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Trouble with lemon character in hefeweizen

I’ve successfully brewed a number of hefeweizens in my day, but I’m having some trouble as of late and seeking help.

I’ve brewed 2 all extract hefe’s (Briess wheat DME, 1.050 OG, 10 IBU hallertauer) recently. One was fermented with Wyeast 3068, the other WLP300.

Both fermented in the mid 60’s.

Both have an overwhelming lemon/tart character, along with some yeasty/rubbery notes, and phenols. Very little banana character.

WLP300 was fermented with no oxygen added (attempting to stress the yeast for more banana character). Wyeast was a starter and oxygen.

I thought it could be an infection, but I’ve checked the pH of both beers - sitting right around 4.0 - 4.2, and have held steady for a couple weeks.

I’ve brewed other beers in between these beers, using the same equipment, procedure, etc. and have had no issues with those beers (including a blonde ale that is wonderfully clean). Based on this success and the pH of the hefe’s I don’t THINK it is an infection.

I’ve read others having these issues on another board (as recently as May).

Anyone else have this experience and have some tips? Like I said, I’ve had plenty of success before with this style and with both of these yeasts.

This is the first I’ve used Briess DME to make a hefe. I think it’s a reach to blame that though. One was brewed with RO water, the other my well water - same result.

Both those yeasts can give a little tartness in their profile. I started using WLP380 instead, its a little better about that but I’ve had some sulfur issues with it at times. You can take the tart edge off with a little crystal malt, a little sweetness works for that. Not necessarily traditional but the final product is what its all about.

I’d maybe ferment at 62F, that seems to be the temp that gives the nicest balance between clove and banana with restrained amounts of both. Warmer temps can give banana bombs and while it sounds good it really isn’t that pleasant.

Also I wouldn’t stress yeast with low O2. You’re better off underpitching, and really I’d suggest pitching a good amount of yeast and counting on a robust fermentation to limit the esters somewhat which will also attenuate the tartness.

I usually do ferment at 62, but I was trying to copy Schneider on these beers. They pitch at 60 - 62 and let it rise to low 70’s over 5 days. They also only oxygenate 50% of the batch and under pitch (I don’t have their pitch rate in front of me right now but I recall something like 5 - 7 million cells per ml of 1.052 wort)

I’d gladly take a banana bomb over this lemon mess.

How would a robust fermentation “attenuate tartness” ? Both these beers attenuated just fine, finishing around 1.012. Remember, the Wyeast 1068 batch was pitched with a robust starter and oxygenated. The WLP300 batch was straight from the tube with no oxygen. The Wyeast batch has bigger lemon issues than the WLP300.

What is Wyeast1068? I can’t find any info on it.

DOH! Sorry. Wyeast 3068. Typo.

Im guessing he meant:
WY3068 Wyeast Weihenstephan Weizen

[quote=“Wyeast”]Temp Range: 64ºF – 75ºF
Flocculation: Low
Alcohol Tolerance: 10%
Originating Brewery: Weihenstephan 68 (S. delbrueckii single strain)
The classic and most popular German wheat beer strain used worldwide. This yeast strain produces a beautiful and delicate balance of banana esters and clove phenolics. The balance can be manipulated towards ester production through increasing the fermentation temperature, increasing the wort density, and decreasing the pitch rate. Over pitching can result in a near complete loss of banana character. Decreasing the ester level will allow a higher clove character to be perceived. Sulfur is commonly produced, but will dissipate with conditioning. This strain is very powdery and will remain in suspension for an extended amount of time following attenuation. This is true top cropping yeast and requires fermenter headspace of 33%. [/quote]

The thing about commercial breweries is that the large volumes they work with create pressure in the fermentor that lowers the production of esters and allows faster fermentations at higher temps. If you want to do a Schneider ferm temp regimen, consider soing a pressurized fermentation. Otherwise you want a lower temp and a more time.

The wife and I do love Schneider Weisse. She’s a big hefe fan so I’ve done quite a bit of brewing of these, and getting away from the tartness was one thing I had to deal with.

But Schneider open ferments.

I get that we’re talking hundreds of gallons so there’s going to be more pressure vs. my 5 gallon fermenter, but the open ferment should help increase the esters in both cases.

I’ve closed fermented all my hefe’s in the past, and did so with the Wyeast 3068 version and half of the WLP300. Same thing in all 3 beers - LEMON.

I hear ya, but if something ain’t working for you then try something else. And I’d tend to go with more yeast, good aeration, closed fermentation at 62F. Then cheat and add a little crystal to sweeten that lemonade.

Have you read this thread? Ton of info if you have the time.


I like the lemon in my hefe…I started adding orange peel and orange flavored honey and damn if it aint a tasty hefe

Another thing I recall helping was to build my own water from RO. I had 100ppm of sulfate in my tap water and I think this was contributing a certain tartness. I also keep the hop bitterness under 15.

Hmmm…sulfate is something to look at. I used RO water on the Wyeast batch, and my own water on the WLP300 batches. Perhaps Briess has high levels of sulfate in their water.

Something I forgot to add - I made a dampfbier off the slurry from the Wyeast batch. That beer has a mild lemon tartness, about what I’d expect from this yeast. Another reason I don’t think this is an infection because the dampfbier has nowhere near the levels of lemon that the hefe has.

The dampfbier was all-grain. Hmmm… maybe this is related to Briess DME?

Thanks for all suggestions so far. Still listening…

I just brewed the NB Bavarian Hefeweizen and it used this yeast. In their brewing instructions there is a big hint that they got the best results fermenting at 68 degrees. I think mine fermented at that temperature, and when it was fresh out of the fermenter I got apple, then clove, then banana flavors. Now that it has aged a little it is banana and clove all the way. Fantastic.

Do you think that you fermented too cool for the strain and did not get enough esters to cover it? ... weizen.pdf

Thanks for the thought, but no, I fermented in mid to upper 60’s. Pitched at 60, fermented in basement at 68, then brought up to 70 - 72 the final 24 hours of ferment.

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