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Tart Hefeweizen

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jzamora3

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Hey guys,


I recently brewed a "Bavarian hefe" kit that I received as a gift. This beer is tart! Smells tart and tastes tart and sour. Here's some specs on my brew.

Biab 5 gallon batch
1.046 og
1.010 FG. Was fermenting for about 10 days. Fermented at the higher end at about 69-70 degrees. Temp was controlled using a fermentation fridge.

Protein rest at 120 for 15 mins. Then 60 min mash at 156. The reccomend temp was 152. Overshot a little.

Pitched full packet of yeast and it took off right away. Vigourous fermentation that finished up fairly quick.

Ingredients: 5 lbs. Domestic 2-Row barley, 4 lbs. White Wheat, 8 oz. Carapils, 2 oz. of tettnang hops. Safbrew WB 06 yeast.

It's been about 2 weeks since brew day and has been on gas in my kegerator for 4 days. Carbonation is fine but flavor is off.

Any idea what may have happened?
 

doomy86

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I had the same problem every time brewing with dry hefeweizen yeast (sometimes even with liquid yeast). A few weeks ago i brewed my first hefeweizen that actually tasted right. I'm pretty sure the yeast had nothing to do with it because i already used it once and the beer came out bad. I think the beer came out good because of the following techniques:

I did not use any acid to lower the mash PH. What i did instead is mixing my tap water with RO water from the store.

The second thing i did differently was using a step mash called the "hermann verfahren".

I will repeat the experiment with WB-06 and post an update.

Cheers!
 

Sadu

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I have spent the past year trying to diagnose tart hefes. I struggled through 5 gallons of not-quite-dumpable hefe and since then have being doing 1 gallon brews until I get it right.

Batch 7 was pretty close to perfect in my mind, but then a mate sent me some tasting notes on a batch of beers I gave him and he said it tasted "winey and not his thing". I thought it was really great, and I guess that's what counts.

For me there were 2 changes that got my hefes away from being tart and into yum territory.

1. Changing to using all Weyermann malts
2. Mashing high to get a FG at the top end of the style - last one finished at 1.018

My grain bill is 50% Weyermann wheat, 44% Weyermann Pils, 3% Melanoiden, 3% acidulated. Hopping to 10 IBU with Tett and WLP300 yeast. Ferulic acid rest plus protein rest (since that's easy to do on my system) then mashing high at 68c/154f.

I also try to abuse the yeast. No aeration, no starter, pitch from 6 week old slurry out of the fridge, 15ml per gallon which is way less than MrMalty says.

I'm no expert but have been experiencing the same frustrations.
 

MVKTR2

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Tart and sour, sounds like an infection. However given that it's 4 days in the keg it sounds like a very likely issue is carbonic bite from forced carbonation. Other possible contributors are that many professional brewers believe every time a beer is transferred it 'upsets' the beer for a few days and it needs time to settle. Finally I'd suggest that sour/tart are strongly associated with low pH/ acidic. This could be in the beer from a number of influences.

I don't believe you list what type of yeast you used? You could search it an add the words lowered my pH to see what you get. Certain yeast, a Belgian strain is what I'm thinking of, lower beer pH by a surprising amount.

Oddly enough I kegged my hefeweizen last Friday, same day as yours? Mine so far is a rousing success. Wlp300, 50:50 wheat to pilsner, did a ferulic acid rest, protein, and sach rest. Fermented at 63-64 then up to 68 once it was slowing down. Lots of clove, good moderate banana, no bubblegum.
 
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jzamora3

jzamora3

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This is my 3rd hef that I've brewed and the other two turned out fantastic. Although, this was my first attempt using dry yeast.

When I sampled the wort and my three hydro testings, the sample was slightly tart but still very tasty. I was super excited to try the finished product, so I'm hoping it's related to the carbonation. Hopefully some time will do it some good. How long does it normally take for this carbonic bite to disappear?

Any thoughts that the higher mash may have extracted some tannins? I do biab and didn't squeeze the bag and I know there's some discussion about squeezing and tanin extraction.

