantity of yeast.

Lallemand's pitch rate calculator shows that you need 11.3 grams (more than 1 packet of yeast) for a 1.050 gravity beer with Munich Classic. So you definitely underpitched slightly by using a full packet.
Yeah but, underpitching should produce more esters not less.
 
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Jayjay1976

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HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Hefeweizen - A New Hope v2.2
Author: Meee

Brew Method: BIAB
Style Name: Weissbier
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 6.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 7.5 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.042
Efficiency: 77% (brew house)

Hop Utilization Multiplier: 1

STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 1.013
ABV (standard): 4.69%
IBU (tinseth): 19.16
SRM (ebcmorey): 9.44
Mash pH: 5.26

FERMENTABLES:
6 lb - Pale Wheat (55.9%)
3 lb - Golden Promise (28%)
0.4 lb - Melanoidin (3.7%)
0.33 lb - Acidulated Malt (3.1%)
1 lb - Dark Wheat (9.3%)

HOPS:
16 g - Mandarina Bavaria, Type: Pellet, AA: 9.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 16.87
6 g - Mandarina Bavaria, Type: Pellet, AA: 9.5, Use: Boil for 10 min, IBU: 2.29

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Strike, Temp: 131 F, Time: 10 min, Amount: 8.5 gal,
2) Temperature, Temp: 145 F, Time: 30 min
3) Temperature, Temp: 161 F, Time: 30 min

OTHER INGREDIENTS:
3 g - Calcium Chloride (dihydrate), Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
2 g - Epsom Salt, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
4 g - Gypsum, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
0.5 g - Baking Soda, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash
0.2 g - Table Salt, Time: 60 min, Type: Water Agt, Use: Mash

YEAST:
Danstar - Munich Classic Wheat Beer Yeast
Starter: No
Form: Dry
Attenuation (custom): 73%
Flocculation: Low
Optimum Temp: 63 - 72 F
Fermentation Temp: 75 F
Pitch Rate: 0.35 (M cells / ml / deg P)

PRIMING:
CO2 Level: 4.04 Volumes

TARGET WATER PROFILE:
Profile Name: Munich (decarbonated)
Ca2: 46.9
Mg2: 6
Na: 6.9
Cl: 48.7
SO4: 75.5
HCO3: 11.394
Water Notes:
 

DVCNick

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I'm by no means an expert, but I've done a few variations on my wheat beer recipe (I'm sure it isn't a "hefe" descended from the purest of monk bloodlines so I won't call it that).

Almost no matter what else I do, WB-06 feremented in the low 70's will knock you over with the over-ripe banana smell if you open the ferm chamber during high krausen. It definitely doesn't come through nearly that strong in the taste, but the notes are there.

My typical grain bill is almost 50/50 2 row and wheat malt with a touch of carapils. Latest version I traded out the Carapils for a little flaked oats and it will be ready to keg at around the end of the week. 1oz of Tentnag for the hops.
 

TheMadKing

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Yeah but, underpitching should produce more esters not less.
Yep I agree, and he did get some banana which fits with that - that was more just an FYI on Lallemand yeast in general, and to highlight the fact that he underpitched and indeed got banana

If you still aren't getting banana flavor in your beer, then I would suggest cutting back the yeast to half or 3/4 of a packet. So many beginner brewers end up with unwanted banana in their beers, it's slightly amusing (I know this is frustrating for you), that you can't even when wearing lederhosen.

You could brew like a beginner brewer - don't aerate, no yeast nutrient, pitch warm, underpitch - do everything "wrong" from a healthy fermentation standpoint to really get that yeast stressed but multiplying like happy bunnies.

I was also just reading that isoamyl acetate needs a high percentage of glucose in the wort, what is your brew system like and how are you mashing? You could also try a hockhurz style step mash to get a higher glucose content

Edit: how long are you letting it sit in the fermenter? Maybe you are waiting too long and the isoamyl acetate is being consumed and cleaned up?
 
