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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tomsawyer on December 18, 2010, 06:18:37 PM

Title: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on December 18, 2010, 06:18:37 PM
I am closing in on what I want in my recipe.  I have the right sweetness and a nice balance of banana and clove.  What I am now wanting to eliminate is a bit of tartness.  It might be bitterness, I'm not sure.  I only used around 18 IBU of Tettnanger (60 and 15min additions) so I don't know if this is it.  I use Best wheat malt, not sure if this is a source of tartness.  The yeast is WY3068 starter, fermented around 64F using swamp cooler/ice bottles.  I now have a temp-controlled fermentor if that would help.  I  have upped my crystal malts to 9%, not sure if a little more sweetness would cover the tartness.

I should mention that our favorite hefes are Ayinger Ur-Weisse and Schneider Edel Weisse.

Any suggestions on what to do to remove this last little flaw in my hefeweizen?  The wife likes these so I have a real interest in getting this recipe right.  Thanks in advance for suggestions.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: Malticulous on December 18, 2010, 06:35:10 PM
I get it form 3068 but still it's my favorite. I've tried different temps but it's still there. 380 is less tart (I've only used it a few times.) Honestly 300 is too. I don't think they are the exact same strain. I don't think tart is really a defect in a Hefeweizen.

Early samples of my Weazen bock have not been too tart (I used 3068 top cropped from a Hefe that is tart). Maybe it's the Munich malt? It was a no sparge triple decoction but it's not very dark.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: euge on December 18, 2010, 07:28:35 PM
I prefer my hefe's and wheats in the 30+ IBU range. And maybe try mashing a little higher to retain some sweetness to balance the tart along with or instead of crystal? BTW does a weizen normally call for crystal? Munich or Vienna would be my first choices.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on December 18, 2010, 09:02:56 PM
I was thinking this might be a yeast issue.  I've been using WLP300 but was making drier hefes which I liked OK but not the wife.  I switched to 3086 just because so many people seem to favor it.  Maybe I'll try the 300 again, or one of the others.  I don't want a banana factory though, the hint in the nose is all we need.

I understand the traditional hefe isn't supposed to have crystal (I actually used some Caramunich) but the commercial beers mentioned seem like they must have some in them.  I can't imagine just mashing higher would get me there, that gets you more body but not sweetness right?  I am notorious for mashing low so I'm not speaking from experience there.  Maybe I'll try subbing some Munich for the base malt on the next batch.  I do think more hops might balance that tartness but I know she isn't going to like that and I make enough hoppy beers for myself.

This a a really good woman we're talking about, which is why I'm trying to get this beer tailored to her tastes.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: Mark G on December 18, 2010, 09:27:47 PM
I'm pretty sure the tartness comes from the yeast. I've tried WLP300 and 380, along with 3068, and always have some level of tartness. I don't have a huge sample size to give definitive results, but I think the least amount of tartness came from the 300. Personally, I like it as a hefe characteristic. I think you just need to balance it with a bit of sweetness. I usually have a total of 10% or so of the grain bill as a combination of munich and caramunich.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: majorvices on December 19, 2010, 12:17:33 PM
Definitely a yeast issue. But also keep in mind that wheat itself lends a certain tartness to the beer. I highly recommend WLP380 Hefe IV. Its by far my favorite hefeweizen yeast.

Whatever you do, don't make a Hefeweizen anywhere near close to 30 BUs. For an American wheat thats fine but you will have a bit of clashing going on with a German wheat beer. Keep the BUs closer to 10, no higher than 20. I recommend bittering only, no flavor or aroma.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: euge on December 19, 2010, 07:39:50 PM
I went and bought some of these wonderful beers last night.

The dunkel Ur-Weisse was significantly tarter than the helles Brau-Weisse. So maybe it is the wheat. I guess mashing higher might not result in pronounced "sweetness" but perhaps a maltier and not as dry brew.

(http://lh6.ggpht.com/_BGa2L64KQdY/TQ5dE1OUpxI/AAAAAAAAAY4/uE3CVp1u8Y8/s640/2010-12-18%2016.58.01.jpg)

 
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: Pawtucket Patriot on December 19, 2010, 07:41:33 PM
That is one nice weiss lineup!
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on December 20, 2010, 01:12:32 AM
Thanks for the info.  I have 9% caramunichs in the recipe so I was hesitant to go much higher there.  I'll try a little light Munich in place of some fo the pils, reduce my IBU to 10 and get some WLP380.