I think my water is okay, but maybe I'm wrong. I've used Albuquerque tap water diluted 20% by RO water and have had some success. I input the water stats into the calculator on brewed friend and everything came back within the "acceptable for brewing range." Although the system listed the sulphate:chloride ratio as "highly bitter" and Alkalinity/srm as "good for Amber beer (50-150 ppm Alkalinity). Any thoughts that maybe this had something to do with it?

There were no signs of infection from what I could tell. So I'm hoping it wasn't an infection. I'm pretty diligent with my sanitation process.

Oh and the yeast I used was safbrew wb06. Poured directly into wort and hit with 10 mins of oxygen.

Just hoping this batch is salvageable. Right now it's almost dump able
 

triethylborane

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For me there were 2 changes that got my hefes away from being tart and into yum territory.

1. Changing to using all Weyermann malts

2. Mashing high to get a FG at the top end of the style - last one finished at 1.018


My grain bill is 50% Weyermann wheat, 44% Weyermann Pils, 3% Melanoiden, 3% acidulated. Hopping to 10 IBU with Tett and WLP300 yeast. Ferulic acid rest plus protein rest (since that's easy to do on my system) then mashing high at 68c/154f.

I also try to abuse the yeast. No aeration, no starter, pitch from 6 week old slurry out of the fridge, 15ml per gallon which is way less than MrMalty says.

I'm no expert but have been experiencing the same frustrations.

Your grain bill and yeast approach are on target. Acidulated malt is important, 3% of your bill is probably enough. I do the same thing with my yeast though I use WLP380 and yeast cultured from Schneider Weiss. I just dump slurry out, no starter.

Your mash temp for a single infusion is about right, and a ferulic rest is important if you are doing single infusion IMHO. Have you considered doing a decoction mash? This could be part of your troubles as wheat beers can benefit from a decoction mash as wheat proteins are complex viscoelastic (mostly gluten) chains that can withstand high temperatures without denaturing or lysing. A decoction mash is what will break down the wheat protein into shorter chains of amino acids that are beneficial for yeast reproduction. Likewise, wheat starches are broken down in a decoction that can react with the free amino acids for malliard reactions when brought to a boil and alpha amylase when back in the mash tun.

Also fermentation temp should be around 62-64f. Ive found too much ester, phenols and fusel alcohols are present when the ferm temps creep up past 68f. Unpleasant
 

triethylborane

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How long does it normally take for this carbonic bite to disappear?

Any thoughts that the higher mash may have extracted some tannins? I do biab and didn't squeeze the bag and I know there's some discussion about squeezing and tanin extraction.

I think my water is okay, but maybe I'm wrong. I've used Albuquerque tap water diluted 20% by RO water and have had some success. I input the water stats into the calculator on brewed friend and everything came back within the "acceptable for brewing range." Although the system listed the sulphate:chloride ratio as "highly bitter" and Alkalinity/srm as "good for Amber beer (50-150 ppm Alkalinity). Any thoughts that maybe this had something to do with it?

There were no signs of infection from what I could tell. So I'm hoping it wasn't an infection. I'm pretty diligent with my sanitation process.

Oh and the yeast I used was safbrew wb06. Poured directly into wort and hit with 10 mins of oxygen.

Just hoping this batch is salvageable. Right now it's almost dump able

Sounds like you have a petite berliner weisse, even though it doesn't sound like a pellicle formed. Could be the dry yeast, though I have never brewed a hefe with a dry yeast. Maybe find some raspberry syrup to cut the beer with . . . I wouldn't dump it.

Regarding the carbonic bite, Ive found three weeks of bottle conditioning works the best. This is, however, dependent on variables introduced during the brewing process, so YMMV.

Did you use acidulated malt in your other batches? That could help with your alkaline water.
 

MVKTR2

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The carbonic bite should be gone 3-5 days after the beer reaches the desired carbonation level and you turn the gas down to servin pressure.

