Possibly a silly question, but...

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Well-Known Bloviator & Pontificator
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Feb 4, 2016
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So I brewed a hefeweizen last weekend, using Imperial Stefon yeast. Tested it today, and it's done; of course still a ton of yeast in suspension. I don't expect the full krausen to fall unless I crash it.

So here's the silly question; hefeweizens traditionally have a lot of yeast in suspension. Why doesn't that yeast (which is dead? dormant? playing possum?) give off the nasty autolysed flavor that other ale yeasts do? Beer has a slight clove-y flavor, no bananas, which is what I wanted to avoid anyway (going to dump some peaches in there soon). Or is that where the clove ester comes from? I could research this on the net but I was hoping someone here would have a quicker, easier to understand answer. I've not brewed a hefeweizen since my early days, and can't remember what yeast I used (probably something dry).
It's probably because the majority of the yeast is very much alive yet. Dead yeast don't by themselves taste autolysed, they have to start to decompose.
Conceded, but wouldn't live yeast only continue to live/reproduce if they have something to eat? This has confused me for years.
The majority of the yeast are likely still "alive" but dormant. They can remain in this dormant state for months if not years. Thus no off flavors. If they are giving any flavor, it would sort of bready.

The clove flavor is a phenol produced by the yeast during fermentation. It will still be there even when the yeast finally fall out of suspension.

Also keep in mind, most of the haze in a hefe is just a result of the wheat. It would be hazy even if a highly floculant strain of yeast was used.
Yeast go dormant after they have eaten all the available food and wait until they have more food. Autolysis is when the yeast not only dies but bursts and the contents of the interior of the cell are what create the off flavors. Dead yeast are usually harmless and sometimes used as yeast nutrient because yeast are cannibalistic.

*This is just my very simple understanding, I'm not a microbiologist.

**I've heard that Imperial yeast has a YouTube channel where they talk about a lot of yeast science.
No such thing as a silly question only silly answers, hefe should be drank pretty fresh so ideally they should be gone before the yeast die and cause off flavors, the banana is esters and clove is phenols part of the style, best way to avoid autolysed yeast off flavors is to drink the beer and dont store it in a warm closet looking at them for months, keep them cold and drink them suckas mit hefe 😉
I've been brewing 21 years and have never had a problem with Autolysis. That used to be a problem, but the quality of yeast (and all other ingredients) are light years ahead from when I began brewing.

I used to drink a hefe weizen from the Fuchsbeck brewery in Sulzback-Rosenberg, Germany where most bottles would have at least an 1/8" of yeast in the bottom of the bottles. Swirl it up, makes the hefe weizen taste better anyway. Most German hefe weizens are served the same way.