Euge looks like the makings of a nice tasting!  Haven't tried the Fishers.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: hamiltont on December 20, 2010, 01:20:07 AM
I have to agree with Keith.  WLP380 is the best Weissbier yeast IMO! 60% Wheat & 40% Pilsner & ~10-15 IBU's. It's that simple!  A ferulic acid rest and a double decoction mash doesn't hurt either.  Cheers!!!

Edit: I forgot to mention. Underpitching a bit helps with the esters as well as letting the fermentation rise a little, but no higher than 68F
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on December 20, 2010, 03:06:56 AM
I'm looking at the WLP380 description and it sounds like it'd be more tart, what with the citrus notes.  But I guess its worth a shot.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: James Lorden on December 20, 2010, 04:13:44 PM
I would also consider breaking out the pH meter to see if this is a "true tartness" (i.e. the beer has low pH around 4) or if it's a percieved tartness.  If you really have low pH then there might be ways to adjust your water chemistry.  See the pH effect on finished beer thread.

As for the yeast, I brewed 10 gallons of hefe recently 1.052 OG, 60% wheat, 35% pils, 5 % caramunich II step mash 35 min at 145 45 min at 160 then mash out, 15 IBU's from 1 60 minute hallertau addition.  fermented in two seperate carboys - one with WLP 300 the other with WLP 380 at 62degrees then blended to balance banana and clove.

Scored 40 points in a local comp and tartness is mild. 
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: Mark G on December 20, 2010, 05:41:00 PM
I would also consider breaking out the pH meter to see if this is a "true tartness" (i.e. the beer has low pH around 4) or if it's a percieved tartness.  If you really have low pH then there might be ways to adjust your water chemistry.  See the pH effect on finished beer thread.

As for the yeast, I brewed 10 gallons of hefe recently 1.052 OG, 60% wheat, 35% pils, 5 % caramunich II step mash 35 min at 145 45 min at 160 then mash out, 15 IBU's from 1 60 minute hallertau addition.  fermented in two seperate carboys - one with WLP 300 the other with WLP 380 at 62degrees then blended to balance banana and clove.

Scored 40 points in a local comp and tartness is mild. 
Pure genius! I swear I spent half of this past summer trying to perfect my hefe by trying different yeasts, pitching rates, etc. They were all damn good beers, but not quite what I was looking for on the clove/banana balance. I'm definitely going to try blending two batches on the next go around. Thanks for the inspiration!
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on December 20, 2010, 05:46:50 PM
I'll measure the pH tonight.  I'm not sure if this last hefe was brewed after I'd started using Palmer's spreadsheet to adjust my water.  I will employ lactic acid but try to keep it under 5ml per 5gal batch.  I think my tap water is about right for the golden colored beer anyway.

Excellent suggestion on blending.  The pondered this last night.  We do like a little banana in the mix which is why I'd been using 300, so if I could brew something with pronounced banana and then blend at a reduced percentage compared to the less tart beer, I think that would get me where I want to be.  Surely the commercial brewers aren't blending though?

Wow, the wife better appreciate this beer if it ever turns out perfect!
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: Kaiser on December 20, 2010, 05:48:33 PM
Could it be that the tartness is actually the clove character of the yeast? I had many Weissbiers that were of the phenolic type (clove) which seemed to have a bitterness that comes from the clove.

Euge, you have access to some nice beers.

Kai

Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on December 20, 2010, 10:02:38 PM
Kai I don't think thats what I'm getting.  I'm tasting clove alright, and I really wouldn't have noticed the tartness so much but when my beer was side by side with the Edel Weisse you could definitely taste the difference.  The tartness isn't over the top, and I don't mind it personally and could see why people might like it.  This isn't about me though.  Well, it gives me something else to think about instead of work!
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on December 21, 2010, 12:16:45 AM
I checked pH tonight.  My hefe measured 4.25, and the Ayinger Ur-Weise measured 4.30.  Interestingly, the Ur-Weisse (which she likes) had a bit of tartness and my brew was quite similar, maybe a hair less malty.

Had I not made the mistake of buying the Edel Weisse, I could have claimed victory!  But where's the fun in that.
Title: Re: Help Me Tweak My Hefeweizen
Post by: tomsawyer on January 10, 2011, 01:28:08 PM
I took James Lorden's advice and split a batch to ferment with 300 and 380.  I blended together to bottle and the graivty sample had an excellent flavor.  I couldn't tell about the tartness, will wait on carbonation for that.

By the way, I was surprised to see Wine Enthusiast magazine had a beer article in the December issue, their 25 top beers of 2010.  Ayinger Ur-Weisse was #7.