Isoamyl acetate .... Beer that tastes like banana's

So we all know that yeasts create different esters and phenols during fermentation.   Some of the common esters and phenols produced from fermentation are fruity, clove, bubblegum, pepper, and certainly one that many people know and love is the banana flavored ester that people enjoy in their Hefe's.  Isomyl acetate is the ester that creates this banana flavor.   If you want to increase isomyl acetate in your hefeweisse, belgian, or any other beer that you want to taste like liquid banana bread you can do a few things.  You can certainly ferment on the upper range of that yeasts temperature range.  If you're brewing a Hefe and want lots of banana, ferment that sucker in the low 70's.   You also could under aerate your wort which causes yeast to be more ester-y(that's a technical term.)  Another way to really kick it up a notch would be to add some zinc to your recipe.  Zinc aides in the production of isoamyl acetate.   The more zinc you add, the more banana you shall receive.

Bananas in beer = no thank you

This banana flavor is the one that I hate the most.....so if you're like me, your going to try and figure out a way to decrease this ester, either by yeast selection, or fermentation temperatures, or fermentation procedures.  I just don't dig on banana's in my beer, or in my banana splits, or in my malts.  The only time I like banana is in bread, or by itself.   Definitely not in my beers.  Maybe in a hefeweiss, but never in my Belgians!   

I, for one, will look to reduce isoamyl acetate at all costs.   If I ever do a Hefe again, or a Dunkel, or a belgian wit, or certain belgian strains, I'll definitely be fermenting a well aerated wort, with a large yeast starter, and at 60-65 degrees (at the extreme low end of the temp range).

My recommendations on way's to reduce this ester..
  • Yeast's to aviod or ferment in the low 60's.  Any Hefe yeast.like Wyeast 3068, or the white labs equivalent White Labs WLP300, Wyeast 1214, and many other Belgians and Hefe yeasts. 
  •  Use Wyeast Belgian Ardennes -3522, or Wyeast 3787 - Trappist High Gravity for Belgian Dubbels and Triples (I used is for a Patersbier and it turned out amazing).  Try Wyeast Belgian Wheat 3944 for your Hefe's and Wits or WLP380 and keep those temps in the low 60's while fermenting the first few days! 


Olvalde Farmhouse Ales...Minnesota's newest brewery!

Not sure if everybody knows about this new brewery in town so I thought I'd put up a quick post about it because I'm extremely excited about this brewery and can't wait to visit them!   I was instantly intrigued by Olvalde when I heard about them because it kinda reminds me of the small French farmhouses in Wallonia.    Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company is a small farm brewery in Rollingstone, MN.   It's fairly close to Lake Pepin on Hwy 61 in between Hastings and La-X(crosse),WI.  They release one beer in belgian bottles in March of 2011 to select locations around the cities.   I picked up the Auroch's Horn a Braggot at Dennis Brothers in Cottage Grove which is an absolutely fabulous beer store.   These brothers Dennis know good beer, and better then that, they know how to get their hands on it and sell it at a reasonable price!

I did a review of Olvalde's first offering the Auroch's Horn here which is a Braggot.   I was absolutely blown away by the complexity of this beer.   I'm even more impressed that such a brewery would hit the market with this style of beer in MN!
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