What is: Wheat Beer vs. Witbier vs. Hefeweizen – Allagash Brewing Company An American wheat beer, a witbier, and a hefeweizen. We’ve heard a lot of people ask what the difference is between various wheat beer styles, specifically: witbier, hefeweizen, and “American” wheat beer. While they may seem similar, there’s actually quite a bit of difference between these styles.
They’re united by the fact that they’re all brewed with a large proportion of wheat, but that’s about where the similarities end. More broadly, a “wheat beer” is really any beer where a substantial portion of the grain used in brewing is wheat. Your average craft beer is brewed primarily with malted barley.
The reason is straightforward: barley malt is easier to brew with. Wheat beers are exceptionally hard to brew because the proteins and starches in the grain want to bind, making it trickier to extract the sugars. These same proteins make wheat exceptional for baking (think stretchy pizza dough).
Here’s a breakdown of these three styles: Often simply called “wheat beer” by brewers, American versions of wheat beers use clean, American yeasts. These yeasts don’t create the heavy clove and banana character of German weiss beers or the fruity, spicy character of a witbier. Appearance-wise, American wheat beers can range from relatively clear to cloudy.
As with all American styles, these wheat beers have a more noticeable hop-character as well. This usually translates to a crisp texture as compared to a witbier or hefeweizen. Some examples of American wheat beers:,,, A style we know intimately here at Allagash, witbiers were brewed as early as the 14th Century in Belgium. The word literally translates from Dutch to “white beer,” hence our own Allagash White. When breweries describe something as a “white” beer—for example, White IPA—that simply means that there is a decent portion of wheat in the beer. As opposed to other wheat beers we’ve mentioned, witbiers are always cloudy. They are typically brewed with coriander and citrus or other spices, which act as complementary flavors to the bready, bright wheat notes. Spices should never be over the top, but just enough to have you wondering, hmmm what is that? Belgian yeasts offer up additional fruity and spicy flavors. Some examples of witbier :,,, Hefeweizen is a type of weiss beer—German for “white beer.” Hefeweizen itself translates to “yeast wheat” in German. Made up of >50% wheat, weiss beers are characterized by a strong presence of banana and clove, even vanilla or bubblegum, in the aroma and flavor. These flavor compounds are created by the Bavarian yeast strains used to ferment them. Weiss beers can be clear, as in a krystalweizen, hazy, as in a hefeweizen, or even amber to mahogany in color, as in a dunkelweizen. Some examples of Hefeweizens :,, There are plenty of benefits to brewing with wheat that make the extra hassle worth it. In combination with barley, wheat creates a silky, creamy texture and a big, beautiful long-lasting head on your beer. Wheat also tends to impart a bready, bright, lemony character. Interestingly, many breweries use wheat in their beer and don’t describe them as wheat beers at all. Many hazy, “New England-Style” IPAs have wheat, or oats, or both in them to lend their creamy texture. Many farmhouse, or saison style-beers may also have a relatively high portion of wheat, or other grains such as rye or spelt. : What is: Wheat Beer vs. Witbier vs. Hefeweizen – Allagash Brewing Company
- 0.1 Is a hefeweizen a lager or an ale?
- 1 Is Stella Artois a Hefeweizen?
- 2 Is Hefeweizen a wheat ale?
- 3 Is Hefeweizen a pilsner?
- 4 Is Hefeweizen a breakfast beer?
- 5 Is Stella Artois Belgian white?
- 6 Do Belgians drink Stella?
- 7 Why does Hefeweizen taste like banana?
- 8 Is Hefeweizen Bavarian?
- 9 What types of beer are ale vs lager?
Is a hefeweizen a lager or an ale?
How is Hefeweizen different from other wheat beers? – Wheat beer is basically a kind of beer which is brewed with a significant quantity of wheat. It contains a large portion of wheat malt which ranges from 50% to 70%, the rest are just regular barley malt.
There are different types of wheat beer around the world such as the German Weissbier and Belgian wheat beer. The German Weissbier can be further divided into four categories on the proportion of wheat, hops and yeast used, namely Kristallweizen, Dunkelweizen, Weizenbock and Hefeweizen. Kristallweizen means ‘clear wheat’ because it is heavily filtered resulting in a very clear beer.
