Author Topic: Weissbier tastes thin  (Read 962 times)

Offline SteveWGB

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Weissbier tastes thin
« on: August 24, 2021, 03:50:00 pm »
Hi everyone,
I hope you are all doing well.
I brewed my first weissbier recently, and I want to improve it. I compared it to a commercial brand and mine tasted like it was watered down. I was wondering what I could do next time to improve on this.

7 lbs German wheat malt
1.5 lbs Floor malted Bohemian pilsner malt
1.5 lbs German light Munich malt
.5 lb rice hulls
Double decoction mash schedule with mash in at 131, rests at 145 and 162
.25 ounces each of Perle and Tettnang hops, first wort hop
WYEAST 3068 pitched at 62, fermented at 64 from 7/17/21 to 7/29/21, then lowered the temp to 41 over the next 2 days, getting there on 8/1/21
1.050 OG
1.008 FG
Open fermented in an ale bucket
Transfered to keg on 8/5/21 and it sat in my fridge from 8/5/21 to 8/19/21 at 41 degrees
Forced carbed with Blichmann Quickcarb to 3.5 units of CO2, and then back to the fridge to rest
Tasted on 8/23

Any thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome. Thank you in advance for helping me!

Steve

Offline Richard

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2021, 04:05:01 pm »
I haven't brewed a weissbier myself, but I have looked at some recipes. It looks to me like your ratio of wheat to barley malt is pretty high.
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Offline majorvices

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2021, 04:33:43 pm »
I agree with Richard on this. Everything else looks spot on at first glance. Wheat malt itself doesn't have a lot of flavor. It might be better if you replaced some of the wheat with a good pilsner malt. To keep within the guidelines you want 50% wheat at least. Your percentage of wheat malt is very heavy.

That said, if you don't have the phenolics and esters you are looking for you may need to adjust your fermentation.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2021, 07:37:24 pm »
I agree, I'd aim for closer to 50/50 mix of wheat and barley.  Based on the following link, the clove will be diminished with more wheat, and the banana accentuated.  Personally I prefer clove over banana, but select the proportion based on whatever you like, and if not sure, then don't overdo the wheat.

I'd also get rid of the 131 F rest, and consider just a single infusion at around 153 F.  Regardless of temperature, the longer the TOTAL mash TIME, the thinner the beer will turn out.  You might find that you prefer a brief single infusion of just 45-60 minutes (which is what I do).  The mash does NOT need to be complicated or decocted to make excellent beer.  Along with this...

Weissbier is a simple style.  Keep it simple / don't make it complicated.  Sometimes less is more.  All you need is 50/50 wheat and barley, a smidge of bittering hops, good yeast (3068 is a good one!), and you're good to go.  Don't overthink it.

Also, this style is best when very young.  Yours is well over a month old, and has been kegged for 2 weeks already.  You could have been drinking it over a week ago when it was SUPER FRESH.  It's already weakening with age.  The clove and banana will just continue to weaken over time.

https://braumagazin.de/article/brewing-bavarian-weissbier-all-you-ever-wanted-to-know/

So there's a few ideas.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 07:39:49 pm by dmtaylor »
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Offline MDL

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2021, 07:25:14 am »
All good points here. May I suggest trying 5% carahell in your next batch. It really improved my weissbier hell recipe.

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2021, 09:38:04 am »
All good points here. May I suggest trying 5% carahell in your next batch. It really improved my weissbier hell recipe.


yes, this. imho on a homebrew scale its pretty hard to "recreate" your favourite commercial weissebeer using their grist, mashing techniques etc. these weissbeer specialty brewers have spent untold hours over hundreds of years thinking mostly about making these weissbeers and have dedicated brtewing technology just for it. it is a real challenge to attempt to copy that expertise.

 i used to use decoctions and different mashes, but i stick to the basic infusion mash now for ease and ensuring that i dont mess it up. ive had awful head retention and bad efficiency when i tried to do a certain seemingly simple hochkurz mash once.

it is probably best to do it in classic homebrew style, as in sufficient crystal to reach desired body and sweetness and infusion mash.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2021, 09:40:41 am by fredthecat »

Offline majorvices

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2021, 09:43:50 am »
I missed the protein rest at 131 ... from Palmer: Fully-modified malts have already made use of these enzymes and do not benefit from more time spent in the protein rest regime. In fact, using a protein rest on fully modified malts tends to remove most of the body of a beer, leaving it thin and watery. Most base malt in use in the world today is fully modified. Less modified malts are often available from German maltsters. Brewers have reported fuller, maltier flavors from malts that are less modified and make use of this rest.

