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Bavarian Hefeweizen - How to up the Banana Flavor!?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by EvolutionAles, Jun 7, 2013.

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  1. EvolutionAles

    EvolutionAles Initiate (0) May 17, 2013 Illinois

    I'm brewing a bavarian hefe this weekend and really like the taste of that fresh banana flavor. Besides cranking up the temp during fermentation does anyone have any tips? Not opposed to throwing in some bananas if that actually works. Recipe is below.

    • TypeAll Grain
    • Efficiency74.0%
    • Batch size5.0 gal
    • Boil time60 min

    Pale Wheat
    7.0 lb
    58 % Mash 39
    5.0 lb
    41 % Mash 37


    Tettnanger United States 1.0 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 4.5%


    Weihenstephan Weizen 3068 Wyeast 75.0% 64°F – 75°F
  2. GatorBeer

    GatorBeer Initiate (148) Feb 2, 2010 South Carolina

    The banana flavor comes from the yeast so I'd ferment at the high end of the yeast's range to really stress it. Maybe underpitch also? I can't think of any reason the banana flavor would come from hops or the grain but I may just not be in the know.
  3. Smokebox_79

    Smokebox_79 Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2013 Pennsylvania

    If it actually tasted like banana I'd probably like it... But to my palate it's total bubblegum! HATE IT! I agree with GatorBeer, up the temp into the low 80's should give you a shit ton of that flavor! And drink it fresh, the longer you let it age the more that flavor dissipates.
  4. telejunkie

    telejunkie Aspirant (242) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    i went through a phase of trying to clone Weihenstephaner....found Stan Heironymus' Brewing with Wheat a great read on the topic. Agree with the underpitching part. Haven't found too much correlation with the yeast temp although usually go for the mid to upper range of recommended temp. I would recommend decoction if you've got the time & gumption, but obviously is very optional. Ferulic acid step is another possibility...
  5. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Aspirant (259) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    Clove, banana, bubblegum flavors are more complicated than saying this temp produces this flavor. The cleanest strongest banana I ever had was fermented at 62. The only oxygen it got was during transfer to fermenter and whatever oxygen managed to get trapped in the fermenter. I pitched one vial of WL300 and let it go. As soon as I opened a bottle, it smelled like those banana popsicles. YMMV. That was early on in my brewing hobby and I didn't care for it, but it was definitely banana-y. You risk producing "hot" alcohols at the higher temps.
  6. epk

    epk Initiate (166) Jun 10, 2008 New Jersey

    Low 80s? I'd say that's too high. 64 has been a recommend temp for a balanced hefe. I've gone as high as 72 with that yeast for a ester-forward brew (which actually peaked up to 74 if I remember correctly). I think it worked out perfectly with a good amount of banana flavor.

    So, OP, if you'd like, ramp it up as high as 74-75. Beyond that, I'm not so sure. Low 80s just sound like a recipe for fusels.

    The other ways to stress the yeast out are under-oxygenating it (as mentioned above) or under pitching, but personally I think I'd rather control as much as possible just by adjusting temp.
    rlcoffey likes this.
  7. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    I go with 72, I agree that low 80s sounds like a disaster waiting to happen.

    I just kegged a saison, however, that I fermented in my garage, it bounced between 70 and 85.
  8. barfdiggs

    barfdiggs Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2011 California

    Once I started decocting I haven't went back. One thing I have noticed though is that the ferrulic acid rest hasn't really done all that much as far as producing 4VG until I started decocting. The last two have had unbelievable clove aroma in the nose and taste, which had not shown up in my weizens brewed with a step mash (Ferrulic acid rest, Sacch, mash out). FWIW they were fermented with WY3638, not the typical WY3068 strain that everyone seems to use (More apple, pear, vanilla, and super subtle banana).
    Pegli and telejunkie like this.
  9. Applecrew135

    Applecrew135 Initiate (55) Jul 18, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Speculating here, but perhaps if you could find a way to limit the amount of phenols, the isoamyl acetate may be more easily brought forward? I'm pretty sure the phenol compounds are related to ferulic acid, so if ferulic acid could be minimized, you might have a better shot at getting something more banana forward.
  10. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,778) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Maybe some yeast nutrient to increase free amino N, or lowball the O2.
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,862) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I would recommend that the OP use 3068 and:

    · Ferment at the higher end of the recommended range (e.g. 72-75 degrees F)

    · Underpitch (e.g., do not make a yeast starter)

    This is what Wyeast states:

    “YEAST STRAIN: 3068 | Weihenstephan Weizen™

    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%.”