Dunkelweizen is brewed with very dark malts and results in a very dark, bready beer. Weizenbock is a style of German lager that is traditionally malty, somewhat sweet, strongly alcoholic, with little or no hop flavour or aroma. It combines the characteristics of the two styles.Thus, It is the heartiest of the wheat beers.
Hefeweizen is the most popular of all its Weissbier siblings. This is an unfiltered ale, meaning the brewer’s yeast is left in suspension, making the beer cloudy and slightly white looking. The heavy wheat profile gives them a uniquely refreshing flavour. As you smell your Hefeweizen, you will notice a mixture of fruity and spicy aroma.
You can also taste banana, clove and vanilla flavours.
What is hefeweizen similar to?
We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more, For those unfamiliar with wheat beer, the key difference is that it’s brewed with a higher percentage of wheat in proportion to malted barley, which is typically used to make beer.
- Beyond that, there are different styles within the category, and each brings different flavors to the party.
- In addition to American wheat beer, there’s German hefeweizen and Belgian witbier.
- Both are, of course, made predominantly with wheat; witbier, however, is often brewed with spices as well, and hefeweizen frequently has a yeasty character to it, along with notes of banana.
The bottom line is that wheat beer really does have flavor characteristics that separate it from other types of beer. Furthermore, there are many domestic breweries, both craft and large, as well as foreign, that are making excellent wheat beer. Plus, many pair very well with food,
Is a Belgian white a hefeweizen?
VIDEO – In this episode Tim and I attempt to decipher the difference between a Hefeweizen and a Witbier. In our ” Is Blue Moon Beer ?” episode Tim dropped the ball and called Blue Moon a Hefeweizen. (Thanks to Scott Jones on Facebook and Chad9976 on YouTube for the catch).
- This prompted us to do some research to redeem ourselves in this video.
- So I turned to one of my favorite sources The Complete World of Beer Styles presented by All About Beer Magazine and in this video we share the major differences between these two types of beer.
- For the readers out there, the basics boil down to the fact that a Hefeweizen is technically a weizenbock (strong) one of the four Royal Baverian Wheat Beer styles.
For reference, the other three are weissbier (white beer), weizenbier (wheat beer), and dunkelweizen (dark). All About Beer Magazine describes them as “cloudy, quirky, spritzy and top-fermented. Ripe with odd flavors and aromas not usually acceptable in beers, never mind German Brews.” Which brings us to a key points a hefeweizen gains its clovey and banana flavor from the natural ingredients in the beer they are not adding clove and bananas to the mash.
A Witbier is often called a Belgian Witbier. This style was developed in Belgian just east of Brussels including the village of Hoegaarden, that’s a familiar one. All About Beer Magazine describes them as “light, fluffy body and a tart lemony finish. Textured with wheat, rambunctiously yeasty, with herbal hints and scented with pungent spices.” Today some witbiers substitute the lemon finish with an orange finish, like Blue Moon,
The major similarity between the two styles is that they are both brewed with wheat. The major difference is that they are from two completely different regions. Hefeweizen is a German style of beer while Witbier is a Belgian style of beer. In upcoming episodes we will dive into the history of these two styles of beer, we will also be doing more with beer styles.
Is Stella Artois a Hefeweizen?
Stella Artois – Wikipedia Belgian pilsner Stella Artois TypeManufacturer Country of origin, BelgiumIntroduced1926 ; 97 years ago ( 1926 ) 4.6 to 5.2 Style Ingredients, malted barley, maize, yeast, waterWebsite Stella Artois (, French: ) is a beer, first brewed in 1926 by Brouwerij Artois in, Belgium.
Is Hefeweizen a wheat ale?
WHAT IS: WHEAT BEER VS. WITBIER VS. HEFEWEIZEN An American wheat beer, a witbier, and a hefeweizen. We’ve heard a lot of people ask what the difference is between various wheat beer styles, specifically: witbier, hefeweizen, and “American” wheat beer. While they may seem similar, there’s actually quite a bit of difference between these styles. They’re united by the fact that they’re all brewed with a large proportion of wheat, but that’s about where the similarities end. More broadly, a “wheat beer” is really any beer where a substantial portion of the grain used in brewing is wheat. Your average craft beer is brewed primarily with malted barley. The reason is straightforward: barley malt is easier to brew with. Wheat beers are exceptionally hard to brew because the proteins and starches in the grain want to bind, making it trickier to extract the sugars. These same proteins make wheat exceptional for baking (think stretchy pizza dough). Here’s a breakdown of these three styles: Hefeweizen: Hefeweizen is a type of weiss beer—German for “wheat beer.” Hefeweizen itself translates to “yeast wheat” in German. Made up of >50% wheat, weiss beers are characterized by a strong presence of banana and clove, even vanilla or bubblegum, in the aroma and flavor. These flavor compounds are created by the Bavarian yeast strains used to ferment them. Weiss beers can be clear, as in a krystalweizen, hazy, as in a hefeweizen, or even amber to mahogany in color, as in a dunkelweizen. Some examples of Hefeweizens: Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbeer, Sierra Nevada Kellerweis. American Wheat Beer: Often simply called “wheat beer” by brewers, American versions of wheat beers use clean, American yeasts. These yeasts don’t create the heavy clove and banana character of German weiss beers or the fruity, spicy character of a witbier.