So I'd say that may be your biggest culprit.

I do enjoy doing a decoction rest on small batches (5L) because it is so easy and I personally think there is a certain little extra you get out of doing one. But anything larger than 5L I usually avoid doing one because of the extra work.

Offline neuse

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2021, 01:59:47 pm »
Maybe the crush. Did you tighten up the mill or double crush the wheat malt?

Offline fredthecat

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2021, 04:03:21 pm »
I missed the protein rest at 131 ... from Palmer: Fully-modified malts have already made use of these enzymes and do not benefit from more time spent in the protein rest regime. In fact, using a protein rest on fully modified malts tends to remove most of the body of a beer, leaving it thin and watery. Most base malt in use in the world today is fully modified. Less modified malts are often available from German maltsters. Brewers have reported fuller, maltier flavors from malts that are less modified and make use of this rest.

So I'd say that may be your biggest culprit.

I do enjoy doing a decoction rest on small batches (5L) because it is so easy and I personally think there is a certain little extra you get out of doing one. But anything larger than 5L I usually avoid doing one because of the extra work.

thats likely it, thats what i forgot to add specifically, but implied when i mentioned more complicated mashes. single infusions are the way to go 99% of the time because the homebrew malts are mostly designed for that

Offline denny

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2021, 08:09:27 am »
I missed the protein rest at 131 ... from Palmer: Fully-modified malts have already made use of these enzymes and do not benefit from more time spent in the protein rest regime. In fact, using a protein rest on fully modified malts tends to remove most of the body of a beer, leaving it thin and watery. Most base malt in use in the world today is fully modified. Less modified malts are often available from German maltsters. Brewers have reported fuller, maltier flavors from malts that are less modified and make use of this rest.

So I'd say that may be your biggest culprit.

I do enjoy doing a decoction rest on small batches (5L) because it is so easy and I personally think there is a certain little extra you get out of doing one. But anything larger than 5L I usually avoid doing one because of the extra work.

thats likely it, thats what i forgot to add specifically, but implied when i mentioned more complicated mashes. single infusions are the way to go 99% of the time because the homebrew malts are mostly designed for that

There really aren't "homebrew malts".  Malt is made for commercial breweries and we use the same stuff.  Its their need for low costs that drives the modification.
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Offline SteveWGB

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2021, 02:22:26 pm »
Hi all,

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my question, and to offer your advice to improve this beer.

It seems that I should try lowering my wheat by up to 20% and replace it with the pilsner malt. Also, that I should forgo the decoction and use the single infusion mash at 153 or so. I was attempting to accentuate the banana aspect of this beer, so I will adjust the fermentation temperature by pitching at 64 and letting it free rise to 68 keeping it there until 1.010 to compensate for the decrease in wheat.

Any thoughts on this plan of action would be most welcome.

And thank you again for all the help!

Steve

Offline RC

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2021, 05:58:34 pm »
Something I have come to realize about the "classic" German hef strains is that they are very strong attenuators. And so it's important to design the recipe to build in a lot of body. I'm not convinced the protein rest killed the body in your case, but yeah it probably didn't help.

Yes, the style is best when young, but that's only because all the "stuff" that gives it body settles over time. Freshness is important for any beer, but the reason "freshness" is pushed for hefeweizens is because all that haze/body settles--not because the flavor gets damaged by time more so than any other beer, but because the settling takes away useful "stuff" for this style.

You want to keep that stuff in suspension. It adds some body. Where I used to work--and here is a trade secret for you--we vigorously shook the hefeweizen keg before opening, and also the hazy IPAs, to make the pours hazy and thick. Had to do this every day, otherwise the pours would be clearer and thinner than we wanted. Can't fight gravity.

