Hefeweizen - slight off flavor...again.

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by vthokiedsp, Jan 29, 2019.

  1. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    Morning folks. I brewed a hefezweizen in January of last year (bottled). Overall, it turned out ok but there was a little bit of an off-flavor and aroma. I'm really bad at associating a title to a taste but can pick up on a lot of tastes. it was a little plasticy but could also have been a little leathery. when i'd pour it in a glass, i'd pick up on the aroma and taste quite noticeably at first. if i let it sit for 5-10 minutes, it was either very diminished or gone completely. it was never bad enough to consider the beer bad or make it unenjoyable. it was very enjoyable actually, despite the "flaw". i used two packs of WLP 300 for 7 gallons and started fermentation at mid 60s and ramped up to 70 after 4 days. treated water with potassium metabisulfite. i've never had any infection issues. 62% wheat, 34% pilsner. only a 60 min boil.

    fast forward to this year. i just brewed another hefeweizen and in an effort to avoid that similar taste/aroma, i extended the boil to 90 mins since the i read that pilsner can be a pain for DMS. like i said, i'm terrible at associating a title to the taste so i went cautiously and extended the boil. we bottled last night and guess what...the flavor is there again. although, much much more subtle. wife picked up on it too. this batch i made a starter from an old packet of Stephon (imperial yeast) and a packet of wlp300. based on yeast calcs, i overpitched. again, by design in the hope that maybe i had a yeast issue last year (even though i had a good quantity of yeast). same ratios of wheat/pilsner. same fermentation schedule. same mash. same sparge. no ferulic rest either time.

    a side note of uncertain value. last summer i brewed a saison and despite everything going per recipe, there was a fairly strong bandaid/vinyl aroma and taste. last night, the wife said that the aroma/taste with the hefe is different and not bandaid. also much more subtle.

    Any thoughts on this? are we just sensitive to the phenol compounds associated with the saison and hefe strains that can be higher in phenols? i'm assuming it's not an infection since i've had zero infections and the likelihood of two random infections with the same beer type (and the saison) would be very very low. i use starsan.
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I think it's just a variation of the phenols and esters naturally produced by the yeast. It's very likely that there's a little sulfur throwing your taste buds off. If you keg, run some CO2 through the dip tube and purge it. If you bottle, try pouring and leaving it sit to settle and gas. If yoiu're getting it more in the aroma and it's not lingering in the flavor, I don't suspect an infection.
     
  3. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    just to clarify, this would be prior to sealing the keg or could i seal the keg and just pull the vent as needed (once a day?). any duration in mind? a week while carbonating maybe?

    i'm having a springtoberfest party with a sh*t ton of german beer so i do plan to make another batch that will be going on keg.
     
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  4. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    When I do a lager or other beer that throws some sulfur, I'll usually carb it by running CO2 through the diptube at high pressure initially, venting a couple of times. Then as the carb level settles over a few days, I'll vent it once or twice a day to let it gas off. For the initial one, open the vent for a few seconds but not for long because it'll start foaming out the vent. After it's at proper pressure, just purge it completly (just a short burst) and then re-pressurize it. You'll know the first time you purge it whether you have sulfur. And it's obvious when it goes away. :)
     
  5. Medarius

    Medarius Active Member

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    I've only made hefe's since starting to brew, and the only time I had something similar to what you are saying is when I over pitched. In my experience, (claiming no expertise) my hefeweizens have turned out much better and more consistent by
    under-pitching.

    Scroll down a bit in this article and it has a few paragraphs on yeast types and their differences.
    Brewing Bavarian Weissbier — all you ever wanted to know |
     
  6. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    much appreciated.
     
  7. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    great article. thanks for the link. i might try underpitching slightly on my next batch and see what happens. possibly ferment a few degrees warmer over the first couple days.
     
  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing chlorine or chloramine in the water. Chlorophenols produce the flavors you describe and it doesn't take much of them to do so. Are you using tap water?
     
  9. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    #9 vthokiedsp, Jan 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
    yes, public water. water report indicates chlorine, not chloramine. as i mentioned, i dose with potassium metabisulfite and also pull my water the night before. shouldn't be residual disinfectants, regardless of type. no issues with any of my other beers. the thought of the local authority changing their dosing during winter months did cross my mind, however but i went back and looked at my log of beers that i've brewed this time of year and no issues. just the hefe (both in january) and saison (summer).
     