Appearance-wise, American wheat beers can range from relatively clear to cloudy. As with all American styles, these wheat beers have a more noticeable hop-character as well. This usually translates to a crisp texture as compared to a witbier or hefeweizen. Some examples of American wheat beers: Bell’s Oberon, Three Floyds Gumballhead, Boulevard 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer.
Witbier: A style we know intimately here at Allagash, witbiers were brewed as early as the 14th Century in Belgium. The word literally translates from Dutch to “white beer,” hence our own Allagash White. When breweries describe something as a “white” beer—for example, White IPA—that simply means that there is a decent portion of wheat in the beer.
- As opposed to other wheat beers we’ve mentioned, witbiers are always cloudy.
- They are typically brewed with coriander and citrus or other spices, which act as complementary flavors to the bready, bright wheat notes.
- Spices should never be over the top, but just enough to have you wondering, hmmm what is that? Belgian yeasts offer up additional fruity and spicy flavors.
Some examples of witbier: Allagash White, Wittekerke, Hoegaarden White. There are plenty of benefits to brewing with wheat that make the extra hassle worth it. In combination with barley, wheat creates a silky, creamy texture and a big, beautiful long-lasting head on your beer. Wheat also tends to impart a bready, bright, lemony character.
Interestingly, many breweries use wheat in their beer and don’t describe them as wheat beers at all. Many hazy, “New England-Style” IPAs have wheat, or oats, or both in them to lend their creamy texture. Many farmhouse, or saison style-beers may also have a relatively high portion of wheat, or other grains such as rye or spelt.
: WHAT IS: WHEAT BEER VS. WITBIER VS. HEFEWEIZEN
Is Hefeweizen a pilsner?
What Is the Difference Between Hefeweizen and Pilsner? – Wheat beers ( weissbiers ) were among those forbidden under the German purity law known as Reinheitsgebot. Established in 1516, it essentially only allowed the production of beers with no adjuncts or non-barley grains.
Due to the popularity of weissbier among royalty, it was the first style to receive an exemption. The hefeweizen style predates lagers and pale ales. Weissbier, which means “white beer,” was initially used to described wheat beers because they were paler in color to the typical beers brewed in Germany.
Hefe translates as “yeast” and weizen means “wheat.” This Bavarian wheat beer typically contains at least 50 percent wheat malts, though some can reach a ratio of 70 percent wheat to barley. The top-fermentation style designates hefeweizen as ale, It’s generally a crisp, drinkable brew with a low to moderate alcohol content.
The suspended yeast gives hefeweizen a cloudy appearance, its most notable characteristic. In contrast, German pilsner is a bottom-fermented lager. The two beers share a pale yellow color (hefeweizens can scale to orange), fluffy white foam head, and are equally enjoyable crisp beers for warm days. Both have a slightly sweeter taste, with pilsner’s attributed to malts and hefeweizen’s sweetness to wheat.
Pilsners tend to show more hop and bitter characteristics. In the glass, there’s no mistaking the two: Pilsners are filtered and distinctly clearer, unlike the cloudy hefeweizens. Though many brewers produce hefeweizen, a distinct flavor profile describes this style,
- Classic hefeweizens are noted as being sweet and fruity with notes of banana and clove.
- Some even have a bubble gum or vanilla undertone.
- It is a wheat beer, so it is heavy and has a rather full body with high carbonation.
- American hefeweizens aren’t subject to the strict German production law, so they vary a bit more in flavor.
Some brewers use a different strain than the traditional German weizen ale yeast and others may add citrus or spices.
Do Germans drink Hefeweizen?
