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Low Fermentation Temperature for Hefeweizen

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Brewing my first Hefe this weekend and will be using WLP300. Not wanting a banana-bomb, I'm aiming at a low pitch and initial fermentation temperature - thinking of pitching at 60 F and letting it go to 62 F for the first 3 or 4 days, then raise it up to finish it off at 68-70 F.

My concern is the low pitching temp (60 F) - even if I oxygenate with pure O2 and have a very healthy pitch, can I still anticipate a sluggish start?

Most of my fementations take off within 6 hours or so, and I usually don't go much lower than 4 F below the stated range for a given strain. Should this one be any different being well below the normal operating temperatures for that strain?

My bet is that it will take off pretty quickly, but maybe not in 6 hours.  Maybe more like 16 hours or something like that.  No worries.  My rule of thumb: don't worry too much unless you get to 36 hours with no activity.  And that happens so rarely... don't worry.  Relax.  Have a homebrew.

Hefe weizen strains are really robust. I have started them off as low as 56. I generally start off at 58 and then finish off at 64. Just pitch a healthy amount of fresh yeast.

I prefer a weizen fermented cool, ~62ish.  Works really well.  There is alot more complexity from 3068 pitched cool, as opposed to the 68F banana bomb IMO.

I brewed a Hefe with the WY 3068 a few months ago.  On advice from Jamil via Harold Gulbranson, a 62F fermentation temperature was used.  The ferment was still quite strong and the flavor was nice and crisp.  If anything, my clubmates commented that the beer did not have as much banana as they expected.  Since I am firmly in the clove camp, I was quite happy with the result.  I felt there was enough banana esters in the beer to accurately place it in style.  I felt the main detractor was a too low level of vanilla and complexity.  I didn't decoct and didn't add any Aromatic or Melanoidin malt to the grist.  Its apparent that a small percentage is needed when fermenting at this low temp.


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