The sulphate:chloride ratio sounds like the source of your problem with perhaps some influence from the yeast and carbonic bite. I'd guess time next week it'll drinking much better and you'll be able to judge weather to adjust your water more and if you like wb06.

You said 10 mins of oxygen, that from an aquarium pump not pure o2 correct?
 
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jzamora3

jzamora3

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Sounds like you have a petite berliner weisse, even though it doesn't sound like a pellicle formed. Could be the dry yeast, though I have never brewed a hefe with a dry yeast. Maybe find some raspberry syrup to cut the beer with . . . I wouldn't dump it.

Regarding the carbonic bite, Ive found three weeks of bottle conditioning works the best. This is, however, dependent on variables introduced during the brewing process, so YMMV.

Did you use acidulated malt in your other batches? That could help with your alkaline water.

My previous hef I did use acidulated malt. Maybe I'll try again and use this malt again. Is this the best bet to combat the alkalinity ?
 
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jzamora3

jzamora3

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The carbonic bite should be gone 3-5 days after the beer reaches the desired carbonation level and you turn the gas down to servin pressure.

The sulphate:chloride ratio sounds like the source of your problem with perhaps some influence from the yeast and carbonic bite. I'd guess time next week it'll drinking much better and you'll be able to judge weather to adjust your water more and if you like wb06.

You said 10 mins of oxygen, that from an aquarium pump not pure o2 correct?
Okay, I'll wait another week or two before I make a final judgement.

Yes, it was 10 mins on the aquarium pump.


Thanks for the help. Hoping this gets better with time!
 

CAvellan

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Has anyone had any success using dry yeast and no sour flavors? I can only source dry yeast where I'm from.
Also, I get these great aromas during the wort but once the beer is done, it is not bad, it just has this tart flavor at the end that you won't get with a good german Hefe (I like Oettinger - more into the cloves than banana IMO).
 

porterpounder

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Do you have an inline filter on you aeration pump line and are you sanitizing that line and stone? If you're pumping unfiltered room air into your wort through unsanitized line you can easily pick up some bugs. Dry yeast doesn't lead to tart beer unless it's a yeast that is designed to so so, like the Philly sour yeast. Carbonic bite isn't tart or sour either.

Acid malt or lactic/phosphoric acid will help you deal with your alkalinity, but again, alkaline mash won't give you a tart/sour flavor in beer. The higher mash temp should give you more body, but again, won't give you a sour beer or leach tannins in the mash. A high sparge water temp without controlling pH is more likely to give you tannic extraction, but again, tannins do not give you tart or sour flavors.
 

CAvellan

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Do you have an inline filter on you aeration pump line and are you sanitizing that line and stone? If you're pumping unfiltered room air into your wort through unsanitized line you can easily pick up some bugs. Dry yeast doesn't lead to tart beer unless it's a yeast that is designed to so so, like the Philly sour yeast. Carbonic bite isn't tart or sour either.

Acid malt or lactic/phosphoric acid will help you deal with your alkalinity, but again, alkaline mash won't give you a tart/sour flavor in beer. The higher mash temp should give you more body, but again, won't give you a sour beer or leach tannins in the mash. A high sparge water temp without controlling pH is more likely to give you tannic extraction, but again, tannins do not give you tart or sour flavors.
I don't think I have a perfect process but it is a process that produces good APA's, a good Kolsch. It is the Hefes that give me trouble, they don't have that soft finish. I just can't pin down where the issue is. Again, it is not a bad beer, I don't think it has bacteria in it, not sure if it is a vinegar flavor either.
 

slayer021175666

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Sounds like it soured. Lactobascillus.
Regardless of that, here is another suggestion. Try "Pushing" on your yeast. I find that wheat beers seem to be better if you ferment hotter. I routinely "push" them to 78 degrees. Blow off tube is a must! Tastes better and gets in my glass faster!
 

dmtaylor

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Hefeweizen yeasts produce a lot of acid naturally. As such, some experts recommend starting with a much higher mash pH than normal, as high as 5.8 to 6.0. I went as high as 5.7 on my last hefe and was very pleased with the result (although I used liquid WLP300, not dry yeast).