It’s true that the Northwest has a reputation for rain. It’s the one thing people who’ve never been there think they know about the area. The reality is that Seattle and New York City get about the same amount of rainfall a year. In the Northwest, what people mistake for rainy weather is mostly just cloudy weather.
It’s no surprise then that in 1986—when most mass-produced beer in North America came in two basic shades: light and dark, but always crystal clear—patrons at a small Portland, Ore., bar, the Dublin Pub, took a shine to a thoroughly cloudy beer brewed locally by brothers Rob and Kurt Widmer. The Widmers were already making German-style Altbier and Weizenbier (“wheat beer”) for the Dublin when the owner at the time, eager to expand his offerings, asked the duo to make a third beer for him.
The Widmers only had two fermenters, and necessity being the mother of invention, they simply left the Weizenbier unfiltered and impressively cloudy, thus making Hefeweizen. Of course, the Widmers didn’t invent Hefeweizen. It’s a German creation—the name, pronounced HAY-fuh-vites-in, means literally “yeast wheat.” It’s long been a favorite in southern Germany, where the practice of making beer using wheat is thought to date back to the 11th century.
The Widmers did, however, introduce and popularize an Americanized version of this very unusual-looking and distinctive-tasting beer. Most beers are brewed with predominantly barley malts, but Weizenbier (alternately known as Weissbier, which means “white beer”), whether filtered or unfiltered, is made with at least 50 percent wheat malts, a substitution that produces a light-colored, cloudy beer.
If the yeast and proteins are filtered off, you get a lovely deep golden and refreshingly crisp Weizenbier. Leave all that cloudy goodness and the results are still refreshing and light, but the beer takes on a citrusy, bready complexity. At least that’s what the American version of Hefeweizen tastes like—the kind that’s served with a slice of lemon, to the chagrin of Germans and some North American beer purists.
- Yeast from the east German Hefeweizen is, in many ways, completely different from the American version popularized by the Widmers, due to the fact that it’s fermented with a different strain of yeast, which produces striking banana and clove flavors.
- In fact, there are those who argue that what many Americans consume as Hefeweizen is no such thing.
“To me a Hefeweizen is a Hefeweizen,” says Verne Lambourne, one of two brewmasters at Vancouver, B.C.’s Granville Island Brewing, “which means you use the proper yeast strain, which will give the beer its fruity, spicy flavor. If breweries aren’t using that yeast, it’s not a Hefeweizen—it’s just a cloudy wheat beer.” The Widmers didn’t set out to alter the recipe for Hefeweizen.
Back in 1986 they simply didn’t have the facilities necessary to deal with multiple yeast strains. They improvised with what they had and customers liked it. “I think that one of the hallmarks of craft brewing is to push the envelope of style and respect tradition but not be restricted by it,” Rob Widmer says.
Theirs may not be a true German-style Hefe, but it’s become the pre-eminent American-style Hefeweizen. Yeast, that great fermenter, is an essential part of making any alcoholic beverage. It transforms carbs—potatoes, fruit, grains, sugar—into ethanol, a consumable form of alcohol that delivers that delightful feeling of well-being we humans so love.
- Top-fermenting yeasts—such as those used in craft ales—work at higher temperatures and produce a fruitier, sweeter beer than their bottom-fermenting counterparts used in drier-tasting, cold-brewed lagers.
- There are, however, different strains of top-fermenting yeasts that produce different results in the brewing process.
The top-fermenting Bavarian yeast Torulaspora delbrueckii, which Lambourne refers to as the “proper” Hefeweizen yeast, produces phenols and esters that impart the banana, bubblegum and clove flavors in German Hefeweizen. Traditional German Hefeweizen is not, however, easy to make, according to Charlie Papazian, author of several home-brewing books and president of the Brewers Association.
German-style wheat beer is actually one of the most difficult styles to brew,” he explains. “Partly because it requires the special yeast, but also because without the right equipment and temperature controls any one of the flavors can get over-accentuated and throw the beer out of balance.” Hop to it The yeast used in American-style Hefes—usually a strain of a typical ale yeast such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae —adds more to the appearance than the flavor.
These beers get their crispness and fruity, citrusy tang mostly from the use of wheat. Leaving in the yeast and protein particulates does add to the complexity (and provide some bready aromas and a fuller mouthfeel). But it’s a more prominent use of hops—which accentuates the inherent fruitiness—that makes them distinctive from and a little more robust than the German version.
