Wheat Beers


rewing with wheat instead of barley is an ancient tradition that stretches back to  the earliest days of brewing. Wheat ales are very refreshing. Traditionally they are cloudy or hazy, though with modern filtration they can easily be made clear.

Dunkel/Dark Weizen - These dark wheat beers derive their character from the use of darker malts in the non-wheat ingredients, so that a richer, darker colored beer can be achieved, along with fuller malt flavors. Dunkel weizens still display the floral, estery qualities of a pale weizen. Dark weizens are produced with or without a secondary fermentation in the bottle; these styles can be yeast sedimented or unsedimented depending upon the preference of the brewer.

Flavored Wheat Ales - The two most significant additives are fruit and honey, usually employed separately. Raspberry is a common choice of fruit to flavor these styles and the best examples have faithful fruit essence and avoid any sweet, cloying character. Honey can add richness to the palate and give a hint of sweetness. Herbs and spices are also encountered, but the possibilities are endless.

Hefe Weizen - Weizen bier is a top fermenting beer style that originates from southern Germany, particularly Bavaria, and is brewed with at least 50% wheat in the mash. Hefe weizens are refreshing, highly carbonated beers ideal for quenching summer thirsts. They undergo secondary fermentation, often in the bottle, and the yeast strains used for this purpose impart a spicy, clove-like flavor.

Kristall Weizen - Kristall on the label of a weizen specifically denotes that a weizen has been filtered prior to bottling to remove the protein haze and yeast often suspended in such beers. Kristall weizens have a cleaner and more delicate flavor. Floral, fruity aromas are often noted in classic examples of this style, though healthy alcohol content will give a medium to medium-full bodied character.

Weizen Bock - Weizen bocks are essentially winter wheat beers. The color can be pale gold to brown. They are of higher alcoholic strength, showing a warming personality, though they should still have a significant 'rocky' head when poured. These beers combine the character of hefeweizens and dopplebocks and as such are rich and malty with estery, yeasty qualities and show a note of wheaty crispness through the finish.

Wheat Ale - These are ales that use a proportion of wheat in the mash to add a protein haze. A host of variables ranging from the wheat/malt ratio, hopping and filtration/non filtration all contribute to wide variations on the theme. U.S. examples feature a more marked hop accent than classic German weizen styles and are often dryer.

White/Wit Beer - Wit beer is a style of flavored wheat. Wits employ a proportion of unmalted wheat in the mash but also have flavor added in the form of curacao, orange peel and coriander, among other ingredients. Their appearance is marked by a hazy white precipitate and these beers generally have some sedimentation. Typically these are very refreshing summer thirst quenchers.