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So I enjoy the heck outa making Hefeweizens. Its a great style and very wonderful when fresh. However, my Hefe's never seem to hit that "clove" note properly, they always lean much more towards the "banana" side of the flavor spectrum.

I suspect this is because I am a single infusion masher. I've never bothered with a protein rest or any kind of steps, I just hit 150-155F and let it sit for an hour. Works great on my other beers, but I think it's making my Hefe's a little one dimensional.

I ferment in a fridge, usually at 64F, so it's not a temp control issue leading to more banana flavor. Furthermore, I like WLP380 Hefe IV yeast, which is supposed to give more balanced clove/banana than the WLP300. As such, I am pointing the finger at my mash schedule.

Does anyone have a mash schedule they use to accent the clove character? And if its not too much, would you mind explaining what volumes of water you use to hit those steps?

Or, if you think there's something else I can try besides a different mash schedule, that would be great too. Thanks!

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do you pitch from starter or vial and what's the pitching rate? Do you chill the starter to the same temp as the wort? –  mdma Apr 11 '12 at 18:42
    
1qt 1.040OG starter, not sure the rate, usually at the same temps as the wort when pitched in. –  Graham Apr 11 '12 at 19:19
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You can do a mash rest at 110F-ish to develop some of the precursors that the yeast use for clove character. This develops ferulic acid in the mash which get converted to 4-vinyl guaiacol. Thirty minutes is fine, then infuse up to your sac rest temp.

But its easier to just ferment warmer say 72F, that will develop more clove vs. banana esters. I ferment my Hefe as 62F to AVOID too much clove. Seeing how you are at 64F I'd try the temp thing first. If you go much warmer than that the yeast tends to produce more banana character than clove.

For the record, I am a WLP300 guy myself.

You can always email Whitelabs directly. They usually have more to say about each strain via email or on the phone than is posted on the website.

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mbaa.com/Districts/MidSouth/presentations/… indicates higher temps for Banana and lower for Clove. –  Kevin Colby Apr 12 '12 at 2:12
    
But @brewchez is right that mashing in at 110F helps produce ferulic acid which is metabolized into 4VG, producing clove aromas. –  Tobias Patton Apr 12 '12 at 4:50
    
@brewchez, its very interesting you are doing the opposite of what the "common knowledge" is for Hefe's in regards to temps. While I'm not sure about high=cloves, I DO believe that the high=banana logic is an oversimplification. And your mash schedule suggestion is EXACTLY what I'm looking for, thanks! Do you still need a 45-60F Sach rest once you've done that 30min 110F rest? Or can you shorten that Sach rest down now? –  Graham Apr 12 '12 at 12:40
    
It is wierd, but it is what it is and thats what I get. In general lower temps suppress any flavor out put of almost any yeast strain, and 64F is a bit low. I go that low because I don't really care for either banana or clove. But the lower temp certainly suppresses the clove, which i dislike the most of the two. As for the sach rest. 40min is likely plenty to get it done. But not because of the 110F rest, just because 60 is usually overkill anyway so why spend even more time if you're doing the 110F too? –  brewchez Apr 13 '12 at 21:44
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Fermentation is the best place to effect the Yeast Ester Production. Specifically for Hefe's fermenting cold increases the production of esters that generate the clove smell you're looking for.

Fermenting warm and under pitching both tend to increase the Banana characteristics.

Are you measuring the air temp in the fridge or the beer temp. You may be fermenting at a higher temp than you expect due to the heat produced during fermentation. You may also want to try taking it down a few more degrees as well even though this is technically below the optimal range for the yeast. Just be sure not to take it down too far and end up with a stuck fermentation! In my experience though, Hefe yeasts are pretty vigorous and hearty yeast strains.

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Its a thermometer strip on the side of the carboy, so its not ambient temps in the fridge. And you are correct in that there is a significant difference in the two! I actually set my fridge to about 56-60F to get my fermenting Hefe down to 64F during primary. –  Graham Apr 12 '12 at 12:38
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Why not just put some cloves in your wort and save yourself a lot of messing about? You add hops for a hop flavour, add cloves for a clove flavour.

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