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Sulphur smell in hefeweizen

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Cain

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I brewed an all grain hefeweizen 3 weeks ago today.
I kegged and carbonated the batch two days ago. It was fermented with Weihenstephan 3068.
I tasted it today.
I am still getting a sulphur smell from the beer like it was a lager. Taste is okay, not really banana but mild clove for sure, but sulphur is the dominating aroma.
Normal fermentation process from this yeast? Just needs more time to clean up? Or, Cain you really screwed up this time...

Thanks for any input!
 

stpug

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WY3068/WL300/Stefon are known producers of sulfur during fermentation. Generally speaking it should have cleaned up by now but, given time, it should dissipate. Unfortunately, so will the isoamyl acetate (banana). So possible resolutions would be multiple-times venting the headspace in the keg; bubbling co2 through the beer and venting at the same time; even a quick (sanitized) copper dip; or time.

The real question is how to avoid this in the future, and to that I had no clue. There has been speculation that it's a FAN issue with grists that are high in wheat and low in barley, and if this is the case then possibly just some yeast nutrient in the last 10 minutes of the boil is enough to avoid the sulfur - BUT it's just speculation from what I've read.

Sorry. Nothing definitive here. Time should clean it up - but time is the enemy of hefes :D
 

GPP33

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Yep, had one that did that (fermented a little hot). It settled down over time.
 

Morrey

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Same here that I get Sulfur with 3068. Some say to drink a Hefe real young, but I cant get past that sulfur smell to go that route. It fades over time.
 
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Cain

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Yup, this was going to be a fast turnaround, grain to glass in 3 weeks.

I guess I will try a sample once every few days to see where it's at with the sulphur smell.

Is American Wheat beer the same way?Witbier too??
 

Oldskewl

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I had one that never cleared up. Tried to drink it for 5 or 6 weeks. Finally dumped the last gallon or 2. Need to give a hefe another shot.
 

Braumeise

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Yup, this was going to be a fast turnaround, grain to glass in 3 weeks.

I guess I will try a sample once every few days to see where it's at with the sulphur smell.

Is American Wheat beer the same way?Witbier too??
have been brewing wit beer only for almost 2 years - never once had sulfur... BUT:
I always left it in primary for at least 3 weeks.
Left it for bottle conditioning at least 2 weeks and additional 4 days in fridge before drinking.
 

Lefou

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Yeasts can give off sulfur compounds from proteins found in the mashed grains. Some under-modified malts with a higher protein content can aggravate the perception of sulfur compounds when certain yeasts work their magic.
Some things to prevent this ....
Get a good hot break, use a whirlfloc tablet as a clarifying agent, mind your yeast characteristics, pitch rate, and temperatures. Obviously, if you're doing a Hefeweizen a whirlfloc can be a moot point, but in a less turbid wheat beer, it can help.
 

triethylborane

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I brewed an all grain hefeweizen 3 weeks ago today.
I kegged and carbonated the batch two days ago. It was fermented with Weihenstephan 3068.
I tasted it today.
I am still getting a sulphur smell from the beer like it was a lager. Taste is okay, not really banana but mild clove for sure, but sulphur is the dominating aroma.
Normal fermentation process from this yeast? Just needs more time to clean up? Or, Cain you really screwed up this time...

Thanks for any input!
What temperature did you ferment the hefe at?
 

Lefou

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Just as extra info, I used WLP351 for my first hefe and WLP320 for my second. Both were fermented at 60-65F ambient using liquid starters and never once gave any hint of sulfurs in primary or in the bottle.
Clove was very obvious in 351, but barely perceptible in the 320 batch. That said, I was intentionally avoiding the yeasts known to blow sulfur.
 
