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John E Miller

Wheat Beer Failure

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Hi all, 

I haven't been brewing for long, but I think I've already got my first dud batch.

I bought a can of Preacher's Hefe Wheat discounted from my LHBS (expired 6 months ago) but I bought fresh Mangrove Jack's bavarian wheat yeast so I don't imagine this was a problem.

I took my usual measures for sanitising, but maybe made a mistake I guess...

What I think is more of a problem though is that the local temperatures soared and the thermometer was reading 28 or 30. I wasn't too concerned at the time because I'd read that wheat likes warmer temps, but since found this was way out of that range. I also assumed that as long as the yeast was fermenting there was no problem. 

Anyway, the fermenting pretty much stopped after a few days, with a gravity of 1016 (I just used 1kg of dry wheat malt), and the smell is super yeasty and tastes super yeasty. Not nice.

Is there just an over production of esters or is there a bacterial infection? I don't know if I'm just too attached to the batch, but after a taste I didn't think it was utterly undrinkable, but I can't say it was nice. Will the yeastiness subside after time in the bottle?

I would love to know what I did wrong if anyone can help.

Thank you

Edited by John E Miller

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You will get a tonne of esters at that temp. That is most likely the problem.

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What the last bloke said above.....and also what he said above that.  ?

Anyone can make beer. Making good quality beer takes some effort on the brewers' behalf.

Have a look into the various methods you can use to control your ferment temperature. Being able to control this area of your brewing alone will improve the quality of your beers measurably.

PB2's BEER TRIANGLE: Thorough Sanitation + Fresh Ingredients + Appropriate Ferment Temp = QUALITY BEER

Cheers,

Lusty.

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It could beer. Wheat beer yeast have a propensity to throw banana esters at higher temps.

I once fermented one at 24 degrees. The banana profile was over the top and I struggled to drink it.

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Relax, have a beer.. 

Esters are desirable for a wheat beer with intended flavors of cloves and banana. 

Try to bring the Temps down and let fermentation run for 10-14 days to allow the yeast time to clean up and settle out before tasting. 

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Yeah, four days is pretty early although at those temperatures it may have finished. 1.016 seems high for a kit and kilo of malt though.

It is true that those sorts of flavors, banana/clove/whatever else, are a characteristic of wheat beers. It's also the reason I can't stand them. ?

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The yeast you used has a specified range of 18 - 30ºC so it seems you're fermentation was within this.   "Banana" is a characteristic of this yeast and a desired "off-flavour" of the style.  

I'd give it time... you may be surprised how much it changes, mellows and matures.

Edited by BlackSands

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6 hours ago, BlackSands said:

..."Banana" is a characteristic of this yeast and a desired "off-flavour" of the style. 

The banana ester (particularly in wheat beers) is NOT an "off-flavour". A good wheat beer would come across quite "hollow" or "lifeless" without a good banana or clove character.

Although slightly different than the banana ester of a wheat yeast strain, the Coopers commercial Pale Ale has a slight banana ester to it from their yeast strain. Given the giga-litres produced & consumed of this beer annually, I don't think those that drink it regularly (of which I'm one) would consider it an "off" characteristic of the beer, more of a clever enhancement (IMHO).

I would agree that the banana ester isn't to everyone's like, but then again, neither is Donald Trump. I rest my case. ?

Cheers & good brewing,

Lusty.

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9 hours ago, Beerlust said:

The banana ester (particularly in wheat beers) is NOT an "off-flavour". A good wheat beer would come across quite "hollow" or "lifeless" without a good banana or clove character.

Although slightly different than the banana ester of a wheat yeast strain, the Coopers commercial Pale Ale has a slight banana ester to it from their yeast strain. Given the giga-litres produced & consumed of this beer annually, I don't think those that drink it regularly (of which I'm one) would consider it an "off" characteristic of the beer, more of a clever enhancement (IMHO).

I would agree that the banana ester isn't to everyone's like, but then again, neither is Donald Trump. I rest my case. ?

Cheers & good brewing,

Lusty.

I agree it is not an off-flavour.  Quotation marks as I have used them on the phrase "off-flavour" can also highlight that a word or phrase is being used somehow peculiarly – often indicating irony, inaccuracy, or scepticism.  

