krausen slow to fully drop?

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field

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Hey guys. I'm brewing a batch of hefeweizen, following the mini-mash variant of Paulaner Hefe in Clone Brews. The only thing I'm doing different is I'm using WLP300 instead of the recommended Wyeast 3056. I pitched at 65F and have been fermenting between 62F and 64F for about 12 days. My concern is that the krausen is still present. About 24 hours after pitching, the krausen reached all the way to the lid of the bucket (and that was without a full seal on the lid!... which I did so I wouldn't need a blow-off setup). It began to fall in the days after, but it hasn't disappeared yet. I'd say it's down to about an inch, which is where it's been for almost a week. Can this be completely explained by my low fermentation temperature? That is, I know yeast work more slowly at lower temperatures, and thus can be expected to take longer to ferment the wort. At first I was concerned that fermentation was stuck, but I aerated the wort pretty well initially and used a 30 hour old starter. I also read elsewhere that it's unlikely to be stuck if I still have krausen. Is that correct?

I'm in no hurry to bottle, I was just wondering if this is normal. Thanks!
 

McKBrew

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It's not stuck. I've heard from more than one person that wheat beers sometimes take a bit longer to finish. Give it some more time and see what happens.
 

Haterade

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There is no way to predict how the yeasties work. Take a few hydrometer readings starting at 10 days. If it's stable for 3 days and you still have stuff floating on top, just rack from underneath it. Better yet, just relax and wait... I would recommend buying another bucket so you can ferment two brews at once.
 

david_42

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Wheat is used for head retention. A hefe krausen may not drop for weeks. Doesn't mean the fermentation isn't done.
 

AllHoppedUp

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Yep, I'v experienced the same thing with wheat beers and I think that WLP300 also has something to do with it. I made a wheat beer a couple months ago and split the batch between two different yeast strains just for S&G's. The one with the WLP300 had a krausen that lasted much longer than the one with the Notty. About 2 extra weeks.

I used to go ahead and rack beers even if the krausen persisted longer than usual but I gave myself a rule to be patient and not do that anymore. No drastic problems - just personal preference.
 
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field

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Thanks for all the feedback. I haven't taken any gravity measurements, since we're all pretty sure it's not stuck. I was planning on leaving it in the primary until the 3 week mark anyway, so I'll just measure and taste it then.

I'll post again in a few weeks and let you know how it turned out!
 

dcott

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My recent elderflower pomegranate wit took over ten days to finish primary. I think it may be the nature of the yeast coupled with the wheat (as david 42 mentioned)
 
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field

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I just finished bottling, 20 days after pitching. The krausen was gone; all that was left were a few islands of foam. Beer was nice and clear from the extra conditioning time spent in the primary. Hydrometer read 1.012, exactly as it should have according to the recipe. Mild banana scent, and also a kind of spiciness that I've not smelled before with hefeweizen, but is very pleasant nonetheless. The spiciness wasn't quite that of strong clove, it was closer to something else. Hard to put my finger on. Almost cinnamony? Bitterness is right about where it should be, noticeably lower than the last time around with the Vanguard hops, and of course different tasting, in a good way. I have high hopes for the final carbonated product. I'll post again in a few weeks with a final report!
 
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field

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I just tasted my brew after 12.5 days in bottle. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. The banana smell is hard to distinguish now, and the spiciness is also down quite a bit. It tastes closer to generic beer than hefeweizen. The bitterness is probably a few IBUs higher than I wanted, as well, and is probably the result of putting the hops into the wort first and then dissolving the DME (thus giving the hops more extracting time). But where is the characteristic hefe smell and flavor? What am I doing wrong? I aerated, I used a starter, I kept the temperature of the primary between 62F and 65F for three weeks. Do I need to ferment warmer? Do I need to try WLP380? Some appear to have had good results in cloning Paulaner with this yeast. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks.
 

knowltonm

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I generally crack my first bottle at 1 week, then 2-3 more in the next 2 weeks. It's amazing how it changes as far as hop qualities, fullness, and just the overall impression of it. Generally, and I think most people would agree, the last beer of the batch is usually the best since it's been aged a little. I'd be surprised if it doesn't improve over the next few weeks or month.
 
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field

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12.5 days isnt enough time. wait 21 days then report back.
Well, it's been 21 days, and the beer tastes the same. :confused: Actually, it's gotten worse. There is an astringency in the beer that I didn't notice before (maybe I wasn't paying close enough attention). My LHBS clerk tasted it and he thinks the astringency is probably from my inability to keep the mini-mash at 150F. I fell asleep at the wheel a few times and it got up to 165-170F for a while. :(

I've started a new, simpler batch:

- 4oz Munich Malt grains
- 6.0lbs Wheat DME (55% wheat, 45% barley)
- 2oz of Hallertau hops (1.5% AA)
- WLP380

This time, I was able to keep my mash between 146-152F, and I'm fermenting in the recommended range of 66-70F (67-69F, actually).

Hopefully this one turns out better!
 
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