If that doesn't solve the issue, yes I can confirm, I have had some troubles with various dry yeasts ending up with a tangy flavor. Not sure why. Try adjusting with a small addition of pickling lime perhaps, even if right at packaging. I'll be trying that the next time it happens.
 

CAvellan

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Hefeweizen yeasts produce a lot of acid naturally. As such, some experts recommend starting with a much higher mash pH than normal, as high as 5.8 to 6.0. I went as high as 5.7 on my last hefe and was very pleased with the result (although I used liquid WLP300, not dry yeast).

If that doesn't solve the issue, yes I can confirm, I have had some troubles with various dry yeasts ending up with a tangy flavor. Not sure why. Try adjusting with a small addition of pickling lime perhaps, even if right at packaging. I'll be trying that the next time it happens.
Funny thing is that at least in the end beer, my two batches were at 4.49 and 4.6 pH respectively. Oettinger is a 4.53 beer (based on my readings). Is it possible that if I crush the grain too fine I might be accidentally doing sour mash for mashing for 60 mins (after a ferulic acid rest of 15 mins)? Should I mash for a shorter time?
 

dmtaylor

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Funny thing is that at least in the end beer, my two batches were at 4.49 and 4.6 pH respectively. Oettinger is a 4.53 beer (based on my readings). Is it possible that if I crush the grain too fine I might be accidentally doing sour mash for mashing for 60 mins (after a ferulic acid rest of 15 mins)? Should I mash for a shorter time?
In just 60 minutes, no, no way in hell that's a sour mash.

I'm still not sure why or how dry yeasts end up tangy. They don't always, but a lot of times they do. It seems like it's just one of those things...
 

CAvellan

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In just 60 minutes, no, no way in hell that's a sour mash.

I'm still not sure why or how dry yeasts end up tangy. They don't always, but a lot of times they do. It seems like it's just one of those things...
You know what? I think I've been underpitching everytime I have fermented my beers and that is probably leading to that estery, tart flavor (maybe bubblegum?) I will try a higher pitching rate next time and I will let you know how that turns out.
 

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In just 60 minutes, no, no way in hell that's a sour mash.

I'm still not sure why or how dry yeasts end up tangy. They don't always, but a lot of times they do. It seems like it's just one of those things...
I've read that mashes without much alkalinity left, in other words with inclusion of acid malt or other acid sources, tend to produce less tart tasting beers with hefeweizen yeast. Maybe otherwise the yeast is overshooting with acid production, or it doesn't need to produce as much acid and the acid it produces tastes more tart then the one used in the mash?

Anyway, there are many dry supposed to be hefeweizen yeasts out there, which are actually wit beer yeasts, and those might end up more tart than the others.

The only real dry hefeweizen yeast I know about is Lallemand Munich Classic.
 

slayer021175666

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You know what? I think I've been underpitching everytime I have fermented my beers and that is probably leading to that estery, tart flavor (maybe bubblegum?) I will try a higher pitching rate next time and I will let you know how that turns out.
I purposely over pitch a little. Especially if I plan to push on the yeast.
 

dmtaylor

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The only real dry hefeweizen yeast I know about is Lallemand Munich Classic.
There is also one from Mauribrew and Mangrove Jack M20 which are legit. You are correct though about others actually being witbier yeasts, including Lallemand Munich ("Regular") which was actually recently renamed to Wit -- they finally figured it out I guess.
 

Miraculix

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There is also one from Mauribrew and Mangrove Jack M20 which are legit. You are correct though about others actually being witbier yeasts, including Lallemand Munich ("Regular") which was actually recently renamed to Wit -- they finally figured it out I guess.
Finally! Now fermentis remains... I can only guess how many frustrated brewers their w06 left on the field.

I guess that the mj yeast is actually one of the other two you mentioned, just repacked. That's how they work there at mj's.
 

dmtaylor

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Finally! Now fermentis remains... I can only guess how many frustrated brewers their w06 left on the field.

