Author Topic: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please  (Read 1031 times)

Offline molokomalt

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The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« on: July 06, 2016, 04:55:51 PM »
Hello All!

I am planning on making a Hefe but would like some anecdotal evidence for the best possible ingredient addition for the style.  From fruit to spice to hops, I'd like to pick some brains to see what kind of creative flexibility some of you have stretched to for.  This would be a grain/extract mixed batch.

If I end up brewing the Hefe with some kind of variation of your suggestion, I will gladly send you a bottle.

Cheers

Offline majorvices

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2016, 05:34:44 PM »
I personally prefer a straight up German Hefeweizen without any spice or other additions. The yeast provides plenty of spicy character and you should get esters raning from Banana to Apple and Pear depending on what strain you use.

60% German Wheat malt (I like Best)
40 German Pilsner Malt (Best again)
18-20 IBUs @ 60 minutes
Your favorite German Hefeweizen strain.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2016, 05:36:22 PM »
Hefeweizen doesn't really need spices or fruit; the flavor is driven by the yeast. A typical hefe recipe is going to be 40-60% wheat malt with the rest filled with barley malt, usually pilsner malt. IBUs all early boil of a neutral hop or noble hop to 15-20 IBUs and around 4-5% ABV. There are a few different hefe strains out there and a good thread in this subforum discussing them. Strain plus fermentation temperature are the two main factors that will determine the particular flavor of your hefe.

Adding fruit or spice can be tricky with hefes because the yeast flavor starts to drop off early. The banana and other fruits mellow first and the spices will later lose some of the complexity. It's easy to overdo spicing as the yeast phenols (what gives you the clove-like spice flavors) mellows. It's tough to add fruit because the length of time most fruit needs to be fully extracted is about the time the banana flavor starts to fade out. These kinds of additions are easier with American wheat beers like American hefeweizen (e.g. Widmer Hefe, which is really just a basic wheat beer with low hopping an a neutral yeast) or American wheat (which can range from a very simple recipe to an APA with wheat).
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Offline narvin

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2016, 05:38:13 PM »
Are you talking about Witbier?
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2016, 06:06:07 PM »
Are you talking about Witbier?

Good question.  OP, what say you?

Assuming you're talking about a Germen hefeweizen.....

I'm in the boat of folks who will say that the ingredients don't matter nearly as much as the choice of YEAST and the fermentation temperature, and personal preference!  What's great to one taster is terrible to another, and what's trash is treasure to another, vicy-versy and all that.  Personal taste is more important than anything else really.  But assuming you're the average joe who enjoys a fine German hefe....

You're most likely going to want to do a severe underpitch of WLP380, like only 1/4 to 1/2 the vial for 5 gallons, with NO yeast starter, fermenting in the low to mid 60s Fahrenheit.  Severe underpitching is crucial for maximum clove and banana and maybe even bubblegum, and cool temperatures help keep it balanced.  Hotter temperatures make the clove go away and promote bubblegum flavors.  If you pitch the standard rate per mrmalty.com, you are likely to be disappointed no matter what you do with temperatures.  In any event, drink it young -- this is one style that needs to be consumed within a month or two of brewing.  After that, it turns into a very plain jane orange ale as all the clove and banana and other esters completely vanish.

If you just want to brew something crazy, and not a traditional hefe, then I dunno where you want to go with that, but it's not a hefe at that point as far as this style nazi is concerned.   ;D

And if you're actually talking about witbier, then my advice is to go easy on the coriander, using half as much as anyone else suggests, and a decent healthy pitch of WLP400 for a month, and you're good to go. 

Malt bills are super easy with all these.  Half wheat and half something else.  Done.  Hops are a no-brainer.  I love Hallertau.  Tett or other nobles or noble-like varieties are fine.  Bittering additions only.  No late hops necessary at all, unless you want to be wild and crazy or whatever.
Dave

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Offline molokomalt

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 06:24:20 PM »
Thank you for the all of the replies.  I realize that Hefe's are traditionally yeast-focused with nothing special added.  I really do understand that, but the degree of how concrete and strict the style guide lines are is the exact degree of negligence I have for them. 

However, from what you all have said, it seems the best variables to tinker with is the temperature and pitching rate instead of actual ingredients.  This is all great advice! The underlying purpose of this post was to find variables to add or remove or whatever and you all have provided enough Hefe-experience to convince me that ingredients should not be a focus.  I thank you.

With that said, my question remains, is there anyone who has added ingredients to a Hefeweizen with success? 


Offline 69franx

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 06:48:28 PM »
Just jumping in to high jack, whats a good mash temp for a German Hefe? No experience brewing one, but think I would like to in the near future
Frank L.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 07:32:01 PM »
Just jumping in to high jack, whats a good mash temp for a German Hefe? No experience brewing one, but think I would like to in the near future

Someone else will have another opinion, but in my opinion.... mash temperatures just really don't matter that much.  Shoot for 151 F for 45 minutes.  If a little higher or lower or longer time, no big deal.
Dave

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Offline 69franx

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2016, 07:49:46 PM »
Thanks Dave, and now back to the OP
Frank L.
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Offline zwiller

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2016, 08:18:49 PM »
Best ingredient for me was distilled water.  My tap water is half decent but my hefes were kinda thicker than commercial examples even with pH the same.   

Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline majorvices

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2016, 08:45:08 PM »
If you want to add something you should do it. Fruit in the secondary has worked really well for ,e for lots of beers, but for a hefeweizen you may want to go more an American Wheat route because the yeast flavors in a traditional hefeweizen may not compliment your additives. That said, I'm sure there are additives out there that would work.

Offline Erik_Mog

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2016, 03:11:48 AM »
I just did a Hefeweizen with blood orange.  I guess it would be classified as a fruit beer with a Hefe base now.  It came out really well.  used WB-06 and fermented at 73F to bring the banana forward a little more, then 7 days secondary with 3# of blood orange puree.  The main flavors of the Hefe are more prominent, with a decent balance of clove and banana, with mild orange in the finish, and some orange in the aroma.  You can definitely tell that the base beer is a Hefeweizen.

This was done as a specialty beer for my brother's band, but I think I am going to brew it on a regular basis.  I also plan to do a Hefe without anything added as well, because as much as I love drinking a good IPA, I love a good old Hefe as well.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: The BEST Hefe Ingredients... Please
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2016, 03:53:59 AM »
If you want to add something you should do it. Fruit in the secondary has worked really well for ,e for lots of beers, but for a hefeweizen you may want to go more an American Wheat route because the yeast flavors in a traditional hefeweizen may not compliment your additives. That said, I'm sure there are additives out there that would work.
I agree completely with this. I have tried fruit additions to a hefeweizen in the past and the flavor was muddy at best. I will say that spices work well as additions to the style, although I like them even better in a dunkelweizen than a pale hefe.
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