  10. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Fermentation temperature? If you let it get warm, "clovey" phenols would start to dominate the taste.
     
  11. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    #11 vthokiedsp, Jan 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2019
    I started at 64 and stayed there for 4 days and then ramped up slowly to 70. Took a few days. I thought I read that low temp at the beginning promotes phenols and then the warmer finish can encourage the esters (banana).

    I'd like to change one variable so I can track a change more easily. After reading the article above again...I might change yeast to a pro banana strain and possibly go with an open fermentation.
     
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  12. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

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    My city report doesn't mention chloramine either until you dig deeper. A half campden tablet is easy insurance though and a simple thing to try on the next batch.
     
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  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    That's upside down...low temps for phenols, higher temps for esters.
    I think much higher temps will promote the banana esters in most yeasts... Higher than 70 degrees and earlier in the fermentation. Try pitching at 68 and holding the air temp there. Wort temp should go to 72 naturally and give you plenty of fruit.
     
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  14. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    as i mentioned above...twice actually :)...i dose with potassium metabisulfite (1/4 tsp per 5 gal) every batch. and i pull the water the night before. i'd be very surprised if it's disinfection residuals. no issues with my other beers either.
     
  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    You're right. Age and haste, my friend. Higher temps = banana. Much higher temps = bubblegum. Lower temps = clove. Last night we were doing some off flavor testing on Coors Light, a course we subtitled how to make Rocky Mountain Spring Water Drinkable, and discovered that if you doctor Coors Light with some clove tincture, it actually comes off as a decent hefeweizen, the joke being, it would have medaled at our last homebrew comp as a hefeweizen.

    Just thought I'd throw that in....

    And the meta should be eliminating both chlorine and chloramine. Without tasting the beer, mostly we're like those guys on NPR (RIP, Tom), trying to guess what's wrong with the cars from peoples' descriptions. We can put guesses out there but without tasting the beer, unless you're really good at describing the flavors, the best we can do is guess.
     
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  16. Medarius

    Medarius Active Member

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    You are correct. If you want banana I have found a grist bill of 65%+ wheat and starting fermentation at around 63F(17C) and holding for 3-4 days before raising 1-2 degrees F per day for 3 days ending up at 69-70F (21C) will give the the best results. If you get above 70F you're likely end up with more bubblegum than banana.
    If you do an open ferment , which I do, then maybe look into skimming the yeast 24 and 48 hours after fermentation starts. I skim mine 3 times , 1st and 3rd skims are tossed away but 2nd can be saved(harvested) for future use.
     
  17. Medarius

    Medarius Active Member

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    Taken from braumagazin
    Brewing considerations for the enhancement of banana flavors

    Open non-pressurized fermentation in combination with a suitable yeast like the classic W68 can already produce a sufficiently strong banana flavor. High OG or High-Gravity wort can promote the banana flavor further. Higher mash in temperature reduces the clove flavor significantly and additionally promotes the banana flavor.

    The combined effect of fermentation temperature, aeration and pitch rate adjustments are more difficult to predict. While higher fermentation temperatures increase the amount of produced esters they also increase fusel alcohols and other by-products. Therefore, the sensory outcome is not always positive. It is best to start the fermentation at 17-18°C and let it rise freely during the fermentation. Some isoamyl acetate is lost to the air during the primary fermentation. Temperatures above 21°C increase the amount of isoamyl acetate during the secondary fermentation.
     
  18. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I think that's going to depend on the particular yeast. Some strains will like different specific temperature bands. But quite good as a general approach.
     
  19. vthokiedsp

    vthokiedsp Member

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    I brewed a second batch over the weekend. Same recipe but changed to Wyeast 3068, increased my mash duration to 90 mins and kept the 90 min boil. Also, went with an open fermentation (loose foil tent over the main opening of the spiedel).

    My question about open, when should I screw the lid on with airlock? 3-4 days, if at all? I don't plan to rack to a secondary before kegging. I'm currently in day 3 after pitching. Still had a nice krausen but activity has all but stopped.

    Thanks
     
  20. Medarius

    Medarius Active Member

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    I put the lid/airlock on mine after skimming yeast on day 3 , for sanitation reasons since I don't need to get into it again until I rack to bottling bucket. And also, I move my fermenter to a more open space for last 3-4 days to let temp rise , but if you're keeping yours in same clean area, some people never do put a lid on tightly for the duration.
     

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