I guess that the mj yeast is actually one of the other two you mentioned, just repacked. That's how they work there at mj's.
That damned WB-06..... I'll never use that yeast again. Tartness and no spice or banana.

M20 is almost certainly Mauribrew Weiss. Folks online in various places have confirmed some kind of relationship MJ has with Mauri (well not to mention the other companies too but especially Mauri).
 

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I take my yeast from Widmer Hef bottles. Its what they call Altbier yeast. They get it from a company in Germany (Belgum possibly?) and I think that company strictly sells it to Widmer and 2 other breweries. You can't buy it. Anyway, its a damn ANIMAL! It blows through 10 gallons of wheat beer in 3 or 4 days and it likes to be pushed on! My "House" beers are the wheat, a NEIPA and a massive roasted chocolate coffee oatmeal stout. I make a starter for the bottle dregs. 3 or 4 bottles is plenty! I use the starter in the wheat beer and top crop it for the NEIPA and the stout. No need for further stepping up. After it blows through the 5.25 ABV Wheat, it will easily rip through the 7.6 ABV NEIPA and the 10.4 ABV Stout! Plus, top cropping out of the faintly hopped lighter wheat beer makes the yeast beautifully clean and white in the mason jars.
Hopefully, this will help with your wheat beers. For me, this yeast is a must! Its all I use.
BONUS! A vial of yeast is 7 or 8 bucks. May as well spend $10 and not only have this badass yeast but also, a friggin' 6 pack of beer to drink all in the same purchase! ;)
 

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That damned WB-06..... I'll never use that yeast again. Tartness and no spice or banana.
I guess taste truly is highly subjective. WB-06 is my go to yeast for wheat beers, especially Hefes. Fermented at the low end of its range I always get a definite clove flavor, with little, if any, esters. Personal preference, but I’m not a fan of banana flavored beers.
 

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I take my yeast from Widmer Hef bottles.
I'd always thought the Widmer strain was akin to WLP320 American hefe .... but anyway, that was a pretty interesting post.
Top cropping a strong ale yeast is always a great idea but if you're like me, you're lucky to find a distributor putting fresh beer on the shelves of local stores. The wheat beers I've found in local stores are sometimes dated and I wouldn't trust a bottle specimen enough to try.
 

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I have spent the past year trying to diagnose tart hefes. I struggled through 5 gallons of not-quite-dumpable hefe and since then have being doing 1 gallon brews until I get it right.

Batch 7 was pretty close to perfect in my mind, but then a mate sent me some tasting notes on a batch of beers I gave him and he said it tasted "winey and not his thing". I thought it was really great, and I guess that's what counts.

For me there were 2 changes that got my hefes away from being tart and into yum territory.

1. Changing to using all Weyermann malts
2. Mashing high to get a FG at the top end of the style - last one finished at 1.018

My grain bill is 50% Weyermann wheat, 44% Weyermann Pils, 3% Melanoiden, 3% acidulated. Hopping to 10 IBU with Tett and WLP300 yeast. Ferulic acid rest plus protein rest (since that's easy to do on my system) then mashing high at 68c/154f.

I also try to abuse the yeast. No aeration, no starter, pitch from 6 week old slurry out of the fridge, 15ml per gallon which is way less than MrMalty says.

I'm no expert but have been experiencing the same frustrations.
How high was the temperature when you were mashing this one? How long did you mash for?
 
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Sounds like a bit of lacto made it to the party if it's tart. I would try just doing the shake-it-like-you-hate-it approach to aeration next time instead of the pump. If the air being pumped into the beer isn't clean, that would invite infection of some level. Also, WB-06 is a solid yeast strain and is very rugged. I always start at the low end of the fermentation range and by day 5 I have it almost to 70 to bring out the banana and balance the act. I've made many a Bavarian/German Hefe with WB-06 and never have I ever experienced any tartness, just a fantastic wheat beer with clove and banana. Sounds like there's something that you're doing/not doing that is creating the sour/tart notes you are displeased of.
 
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