- Rob Widmer believes Widmer Brothers’ treatment of hops is one of the defining characteristics of their Hefe.
- It has more hops than other bitter beers, but because it’s unfiltered, it has other stuff in there to balance the bitterness,” he says.
- The hop we use is that classic craft brewer hop, Cascade—made famous by Sierra Nevada in their Pale Ale—so you get that really nice citrusy, lemony flavor and aroma, but it’s balanced and smooth.” This may be a clue to the origin of the lemon slice that accompanies most pints of Hefeweizen served in the States—an origin as hazy as a pint of Hefeweizen itself.
Widmer figures this practice started at the Dublin Pub where the owner originally served the Widmers’ Weizenbier with a slice of lemon, a habit he continued with the Hefeweizen. When that beer caught on via the bartenders and waiters from other restaurants that drank at the Dublin Pub, adding lemon—thereby enhancing the beer’s prominent citrus flavor—became de rigueur.
- Eine zitrone, bitte! Adding a lemon slice to Hefeweizen is not tradition in Germany, though a certain style of Weizenbier ( Berliner Weisse ) is mixed with a variety of sweet syrups, so it’s not like German beer drinkers are too precious about adding fruity flavors to their beer.
- In north I have seen it, but very rarely,” says European beer expert Ron Pattinson of the lemon garnish.
“In the south, it would be seen as sacrilege to put anything in beer., Germans do make a Radler with Hefeweizen, mixing it 50-50 with lemonade.” Though Hefeweizen was first brewed in Germany, the country still drinks more bottom-fermented, filtered Pilsners.
- But wheat beers still enjoy varying degrees of regional popularity.
- Thirty years ago Weizen was unknown in the north,” says Pattinson.
- It’s quite a trendy drink, slightly more expensive than standard Pilsner and mostly drunk by the young.
- The situation is slightly different in the south, where it’s still the traditional drink of grannies.” The beer seems to be consumed by a wider audience in the U.S., but perhaps because in the American version the flavors are so approachable and easy-drinking, without the strong hoppy bitterness typical of many craft beers, Hefeweizen has sometimes been erroneously dubbed a “girlie beer.” And topping it off with a slice of lemon, well, they might as well just throw in a little paper umbrella, too, right? Rob Widmer says that’s nonsense.
Though he himself only rubs the rim of the glass with the lemon slice and then discards it, he has no problem with the practice of adding a squeeze of lemon to a pint of American Hefe and doesn’t think it diminishes its appeal to men. “Lemon is a nice flavor enhancer,” he points out.
“But it’s personal taste. If you like lemon, it works. If you don’t like lemon, the beer certainly doesn’t need it.” Granville Island’s Lambourne is staunchly against adding lemon to a German-style Hefe. “To me the beer has enough flavor without it,” he says. Customers at the brewery’s Taproom, however, have the choice.
“We do serve it with lemon, but we ask people if they have a preference. We get a lot of tourists from the States, and they’ll definitely want a lemon. German tourists don’t.” Bottoms up Whether or not you choose to drink it with lemon or prefer the exotic clove and banana flavors of the German version more than the citrusy American version, there is definite consensus on how the beer needs to be served when enjoying it at home: All the yeast and protein particulates that may settle in shipping need to end up in your glass.
Unlike wine sediment, which is an unwelcome addition, you want to decant every last drop in that Hefeweizen bottle to give it the distinctive cloudiness. This is where the fullness of the beer’s distinctive flavors lie. Start by pouring about two-thirds of the bottle into a glass and then, as the folks at Left Hand Brewing so eloquently suggest, “swirl the bottle to unleash the aromatics,” and empty its deliciously hazy contents.
There is, of course, a specific style of glassware you should be pouring that Hefeweizen into, if you’re so inclined. The traditional Weizenbier glass, which originated in the Bavaria region in southern Germany, holds a 500-milliliter bottle (that country’s standard size) with plenty of room for the thick, white head that wheat beers are known to produce.
- It’s narrow at the bottom, curvy toward the middle and slightly narrowed again at the rim.
- The Weizen glass is like a champagne flute,” says Pattinson, “designed to retain and highlight the high level of carbonation and help it form a dense head.” That carbonation is a result of bottle conditioning, whereby yeast is added to the bottle of beer before it’s capped to create a secondary fermentation.