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Jayjay1976

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I have a single vessel electric BIAB system, similar to a wort hog but homebuilt. I have done step mashes in the past, including one previous hefe attempt using a hochkurz mash schedule. I've brewed 40+ batches on my setup so I know it works for all sorts of styles and normally delivers the results I'm after, just no banana in my weissbiers.

Trying to think of common denominators, I do use a DIY copper recirculating counterflow wort chiller; is there any chance that the copper is messing with my wort chemistry?
 

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I kept it really simple and used 5# of 2 row (Viking xtra-Pale), 7# white wheat, 0.5# Carapils (just because I had it), 1 oz of Perle hops for 60 minutes, 1 package of Munich Classic rehydrated and on stir plate for 20 minutes. Pitched at 68F. High temp was 72F. 75.28% efficiency (a little low but in range for my setup). 1.056 OG. 1.011 FG. Ferment for 8 days, on CO2 for 7. It's not a banana bomb, but it's definitely there and enjoyable. I get no sulfur at all. Good head retention and lacing. Great summer brew. I did harvest yeast and I'm going to make it again with that yeast I harvested. We'll see if banana is more or less with 2nd gen yeast that's been stored in the fridge for a month or two.

~HopSing.
 
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Jayjay1976

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Great discussion. I found this article very helpful if you haven't seen it. Sounds like you have been playing with most of the factors discussed, but worth a read.
I've referred to that article many times, especially for this latest batch where I went with 66% wheat, a higher OG, and I followed the mash schedule indicated for more banana. I subbed golden promise this time for my usual German avangard pils malt just to rule out that particular brand of pils as lacking something.
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Just curious, do other people notice the banana? I ask because with my own beers some people notice certain flavors and aromas more than I do. Making me not the best judge of my own beer.
 

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The best wheat beer I ever made was made with all wheat DME (the only way I ever make wheat beer) and Wyeast 3068 fermented during the summer at high temperatures. It must have been 90 degrees where that was fermenting. I’m sure I used one of the noble hops such as Hallertauer, Tradition, or Tettnanger. I remember that one had plenty of bananna.
 
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bwible

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Just curious, do other people notice the banana? I ask because with my own beers some people notice certain flavors and aromas more than I do. Making me not the best judge of my own beer.
German wheat beers have a balance of mostly 2 spices - bananna or clove. Some have more bananna, others have more clove. I am with OP, I prefer the ones that have less clove and more bananna in the balance.
 
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Jayjay1976

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Just curious, do other people notice the banana? I ask because with my own beers some people notice certain flavors and aromas more than I do. Making me not the best judge of my own beer.
The guys at my LHBS have tried it and are puzzled about what the problem might be. Year before last I brought my whole system over there for a group brew session in the parking lot, and though I didn't brew a weissbier on that day the instructor checked out my setup and didn't see any problems with my process. Besides the instructor, I was the only other AG brewer who turned up that day, everyone else brewing extract batches so he spent most of the time watching me brew.

On a side note, the hefeweizen the instructor brews has the perfect balance of banana-clove and that intangible, elusive German-ness that takes me back to the years we spent living in southern Germany where we fell in love with the style, sipping fresh Hefeweizen in the hot summer sun.

Here are a few things I can think of that I haven't yet tried:

-Another type of fermenter, glass maybe? I ferment 6 gallon batches in 7 gallon plastic fermonsters
-Chilling with something other than my copper counterflow unit
-Higher end malts, I tend to use Avangard though I did a batch a while back with Bestmalz Heidelberg pils. Should I try floor malted Weyermann or something else?
-Intentionally underpitching; I either pitch a fresh activator pack or most recently a pouch of Lallemand MC dry yeast
-Combination underpitching with oxygenation as mentioned by @TheMadKing
-A different water profile than those listed above
-I own a pH meter but haven't yet started using it, depending mostly on the predictions by brewersfriend
-Due to my BIAB process, most or all break material ends up in the fermenter, should I filter or whirlpool to avoid that?
 

friarsmith

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FWIW I've made this recipe several times, and I started getting even more banana notes when I reduced the listed sparge volume by a gallon or so, making for a higher gravity wort for the initial pitch. IIRC higher wort density is mentioned as a driver of banana notes in the Bavarian article mentioned above. I then top up the fermenter after 5-6 days with a gallon of water. This has the added benefit of increasing headspace which helps w/ the typically psycho hefe yeast strains. I generally pitch at 64-66* and let the fermenter free-rise while sitting at 70-72* ambient. The fermenter usually tops out at 74-76*.