As a homebrew cheat, for your next batch, add some DME to it. DME always thickens up a beer. I do this all the time. I don't care about making a beer authentically according to historical processes, I only care about the end product. And if I have to "cheat" to get there, no problem!

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2021, 07:09:20 am »
When you say it tastes thin do you mean it has a thin body or it has little flavor?

If flavor is the issue the wheat is probably the culprit. Barley has a more intense flavor than wheat which is why we use barley a lot for beer and wheat a lot for bread. At 70% wheat malt you're also at the upper end for yeast flavor development in a not great way. More barley tends to accentuate clove flavor while more wheat tends to accentuate banana esters but too much wheat will mute the banana esters so you aren't getting a lot of either desired yeast flavor. So mild grain flavor plus mild yeast flavor plus little or no hop flavor equals a wonder bread inspired beer.

If body is an issue then your mash schedule is most likely the culprit. Most recipes for hefeweizen encourage complex mash schedules including protein rests but the more modified modern grain the less benefit you get from a protein rest. With a high degree of wheat a short protein rest might be appropriate if needed if there is too much protein in the beer. A lot of recipes and software default to thirty minutes to an hour which is way too long for modern malts. Those are built off of commercial schedules, and usually older recipes involving less modified malts, which do not translate perfectly. I'd cut that out entirely and if you feel the beer is too heavy then employ a short protein rest.
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Offline Oiscout

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2021, 04:35:47 pm »
Hi all,

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my question, and to offer your advice to improve this beer.

It seems that I should try lowering my wheat by up to 20% and replace it with the pilsner malt. Also, that I should forgo the decoction and use the single infusion mash at 153 or so. I was attempting to accentuate the banana aspect of this beer, so I will adjust the fermentation temperature by pitching at 64 and letting it free rise to 68 keeping it there until 1.010 to compensate for the decrease in wheat.

Any thoughts on this plan of action would be most welcome.

And thank you again for all the help!

Steve
I add 1/2 pound of melanoidin malt (spelling?) to my hefes and find that it adds some complexity in comparison to the same recipe without it.


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Offline SteveWGB

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Re: Weissbier tastes thin
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2021, 07:28:36 pm »
Good evening all!

So I tasted my 2nd attempt at this Weissbier this evening and thought I would share...

5.5 lbs wheat, 3.5 lbs pils, 1 lb Munich .5 lbs rice hulls
.25 oz each Perle and Tettnang FWH
Yeast 3068, no starter, but "smacked" a day before pitching
Yellow Full water profile from Bru'n Water built up from distilled Poland Spring, all minerals added to the mash, none in sparge, and hit those numbers exactly
OG 1.042
FG 1.011

My mash temp was 157, though I was shooting for 152, human error... mashed for 1 hour
The first runnings tasted like liquid corn on the cob, so I decided to boil for 90 minutes instead of 70 like last time
Pitched the yeast at 66 degrees on 9/11/21, fermented at 68 for 3 days, then bumped the temp to 72 to finish, cold crashed to 40 degrees on 9/18/21 and let sit on the yeast until today when I forced carbonated to 3.2 volumes of CO2

The body and mouthfeel on this batch is an improvement!

I noticed a few differences during fermentation. This time, there was no strong banana smell like before, and I think that might have to do with the fact that last time I "smacked" the yeast right before I pitched. This time, I smacked and then let it sit in the fermentation chamber as the wort came down from 80 to 66 degrees. There was more sulfur and funk this time than last time in the aroma of the fermentation, but it all cleaned up at the end. I think this yeast didn't struggle as much as last time, and the struggle would have perhaps given more banana scent and flavor, which I am shooting for. The last batch also had an OG of 1.050, perhaps that was helping the banana? I should also note that even though the literature says banana comes from warmer fermentation temps, I fermented cooler last time and the banana smell was evident. Maybe not too much in the taste, but my kitchen smelled like banana pudding for days.

Anyway, the taste was very balanced between the clove and banana, with no side taking center stage. There is a slight hint of tartness, it is pleasant. I still am missing the banana that I am looking for, not a banana beer, mind you, but I would like to accentuate that characteristic of this yeast.

As always, you thoughts, comments, and any advice would be most welcome.

Cheers!