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07/04/07 12:43 PM  
Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out

consult the bones.

Tasted first bottle of wit after 1 wk. - classic rich witbeer flavor profile excellent head, my first good AG batch. At three weeks flavor thinned out considerably (less than blue moon :-0) to slight fruity/citrus taste low head & retention. Bottles filled 1.5 in from top and have carb bubbles on side. What the hey!!! see brew details below.

Wit 3gal (ended up with 2.5 to fermenter)

SG 1.052 FG 1.011; WY3944 no starter, 40sec shot pure O2

Pils 48%, white wheat malt 43%, Acid malt 5%, Flaked Oats 5%; spices: SOrange .15oz, BOrange.15oz, corriander .20oz, camomille .20oz, 5 peppercorns;

single infuse @ 152F for 60min, boil 70min, IBU 19;

ferment 2wks @ 71F, bottled 3 vol/corn sugar.

Ross Lunato
07/04/07 05:32 PM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out
My best guess is that the single infusion mash is the culprit. Mostly, I find that I get a bit better body and attenuation if I step mash. This problem also could be the carbonation level.

Did you serve the beer very cold on the second tasting compared to the first tasting? Just wonderin'....

07/04/07 05:59 PM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out
DBear, could the second sample have just been an off bottle? If you've sampled several and seen a pattern, its worth entertaining the possibility that this is simply part of its evolution. I have made beers that were good, dropped off then peaked again even better. Maybe if you try again in a few weeks you'll see its back.

Hey Ross - daddy yet?

Al B
07/04/07 08:50 PM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out
DBear -

This is after the fact, but I recently did an adjunct mash using 30% unmalted white wheat and 10% flaked oats, and acheived a silky smooth mouthfeel.

Ross Lunato
07/04/07 09:05 PM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out

Great point about reevaluating a beer several weeks later. I too have seen such anomolies especially with German Wheats.

YES!!!! I am a Daddy!!!! Baby is three weeks early (he came right after I got back from Denver!) and we are dealing with some feeding issues but it looks like he'll be fine. I'm trying to get back into life a bit here.

07/05/07 05:52 PM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out
Thanks All,

Yes, its a pattern, not a single bottle. I will give it a few weeks and sample again. grrrrrr... Thanks for sharing your experiences I never would have guessed except for reaching out to the community.

Ross - Congrats on the new baby!!!

07/06/07 08:57 AM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out
Sounds like after 1 week, it was basically the beer you are looking for. So what could have happened between then and the three week point, to thin the flavor and reduce head retention?

Oxidation can reduce some flavors very quickly. I fill bottles to ~0.5" to avoid this as much as possible. Now I wouldn't necessarily expect 2 weeks with a 1.5" headspace to be a big problem, but that depends on how much the beer has already been exposed to oxygen before it gets in the bottle. *If* you took samples from the beer back when it was a 2.5 G batch in (presumably) a 5G container, then you might have exposed the beer to quite a bit of oxygen. If you did that after the krausen had fallen... then I think you would be asking for oxidation trouble.

Protein settling out: If the protien falls out, not only would the head retention diminish but the beer would be thinner in general, creating the impression of thinner taste. I wouldn't expect this in 3 weeks... but on the other hand I have heard that with in German microbreweries, the common wisdom is that their hefeweizen is best at 1-2 weeks, after which it goes downhill fast. Maybe that's relevant to your case somehow.

07/06/07 03:36 PM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out
Thanks Baums,

To your last point, I checked my notes and realized that I added a whirlFloc tab at 15min left in the boil. DOH!!!! If I understand what your saying the protien could have a latent fall out. (or not) Thats why the early bottle was so good, lucky timing, although with the whirlfloc you would think there would not be enough protien in fermentation in the first place. Oxidation - your right about the volumes but this time I checked gravity and bottled right away. My stupid-ass sampler takes three times for a 3 gal batch to get enought for a hydro check but I do wrap cellophane around it at the opening between samples.

What techniques do you use to avoid oxidation when sampling/racking?


07/09/07 10:49 AM  
Re: Help troubleshooting wit - flavor thinned out
Hmm. I was suggesting that (even without Whirlfloc) the effect you saw might be related to protein falling out of your beer. *If* this was the issue, using Whirlfloc in the boil would of course exaggerate it.

By the way, why are you using Whirlfloc?

I hadn't grasped before what Ross meant about single infusion, but I think he may be right about using a protein rest. The proteins most likely to fall out are the big ones. A protein rest can chop these big ones into medium ones (or small ones if you go too far). Medium ones are best for head retention, and I think they're less quick to fall out as well.

So, two possible steps to try: cut out the whirlfloc, and/or add a protein rest.

Oxidation: I don't think you need to wrap cellophane between samples--the time is short, and besides, once you open up the carboy the oxygen is already in there. Others make good beer in other ways... but to avoid oxidation, I personally almost never rack, and the only sample I take comes out of the bottling hose right before I fill my first bottle. In the worst case, that reading might show that the beer needs more time, and I will have set up my bottling stuff for nothing. But this has never happened--the key is to watch all the other signs (flocculation, bubbling, krausen, etc) and get to a point where you're confident in using those to determine when the ferment is done. Then the sample is just a final check. It helps to use enough healthy yeast that the end of the ferment is a nice hard stop.

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