  12. CASK1

    CASK1 Aspirant (293) Jan 7, 2010 Florida

    I pulled the comment below from a thread last year about a chocolate banana beer:
    CASK1 said:
    One of the Zymurgy issues in the past year (I think) had an article about boosting banana character in Weizens. I remember adding an uncommon temperature rest to the mash that increases the precursor compound that the yeast converts to isoamyl acetate (banana ester). Sorry I don't have the details handy - I'll try to look them up later.​
    I found the article. It is in the May/June 2010 Zymurgy: "Brewing a Wheat Beer with Intensive Banana Aroma", by Michael Eder. The basics are to use an unusual decoction with a "5:1 water to grist ratio by weight", which apparently leads to a higher mash pH (~6.0), and a step at 104F (40C). These lead to increased maltase activity which provides the yeast with more precursors for banana ester production.

  13. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,257) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    I've also heard (and tried) open fermenting a Hefe to keep the pressure from restraining esters. I used a 6.5 gallon bucket, no lid, sheer curtain material over the top to keep stuffs out, let it go in the upper 60s-lower 70s, krausen on 5.25 gallons blew over the top by a good 4 inches. Might be an option.
  14. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (736) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Don't do anything...fuck'in it up will produce banana and bubblegum bonus : )
  15. jeffthecheff

    jeffthecheff Defender (658) Jul 23, 2008 Connecticut

    Mentioned a bunch of times, but play around with lower pitching and oxygen rates.
  16. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Disciple (369) May 2, 2006 Utah

    To followup, years ago I made a dunkels weizen with WY3068 fermented at 65. Pear was very strong. I recently made a hefeweizen with WLP300 (supposedly equivalent to WY3068). This beer was excellent, but very subtle in its hefe characteristics. My process was was (1) single infusion mash at 150 and (2) fermentation starting at 69 and rising up towards 76 at the end. So fairly warm temperatures will not necessarily give lots of banana.
  17. LeeryLeprechaun

    LeeryLeprechaun Zealot (569) Jan 30, 2011 Colorado

    I recently went to a presentation by the 2011 GABF gold medal winner for Hefeweizen. It was Dry Dock and they make a banana bomb. Here were his (Bill Eye) suggestions.

    3068 is the way to go (not the strain they use, which is a private strain banked at BSI). You want to drastically underpitch, about 20 % of the cells you would normally use. Oxygenate only half of what the beer needs (so ~4 ppm).
    You want to do a single temp mash. Lower temperatures help create the precursor for clove aroma. Knock out cold and allow the temp to rise to 65 F. Follow the rule of 30 C (the temp of the knock out and the temp of the fermentation should equal 30 C, so knock out at 12 and ferment a 18 or some combination of that).

    Hope that helps!
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,862) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    My conclusion from your experience is that while WLP300 is theoretically the same strain as Wyeast 3068 in reality they are ‘different’ strains at this point in time.

    Last year I brewed the exact same CAP recipe using Wyeast 2124 and WLP830 (it was my understanding that these two strains were equivalent). Those two beers turned out significantly different even though the recipe and process was exactly the same for those two batches. My experience is that 2124 ≠ WLP830.

  19. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    Its also the yeast that taught me to use blow off tubes instead of airlocks.
  20. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,862) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I brew in a 7.9 gallon bucket; I have lots of headspace. No need for a blow-off for me.

  21. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania

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