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8 hours ago, BlackSands said:

I agree it is not an off-flavour.  Quotation marks as I have used them on the phrase "off-flavour" can also highlight that a word or phrase is being used somehow peculiarly – often indicating irony, inaccuracy, or scepticism.  

No offence meant mate. The sentence reads differently though.

The reason I made mention of it is every time this ester is spoken about lately, it is spoken about in a negative way whereas in fact the ester is a wanted thing in some cases, not an "off flavour" that makes it sound like some sort of mistake or something that wouldn't be nice to drink.

When understood well, it can be a welcoming part of beer flavour/aroma across numerous styles of beer. It is not something that should be shunned or spoken of negatively in all circumstances.

Just my 2 cents,

Lusty.

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Well that depends on personal taste as well. Obviously it is a desired thing in some beers and beer styles, but I'm sure I'm not the only person in the world who doesn't like it in any beer.

As such I don't drink beers or styles that exhibit this particular ester, and I don't want it in any beers I brew either. If it did appear in one of my brews I would most definitely consider it a fault. 

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5 minutes ago, The Captain1525230099 said:

Weeds are only unwanted plants. Some plants are plants, until their unwanted. 

That’s deep, Captain.

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Some people pay large sums of money to drink beer full of these Esters from oversized glasses in some of the trendy establishments around town. 

 

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Thanks for your input everyone. Just to fill you in I have bottled it and am very keen to see how it turns out in a few weeks. 

Another question though... do banana esters really taste and smell like banana, or is that just the closest one could get to describing it?

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like bananas, actual bananas.

when i did school chemistry one of the chemicals we made was banana flavour.... 

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How did it taste when bottling? 

Curious to know. 

I did "the hoff" from the site and just had my first bottle. Smells like bananas but tastes super refreshing and tart. Pretty happy with it

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35 minutes ago, John E Miller said:

When bottling it tasted tart, yeasty, kinda metallic

A couple of things regarding your initial posts;

You said fermentation ceeased after 4 days; not unusual for higher temps. You said 30c but not whether that was  the wort temperature which I'd assume lower if ambient 'soared'.

You said it ceased at 1.016 but did not tell us the OG, which if also overly high for the recipe, might indicate hydrometer inaccuracy.

I have found HEFE Wheat to have a very tart taste if tasted early, the tartness reduces a lot with bottle age, and it should have hints of banana and clove.

I enjoyed mine once I accepted it for what it was, and still like adding a little wheat grain to my brews to zing up the taste a little.

Cheers

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Good to know. I think my hydrometer is faulty, but not sure why as it's pretty well brand new and not treated harshly. I checked it in water and it reads about 4 points of if I recall correctly. 

The OG for the Hefe was 1040 according to my hydrometer - that was 1kg of wheat malt and the can mixed up to 20L.

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1 hour ago, John E Miller said:

Good to know. I think my hydrometer is faulty, but not sure why as it's pretty well brand new and not treated harshly. I checked it in water and it reads about 4 points of if I recall correctly. 

The OG for the Hefe was 1040 according to my hydrometer - that was 1kg of wheat malt and the can mixed up to 20L.

Just looked at my notes for my one-and-only HEFE Wheat, made to specification and 23L; and fermented at 21c.

  • OG: 1.040
  • FG-1: after 5 days 1.014.  I got worried that it had stalled and pitched a sachet of WB06 into it, which was probably a waste of time because the alcohol already produced probably killed it. The beer was very tart to taste.
  • FG-2: after 7 days 1.009
  • FG-3: after 8 days 1.007
  • FG-4: after 10 days 1.007
  • Cold crashed for 1 week at 1c and bottled.  Taste tart, banana and clove. 

After 2 weeks bottled, still very tart. After 6 weeks bottled, not a bad brew as tartness had reduced a lot. I drank the whole batch which I could say was tartly refreshing.

I find very slight tartness in my Pale Ales when I add 300g of wheat grain to a 4.2kg mash, using US-05 yeast; a refreshing taste I like.

Cheers.

Edited by Worthog

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I used to get a bit of tartness from the 1272 yeast without any wheat malt in the grist, but I didn't really like it much so I went back to 1056/US-05 instead. Maybe it was a bit more than very slight though 😜

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