Though Hefeweizen is hazy and unfiltered before the extra yeast is added, bottle conditioning is an important step in creating that classic cloudy look. And while other styles of beer taste better on tap, bottled Hefe offers at least one advantage—a zippier bit of carbonation.
- Draught Hefeweizen is, in fact, a relatively new phenomenon in Germany.
- Until the 1990s it was only ever a bottled beer,” says Pattinson of the German version.
- In taste, are essentially the same.” Widmer Brothers, however, first introduced their American version on tap and only started bottling it several years later.
Rob Widmer agrees that the differences between the two are minimal. “If they are of equal age and have had the same treatment, bottles and draught are indistinguishable. In taste panels, I get fooled all the time.” Draught or bottled, there’s no small amount of irony in the fact that a cloudy beer has become a summertime favorite.
Though brewed year-round in Germany (and by several craft brewers in the States), Hefeweizen is very popular as a seasonal beer. Its light fruitiness and zesty carbonation make it perfect for warm-weather drinking. “I think it’s just proven to be a really good thirst-quenching summer beer,” Lambourne says.
“I think people really appreciate the fruity-yeasty character without it being excessively bitter,” Papazian says. “It’s a friendly style. You can start a love affair with wheat beer pretty quickly.”
Is Oktoberfest a Hefeweizen?
Oktoberfest is not the only place you will see this German-style beer being consumed. Many American craft breweries feature their own version of the Hefeweizen, although it is not necessarily the same as the traditional German style.
Is Hefeweizen a breakfast beer?
Wheat beers – One culture in which beer for breakfast has a particularly long history is Germany, and a tall vase of hefeweizen is the traditional accompaniment to the “second breakfast” common in Bavaria. Light, spritzy and fragrant with yeasty aromas, hefeweizen is a wonderful option for a breakfast beer, whether you’re enjoying a light meal or tucking into a more hearty spread.
American-made hefeweizen can range from fruity and refreshingly tart to more spice-driven and grainy. Black Market Brewing in Temecula makes a well-balanced hefeweizen that fits easily into breakfast, while Heavenly Hefe from Craftsman Brewing in Pasadena may be the finest hefeweizen in Los Angeles (though you’ll have to find it on draft as Craftsman does not yet package its beer).
The Belgian wit style is another international brew that is comfortable at breakfast. With a light body and energetic effervescence, Witbiers are similar to hefeweizens, but the Belgian wheat beers are flavored with orange peel and spices. If you’re a fan of mimosas, try Allagash White,
Why is Hefeweizen so good?
How Do They Make Hefeweizen Beer? – Simply put, wheat, wheat and more wheat. Featuring up to 50-65% wheat in the mash, hefeweizens use and build on protein-rich wheat to create a style-defining head of thick foam. Many brewers use half wheat malt and half pilsner malt, which helps keep the beer pale in colour.
What beer is closest to a Hefeweizen?
59 of the Best Wheat Beers/Hefeweizens, Blind-Tasted and Ranked There was a time, in those heady craft beer days of yore, when seemingly every American brewery was producing a “wheat beer.” Those crisp but unfiltered beers largely fell into the “American pale wheat ale” category, and were consummate brewpub staples, along with the likes of amber ale, American pale ales and brown ales.
- You couldn’t visit a Midwestern brewpub in the early 2000s without finding a “wheat ale” on tap, probably served with a lemon wedge plunked into it.
- Today, as with so many other styles, the use of wheat in craft brewing has evolved.
- The American pale wheat ale is still a valid style, typified by the likes of Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat or Bell’s Oberon, but it’s not nearly as universal as it once was.
German-style hefeweizens have come on strong in American brewing, partially supplanting beers that were once made with cleaner fermenting American ale yeast. Fruited wheats have long been popular, as brewers use the relatively mild flavor profile of American pale wheat ales as a blank canvas to work with raspberry, blueberry, mango, watermelon and dozens of others.
Hoppy wheats have grown in popularity, sometimes blurring the line between true wheat ales and wheated session IPAs. And of course, wheat beers have been hugely affected by the rise of sour beer styles in America, as the vintage German beer style of Berliner weisse received a popular American makeover typified by strongly tart beers.
All of this makes the question of blind tasting wheat beers a question of which beers one should include. A tasting of solely American pale wheat ales seems a little boring, but at the same time it seems patently unfair to allow beer styles such as Berliner weisse into the mix.
