on the bottling of my Hefewheaton

I bottled Wheaton's Own HefeWheaton yesterday. Here are some notes I made:

  • Lost about a gallon to trub. Not sure how that happened. I haven’t lost that much in a long time.
  • Much more pale than I wanted. I was going for 10 SRM, but it’s closer to 5 SRM.
  • Too early to know, but I don’t get any clove in the beer. There’s a faint hint of banana if I look for it. 
  • Looks like it’s about 5.1% ABV. 
  • This is going to be drinkable, for sure, but I’m not sure it’s going to be what I was hoping for.
  • I think I may have collected 1 gallon too much from the mash tun, which is why the SRM is lower than I wanted. 
  • I’m sure the lack of clove flavour is from the fermentation temperature. I understand that WLP300 gives clove close to 70, and I struggled to keep fermentation below 80.
  • I’m a little hard on myself, I know, because I was comparing my just-into-the-bottle brew with Mission’s Bavarian Hefeweitzen.

It should be ready just about the beginning of next month. I'm interested to see what flavours emerge after it's bottle conditioned for awhile.

Up next, another Arrogant Bastard clone. After that, I'm going to focus on brewing the same pale ale (probably Stone Pale Ale, from Greg's book) for a few batches in a row, in an effort to make the exact same beer; I understand this is sort of the holy grail of homebrewing.

26 thoughts on “on the bottling of my Hefewheaton”

  1. Don’t forget, more flavor comes out with aging. I made Scottish Ale and before bottling it tastes a bit like donkey spit. But after it’s aged for a bit it is ZOMGmazing.

  2. I think the sign of a real brewer is someone that can reliably produce the same flavour time after time.
    Though real ale (live beer, served from the barrel rather than bottled) evolves in the barrel, so it never really quite tastes the same. But bottled beer should be reliable.

  3. Lighter / wheat beers are a LOT harder to make than a solid ale. Any flavour variances stick out like a sore thumb. I see you got some “banana” scents. That sometimes points to some sterilization issues…

  4. What was your initial Gravity? How did it compare to the recipe? Did you have to sparage longer to try and hit the right final gravity? Using my refractometer is how I measure my extraction, so when the efficiency of the sparage drops off, at that point you just adding off flavors. It is better to fall a little short on the IG than to keep sparaging.
    Banana notes are typical for that beer. Also keep in mind that the simpler the beer appears to be the harder it is to get perfect.
    BJCP Certified.

  5. Typically the banana flavor will come from high fermentation temps. Because of that I’ve made some “banana bombs” when all I wanted was an IPA. Eighty is way up there for fermentation temperature so, if you’re looking to get that lowered, maybe a water bath for the fermenter would help.
    ETA: if you’re looking for more clover to go with the banana, that is…

  6. Hey, Wil. My husband and I are brewing for the first time, and we started with a Hefeweizen. It’s still in the fermenting stage, but we’re really excited about it. :) I can understand about struggling to keep the fermentation temp down. We live in Tucson, so we have to keep it in a freezer or ice bath to hit 70.
    Thanks for the updates!

  7. If you want to control fermentation temps a bit more and don’t want to put a lot of money into it, this is what I use: http://home.roadrunner.com/~brewbeer/chiller/chiller.PDF
    It is easy to build and very easy to keep temps at what you need it to. I find that using the jugs that I used to get when I still did extract brewing make EXCELLENT ice jugs for this design. It is fairly compact and easy to use. I am not saying it will let you brew lagers in the summer, but it will get you to 55-65 degrees fairly consistently.

  8. Wil,
    My first homebrew ever was a Hefeweizen (Northern Brewer’s Bavarian Hefe kit; I live 6 blocks from their St. Paul store). I had the opposite experience from you; I brewed mine in January, and had trouble keeping the temp up in the range. I couldn’t taste the banana when I first tried mine (1 week after bottling). However, after 2 to three weeks in the bottle, it evened out, and I got just enough clove and banana.
    Thanks for inspiring me to try out homebrewing (I’m an addict now – all your fault!), and I can’t wait to hear your next opinion of your Hefe. I’ll be sampling my NB Innkeeper at that point, with any luck.

  9. Ok, I already tried to post, but I’ve waited a while and my post hasn’t shown up. I hope I’m not going to look like a double-posting idiot.
    Wil, I can’t remember if you’ve said whether you’re doing all-grain or extract… but a lower temp mash rest is often used to increase the clove flavor. Googling “ferulic acid rest” will give you some useful info.
    There’s some debate over how much it helps, but I think I noticed a difference after I started doing it.

  10. Repeating your work is defiantly harder than it sounds.
    I was once reading a discussion in which some people were bad mouthing mass produced beer (Budweiser in particular, but it applies to many things). Some people had taken to insulting the brewers skill in producing such boring beer, someone made the remark that you shouldn’t insult their brewing skill until you can brew a million bottles all identical.

  11. Curiously, I’m also trying something from Greg’s book this weekend – attempting to clone Levitation Ale, only my LHBS doesn’t stock White Labs yeast so i’m using Wyeast 1335 instead. We’ll see how it turns out….

  12. Wil – I have been working on a hefe using citra hops. When it works they impart a very nice orange/citrus flavor but the fermenting time/temp is a bit tricky to get just right.
    I never had any luck getting the clove flavor so I decided to go in a different direction.

  13. To get a consistent result, you must have fermentation temperature control. Ice buckets and such are too inconsistent in result. Easiest method is buy a used frig and plug it into a Johnson digital controller, which is available at Northernbrewer.com. Then tape the temperature probe to the side of the carboy and cover it with taped-on styrofoam, so you’re getting the beer temp, not the fridge temp. With this method you can keep the temp constant during the entire period of fermentation. Then adjust upwards near end for diacetyl rest for a few days, then cold crash to drop out yeast and condition the beer (once fermentation is totally finished of course). See pics at http://huningtonsachsbrauerei.blogspot.com/2009/01/dsseldorf-domination.html for how it looks

  14. Im not sure if you have had a chance to try the annual Stone Vertical beers or not. If so the absolute best beer (in my opinion) they did was the 030303 Vertical. This is a Belgian that had kafir lime leaf in it. I created a really close clone of it if you are interested. mmmm kafir lime beer!!!

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