If you skip the ferulic rest in this recipe the banana will be more prominent. I prefer the beer to be pretty balanced with banana/clove, so I use a FR.

 
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Jayjay1976

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The best wheat beer I ever made was made with all wheat DME (the only way I ever make wheat beer) and Wyeast 3068 fermented during the summer at high temperatures. It must have been 90 degrees where that was fermenting. I’m sure I used one of the noble hops such as Hallertauer, Tradition, or Tettnanger. I remember that one had plenty of bananna.
Thanks for the idea, whether or not I can achieve my goals with an AG batch I'm going to try brewing an extract kit. It will be my first time brewing from a kit and also my first time using extract for anything other than a starter, but it is a great way to rule out ingredient and recipe problems.
 

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The one hefe I had from @GaBrewZoo had the most banana character of any that I have ever had, so I've tagged Mister Georgia in here to see if he might offer some insight.

Edit: this was 1-2yrs ago in a FotHB trade (all the most reason to get in on those).
 
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Jayjay1976

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The one hefe I had from @GaBrewZoo had the most banana character of any that I have ever had, so I've tagged Mister Georgia in here to see if he might offer some insight.

Edit: this was 1-2yrs ago in a FotHB trade (all the most reason to get in on those).
Thank you!
 

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This is strange problem. Is the Weisse at your LHBS you mentioned exactly what you're after? If so maybe brew it with them and exchange notes. Also, a bit unconventional but for me Wyeast 1214 produces both noticeable banana and clove and you can really change the character by adjusting fermentation variables.
 

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More esters = stress (because they are spelled using the same letters?)
I would *SERIOUSLY* underpitch a 1/2 or even 1/3 packet wb06 to try with normal wort production and higher temp fermentation (low 70s).
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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The guys at my LHBS have tried it and are puzzled about what the problem might be. Year before last I brought my whole system over there for a group brew session in the parking lot, and though I didn't brew a weissbier on that day the instructor checked out my setup and didn't see any problems with my process. Besides the instructor, I was the only other AG brewer who turned up that day, everyone else brewing extract batches so he spent most of the time watching me brew.

On a side note, the hefeweizen the instructor brews has the perfect balance of banana-clove and that intangible, elusive German-ness that takes me back to the years we spent living in southern Germany where we fell in love with the style, sipping fresh Hefeweizen in the hot summer sun.

Here are a few things I can think of that I haven't yet tried:

-Another type of fermenter, glass maybe? I ferment 6 gallon batches in 7 gallon plastic fermonsters
-Chilling with something other than my copper counterflow unit
-Higher end malts, I tend to use Avangard though I did a batch a while back with Bestmalz Heidelberg pils. Should I try floor malted Weyermann or something else?
-Intentionally underpitching; I either pitch a fresh activator pack or most recently a pouch of Lallemand MC dry yeast
-Combination underpitching with oxygenation as mentioned by @TheMadKing
-A different water profile than those listed above
-I own a pH meter but haven't yet started using it, depending mostly on the predictions by brewersfriend
-Due to my BIAB process, most or all break material ends up in the fermenter, should I filter or whirlpool to avoid that?
Okay, your tastebuds aren’t in question. Most of my wheat beers turn out good, even when I was new at brewing, club members that lived in Germany gave me positive feedback about my beers encouraging me to enter competitions. (Sorry bragging not intended) At that time I wasn’t really comfortable with my process yet. The vast majority of wins I have are for some type of wheat beer, though not all German. My most used fermentor is a 4 gallon plastic pail, so it fits with the idea that there is a little more surface area (it is wider and short compared to a 6.5) I also suspect my water could be to blame for my success, though I‘ve never read about water influencing yeast expression. You are an experienced brewer, so it isn’t the process, you’ve selected the right yeast and ingredients. Perhaps it is water.
 
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