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Jabo

First Try at Bavarian Weissbier - Notes

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I'm new to this, and my first 2 batches have been not so good, and downright bad. The first batch I brewed was the Oktoberfest. It came out tolerable and drinkable, but not good. It starts okay but finishes weak, like water, with a strong acetaldehyde component. The second batch was the American Light. After fermenting it 3 weeks, I opened the lid off the LBK and poured it down the drain about 5 minutes later. The acetaldehyde was so strong that sniffing the LBK was like sniffing apple cider vinegar. I did taste it, hoping that maybe bottle conditioning would take some of the cider flavor out of it, but it did not taste good enough that I would drink it, even with a reduction in acetaldehyde. In hindsight, when brewing these, I did not understand the importance of wort temperature when pitching, I let the temperatures during high krausen get too high, and I did not aerate the wort nearly enough before pitching.

 

Between those brews and now I've read Palmer's How to Brew and spent some time on these forums, so I hope the Weissbier turns out to be my first good brew. I also bought an infrared thermometer so that I could measure wort temperature without having to sanitize a thermometer, and I can take an instant temperature on the outside of the LBK during high krausen in order to keep the wort from getting too hot. With all that in mind, here are my notes from the Weissbier deluxe refill.

 

Notes:

 

Used almost frozen distilled water. After pouring in the wort and the cold water, wort temperature in the LBK was 59 degrees.

Used a whisk to aerate the wort in the LBK. I aerated for about 5 minutes. The wort foamed up, which it has never done before.

I pitched the dry yeast, and immediately took a temp reading. The dry yeast in the LBK was 70 degrees. I screwed the lid on.

At 6:00 pm, about 10 minutes after pitching, the temp reading on the outside of the LBK was 59 degrees.

At 7:00 pm, at the time of writing this, the temp on the outside of the LBK was 62 degrees. I'm taking the reading in the middle of the LBK. If I take a reading at the bottom of the LBK or right at the top of the wort, the temperature differential is as much as 5 degrees.

 

I've got a frozen gallon jug and a cooler ready. The LBK will go in the cooler, and I'm hoping to regulate the temperature with the frozen gallon. I'll update the post with more temp readings later.

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Kind of all makes sense. If you fermented too hot, it would be more apparent in the lighter beer since theres not a strong malt flavor to cover the flaw. Controlling temps should help this immensely.

 

my only worry is that maybe you developed an infection at some point and after three weeks of the american light in there you made a nice batch of beer vinegar. 

 

Discussed here many a time but aeration when doing partial boils is not necessary. Its just another chance to introduce bacteria in your beer. When you top off with water youre splashing the water around enough to get plenty of O2 in there. 

 

Controling temps and sanitation. Master these and youll do just fine. 

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10 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

Discussed here many a time but aeration when doing partial boils is not necessary. Its just another chance to introduce bacteria in your beer. When you top off with water youre splashing the water around enough to get plenty of O2 in there.

Interesting. I did not consider that partial boils would not boil out the O2. Thanks! I did thoroughly sanitize the whisk, so hopefully I didn't introduce anything.

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24 Hour Update

 

Temperature in the LBK slowly rose overnight. At 6 pm, temp is 69.5. Fermentation looks good with about a half inch layer of krausen at the top. I'm not going to let it get any higher than 70 tonight.

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Hey Jabo,

Seems several of us or more, Lol, have started out the same way before finding the forum and Palmer's book.

 

My first two batches were a crap shoot, Oktoberfest drinkable but not great and Bewitched first sample had a bit of trub and strong cider taste. Once cold crashed though the cider taste was down to just a hint of apple so I've bottle it and hoping 5 weeks conditioning will be okay to sample a bottle.

 

Batch #3 I'm in a cooler as well with a frozen bottle for temp control. Fingers crossed that armed with help and support on here and Palmer's book we're on the right path. Using a digital probe taped to my LBK so I don't have to open the cooler to monitor.

 

Let us know how it goes!

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with extract brewing water chemistry is not critical. you can brew with distilled water and extracts. your wort will have sufficient nutrient. when you start doing grains, that's when chemistry is important.  i always used bottled mineral water from my local grocery store. i wrote the wellhead source company and got a full chemical analysis from them, and liked what i saw.

 

for extract, if it tastes good ... it probably will make good beer.

 

a gallon of ice might lower your temps too much depending on the size of the cooler.  keep tabs on the temp and modify your ice accordingly for the first couple days. make it too cold and the yeast will go to sleep.

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The Weissbier has been fermenting for 20 days. Average temp during that time was 66 degrees. It got as high as 70 during active fermentation and as cold as 63 on a few cold nights.

 

I just poured 2 ounces of it to try - the first pour right out of the tap - and I'm very excited! It tastes good, and like a wheat beer! I do not detect any off-flavors. I like the esters of this style, the banana and clove flavors, but they are not very strong with this batch. The banana is there, but faint, but I only drank a couple of ounces. Because I didn't let the temps get above 70 during fermentation, perhaps during bottling conditioning I'll let the temps get a little higher to see if it will bring out the esters.

 

When I poured it, it foamed up nicely and actually made a head in my shot glass. That made me wonder if I should bottle prime like normal with 2 carb drops per 750ml PET bottle? It seems already carbonated? If I don't hear any objections, I'll be bottling later this evening.

 

Cheers!

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with the typical wheat beer / hefe / wit yeast...  

 

if you ferment on the lower side of 'optimal' you tend to get clove , slight peppery or spicy esters.

 

if you crank up the heat to the right of optimal, you tend to get banana esters and possibly hints of bubblegum.

 

i let a hefe yeast get way too hot once and made gorrilla pee wheat... heavy banana esters.

 

just a general guide. always research your yeast to see how it is expected to behave and what temps it likes.

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Got it all bottled. When bottling, the banana ester was more prominent than when I tasted it, but it really smelled good, not overpowering. When I took the lid off the LBK, it smelled good inside. It was a very pleasing aroma. That was not the case with my Oktoberfest nor the American Light, but I do believe the American Light had an infection. Anyway, I'll update in a couple of weeks. Because it tasted really good right out of the LBK, I'm feeling really good about this batch! Thanks for all the advice!

 

By the way, propping the LBK up on a CD case during fermentation worked perfectly to keep trub away from the spigot.

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