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Cain

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Just as extra info, I used WLP351 for my first hefe and WLP320 for my second. Both were fermented at 60-65F ambient using liquid starters and never once gave any hint of sulfurs in primary or in the bottle.
Clove was very obvious in 351, but barely perceptible in the 320 batch. That said, I was intentionally avoiding the yeasts known to blow sulfur.
Did you get any banana esters from the 320? Maybe I'll try that one next time. I don't want a banana bomb, but would like to enough to offset the cloves in a balanced way.
 

patthebrewer

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IMHO 60 degrees is a bit cold for a good hefe.....everyone has there favorites but I like a good Balance between Bananna and clove. 67-68 degrees in the wl and wy strains. Also a bit of sulphur is normal for this style but not excessively so....If so wait to bottle...or if kegging, just burp it a few times over the course of a week to off gas the sulfur. It should normalize.....after all no one likes fart beer;);)
 

Lefou

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WLP320 is a strain that is light on ester production. That particular brew was done in the low to mid-60's F. I typically use Belgian Pilsner and do a single decoction. It turned out just fine with very little clove or banana esters you might get with other strains.
Some Pilsner malts are less modified than others and liable to aggravate a sulfur problem. Maybe a switch to American two-row or even pale malt might help.
 

Arto

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Been to Munich and drinking (many) wheat beers (cloudy/hefe, darker ones and clear ones). A sulfur (almost rotten egg) character was/is common for some of the breweries (and I could taste it always to a lesser degree).
I think the beers are served fresh, and that there is a big turnover, so the beers doesn't age so much. From my findings all I can say is that the sulfur can/is to the style (if you are aiming for authentic Munich style wheat beer).
 

Lefou

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Been to Munich and drinking (many) wheat beers (cloudy/hefe, darker ones and clear ones). A sulfur (almost rotten egg) character was/is common for some of the breweries (and I could taste it always to a lesser degree).
I think the beers are served fresh, and that there is a big turnover, so the beers doesn't age so much. From my findings all I can say is that the sulfur can/is to the style (if you are aiming for authentic Munich style wheat beer).
Yes, that's true.
You can prevent this somewhat by selecting your yeast carefully, controlling your temperatures, and, if the sulfur problem is very noticeable, you can swirl the wort during fermentation with a sanitized coil of copper wire or tubing to dissipate sulfides to some degree.
 

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This is an old thread but I feel compelled to comment for anyone who comes across this issue. Hear me now and believe me later.

I battled this issue for two years as I tried to perfect my BIAG hefeweizen. About 75% of my batches had an unpleasant sulphur aroma/taste. It is true that this is not uncommon in young hefes and I have noticed it even in some otherwise very good commercial hefes such as Sierra Nevada Kellerweiss in its early years.

It dissipates a bit over time, but Hefeweizen is a beer best consumed young. Some people don’t consider the sulphur a flaw, but it is a flaw to me, and I grew increasingly sensitive to it over time. I refer to the taste as “sewer” although my cohorts have objected to such harsh terminology but that is the best description as far as I am concerned.

I took careful notes for every batch. One day, reviewing years of notes, I recognized the pattern. I got the sewer taste when I was not careful to prevent trub from getting into my fermenter. It’s as simple as that.

In other styles of beer, trub in the fermenter does not affect the beer very much, in fact it acts as a yeast nutrient. But with hefeweizen yeast YOU MUST KEEP THE TRUB OUT OF THE FERMENTER!
 
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Cain

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Trub hasn't hurt my hefeweizens that I recall. I just made one , with trub, that turned out great. YMMV
Any guesses for preventing or dealing with the sulfer smell?
 

dmtaylor

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Have you ever gotten the sulphur taste in your hefeweizen?
No, actually I don't think I've ever had a sulfur problem in my hefeweizens. However, I've had some very stinky witbiers. Like I said earlier, these always improved with age.

Any guesses for preventing or dealing with the sulfer smell?
Age.
 

mjohnd

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I played around with many variables over many hefeweizen batches. Different malts. Different yeasts. Regular bucket fermenter, shallow fermenter. Different pitching temperatures. Different fermentation temperatures. With/without oxygenation. Open vs closed fermentation. Pitch rate. I was confounded.

Some batches that had the sulphur odor I let condition in the fermenter for a very long time. It never completely went away.

All these batches were BIAB, except for one extract batch — it did not result in sulphur.

As I say, my notes revealed a very reliable pattern. I had been in the habit of allowing lots of trub in the fermenter. I stopped doing that and I have not had the problem since.
 
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Lefou

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One thing you could try is adding yeast nutrient in the form of DAP (diammonium phosphate) at about a half teaspoon per 5 gallons.
Add the DAP in boiled water solution to your wort immediately prior to or during early primary fermentation phase.

I do all grain and prefer the WLP300 yeast when doing these German-style beers. I can't say I've ever had a sulfide problem, but there's always a first time for everything.
 
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