Author Topic: Done with hefes  (Read 4722 times)

Offline zwiller

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Done with hefes
« on: September 27, 2016, 03:23:11 PM »
I consider myself a pretty experienced brewer (20 years+) and hefe is one of my favorite styles.  I've tried nearly all the typical things to improve this style and I think I make a pretty good one...  That was until I picked up some Weihenstephaner Hefe this weekend.  It had been a while.  OMG.  I am such an amateur.  I have serious reservations that homebrewers come even come close.  And if you say you do, prepare to ship a bottle to me and I will side by side it.  I remind myself that they have been making beer longer than we have been a country (1040 or maybe even 725) but still...  I think I will just pick some up now and then and not brew it anymore. 
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline yso191

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 04:09:40 PM »
Maybe I need to try a Weihenstephaner hefe, because hefeweizens are perhaps my least favorite style.  Maybe theirs will put a hefe in my 'like' column.
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Online dmtaylor

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 04:31:53 PM »
I feel the same way about my homebrewed marzens, and pretty much any German imports.  I can try to make it myself, but it's never quite as good as the real thing.  Maybe I should just give up trying.  But I don't, and especially don't because some of my friends I know can brew world-class German beers successfully.  So, I keep trying.  Maybe I personally just don't have what it takes.  I can admit defeat, meanwhile hoping that maybe it's only temporary and I'll eventually succeed later.  That said, I've come real close on a Vienna lager, real close.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2016, 04:41:00 PM »
Hefes are tricky because small changes in fermentation temperature can greatly affect the banana/clove balance.

One of the things I think is often missed by both pro and home brewers with hefes in this country is making the proper ph adjustments. German hefes fall in the 4.1-4.4 range which IMO helps make the flavors stand out. I'd venture a guess that most stateside brewers are leaving their beers in the mid-4 range like most ales which can produce a flabby wheat flavor and subdue the yeast character.
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Offline slarkin712

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2016, 04:47:33 PM »
Hefes are tricky because small changes in fermentation temperature can greatly affect the banana/clove balance.

One of the things I think is often missed by both pro and home brewers with hefes in this country is making the proper ph adjustments. German hefes fall in the 4.1-4.4 range which IMO helps make the flavors stand out. I'd venture a guess that most stateside brewers are leaving their beers in the mid-4 range like most ales which can produce a flabby wheat flavor and subdue the yeast character.

I have never adjusted the pH of a finished beer.  Is that what you are suggesting?  Let it ferment completely and then add phosphoric or lactic acid to a target pH below 4.4?

Offline brewinhard

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2016, 04:51:41 PM »
I agree that it is tough to make both a banging hefe and marzen. Tough styles to really nail. Lot of subtle nuances to make a good beer great!

Offline zwiller

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2016, 05:13:20 PM »
Maybe I need to try a Weihenstephaner hefe, because hefeweizens are perhaps my least favorite style.  Maybe theirs will put a hefe in my 'like' column.
Yes, try it before ruling it out.  That said, hefes aren't for everyone. 
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline zwiller

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 05:26:41 PM »
I feel the same way about my homebrewed marzens, and pretty much any German imports.  I can try to make it myself, but it's never quite as good as the real thing.  Maybe I should just give up trying.  But I don't, and especially don't because some of my friends I know can brew world-class German beers successfully.  So, I keep trying.  Maybe I personally just don't have what it takes.  I can admit defeat, meanwhile hoping that maybe it's only temporary and I'll eventually succeed later.  That said, I've come real close on a Vienna lager, real close.

Didn't mean to sound like a quitter...  That was not my intent, it was mainly to point out just how good this beer REALLY is.  I don't judge alot but I've never had homebrewed german styles on the world class level.  That would be encouraging and keep me going.  My NGP really makes me happy.  I think it much better than craft pils and might be approaching world class.
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2016, 05:33:06 PM »
One thing that I saw in the breweries that make Hefeweizen beer is that they open ferment in round fermenters, and there is a trough that lets the braunhefe flow out.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2016, 05:49:37 PM »
I was pretty happy with my last one because I managed to get more clove and very little banana. I did the rest at 111 degrees I believe it was and used the weihenstephan yeast. Not sure how it would stack up against the real thing as hefe is a style I only drink once in a while. That one went awfully fast though.
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Offline zwiller

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2016, 05:57:44 PM »
Hefes are tricky because small changes in fermentation temperature can greatly affect the banana/clove balance.

One of the things I think is often missed by both pro and home brewers with hefes in this country is making the proper ph adjustments. German hefes fall in the 4.1-4.4 range which IMO helps make the flavors stand out. I'd venture a guess that most stateside brewers are leaving their beers in the mid-4 range like most ales which can produce a flabby wheat flavor and subdue the yeast character.

Agreed;  Mine are brewed on low side (5.2) and that helps get it at least in the ballpark of authentic tasting. 
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline zwiller

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2016, 06:03:05 PM »
I agree that it is tough to make both a banging hefe and marzen. Tough styles to really nail. Lot of subtle nuances to make a good beer great!

AGREED;  Almost sounds like an endorsement for LODO for hefe...  Very interesting correlation.  Thank you.   
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2016, 09:49:58 PM »
My first Hefe won an award at my club contest; haven't reproduced that again yet - it must have been made at the right time of the year/ temp in the basement - I recall keeping it at 62F for the first few days with ice bottles in the chill bag in the basement.  Last one I did was a clovey flavored phenol bomb, so I think I went too cold on it....elusive son of a gun to get it just right.
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Offline chumley

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2016, 10:51:34 PM »
I make a hefe as good as anyone I have tasted, and I have tasted them fresh on tap in Vienna.

OG 1.048, 18 IBUs, 5 gallons

6 lbs. wheat malt
3 lbs. pils malt
1 lb. munich malt

All German malts.  4 lbs of German pale ale malt can be substituted for the pils and munich.

Double decoction mash

110°F for 15 min, pull decoction, raise decoction to 155°F for 15 min, bring to boil for 10 min, add back to mash tun to raise to 140°.  Immediately pull another decoction, raise to decoction to 155°F for 15 min, bring to boil for 10 min, add back to mash tun to raise to 155°F.  Rest for 30 min and sparge.

0.75 oz. Tettnanger 60 min
0.25 oz. Tettnanger 15 min (adjust according to your AAUs to get to 18 IBUs)

Boil 90 min.  Pitch with WY3333 (this is very important, no starter needed if yeast is fresh).

Beer is best fermented in a week, chilled, force-carbed, and drank in a week.

Offline beersk

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Re: Done with hefes
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2016, 12:50:06 PM »
I feel the same way about my homebrewed marzens, and pretty much any German imports.  I can try to make it myself, but it's never quite as good as the real thing.  Maybe I should just give up trying.  But I don't, and especially don't because some of my friends I know can brew world-class German beers successfully.  So, I keep trying.  Maybe I personally just don't have what it takes.  I can admit defeat, meanwhile hoping that maybe it's only temporary and I'll eventually succeed later.  That said, I've come real close on a Vienna lager, real close.
I don't know if you've heard, but there is supposedly a way you CAN make them like the real thing... just sayin', give it a try.

Same for you, Sam. I think the missing link has been revealed, just a matter of making that leap...

I've made some good hefes, they're close to my favorite German ones, but they still miss that rich, fresh lingering malt character that all the best German beers have. Close, but not quite... don't give up, man. That's what's fun about brewing, is that quest for perfection.

EDIT: oops, I see someone's already brought IT up ;)
Oh and Jeff brought it up: skimming/top cropping the yeast has made a difference for me, I think.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 12:53:17 PM by beersk »
die Schönheit der bier...

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