In fact, the last time we did this, it was Belgian wits that tended to dominate the proceedings. As a result, to keep things more or less fair, we settled on the following: American pale wheats and German hefeweizens are allowed. Fruited beers are also acceptable, as long as they’re not marketed as sours.
No Belgian wits, as they seemed to have an advantage. No “wheat IPAs.” Obviously no wheatwines, or imperial wheat ales. Just some good old fashioned wheat beers. So let’s get into it. A Note on Beer Acquisition As in most of our blind tastings at Paste, the vast majority of these wheat beers are sent directly to the office by the breweries that choose to participate, with additional beers acquired by us via locally available purchases and the occasional trade.
- We always do our best to reach out to breweries we’re aware of that make exemplary versions of particular styles, but things always do slip through the cracks.
- We apologize for a few significant omissions—Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat being one of them—that we couldn’t acquire due to it not being present on the shelves in our local market.
There will never be a “perfect” tasting lineup, as much as we try. Rules and Procedure – As explained above, this is a tasting of American pale wheat ales/German hefeweizens. Belgian wits were not allowed, after they overperformed in the previous wheat beer tasting.
Sour beer styles such as Berliner weisse were not allowed. Fruited examples were allowed, as were “hoppy wheats.” The cut-off: If the beer is labeled as “IPA,” it can’t be in this tasting. The alcohol limit was set at 7% ABV. – There was a limit of two entries per brewery. The beers were separated into daily blind tastings that approximated a sample size of the entire field.
– Tasters included professional beer writers, brewery owners and beer reps. Awesome, Paste -branded glassware – Beers were judged completely blind by how enjoyable they were as individual experiences and given scores of 1-100, which were then averaged.
- Entries were judged by how much we enjoyed them for whatever reason, not by how well they fit any kind of preconceived style guidelines.
- As such, this is not a BJCP-style tasting.
- The Field: Wheat Beers #59-21 By and large, it’s safe to say that we probably gravitated more toward classic-style wheat beers in this tasting than examples with bombastic fruit flavors or spices.
There were some entries in here that had the kind of syrupy, artificially sweet fruit profiles you’ve no doubt experienced yourself in certain wheat beers. With that said, there were also some fine hefeweizens and pale wheats in this portion of the ranking, and we’d be happy to down a few on a warm spring day on the patio.
- All in all, this tasting delivered beer that was on average quite solid if unremarkable—very few that were genuinely gross or objectionable.
- As always, the beers in the field are simply presented below in alphabetical order, which means they are not ranked,
- I repeat: These beers are not ranked,
- Alpine Willy Vanilly Anchor Mango Wheat DC Brau El Hefe Speaks Destihl Weisenheimer Fieldwork Field Trial Full Sail Session Wheat Gizmo Beekeeper Honey Wheat Gneiss Weiss Golden Road Hefe Good People Bearded Lady Green Flash Passion Fruit Kicker Indeed Summer Shenanigans Jailhouse Slammer Wheat JP’s Healani Pineapple Hefeweizen Kona Wailua Wheat Leavenworth Biers Blackbird Hopfenweizen Leavenworth Biers Whistling Pig Hefe Maui Pineapple Mana New Belgium Sunshine NOLA Green Wave North Coast Blue Star Odell Easy Street Wheat Omaha Nada Banana Paulaner Hefe SanTan Hefe SanTan Mr.
Pineapple Second Self Thai Wheat Silver City Hefe Smartmouth Summer Fling Hefe Starr Hill The Love Troegs Dream Weaver Tucher Hefe Two Roads No Limits 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon UFO Hefe UFO Raspberry Unknown Ginger Wheat Weihenstephaner Dunkelweizen The Final: Wheat Beers #20-1 20.
NOLA 7th Street Wheat City: New Orleans, LA ABV: 4.5% The verdict: A good illustration of how difficult it can be to identify specific spice notes when tasting blind, NOLA’s 7th Street Wheat obviously has some kind of spice adjunct on the nose, but you probably wouldn’t identify it as basil without some kind of prompting.
In truth, several of the tasters’ minds drifted to ginger, likely due to the fact that we’d tasted several other ginger wheats over the course of this tasting. This beer, however, is nicely executed, with a subtlety and balance to the spicing that doesn’t interfere with its drinkability.
Light, bready and crisp, it packs a light, lemon citrus tang and moderately assertive basil spiciness. Refreshing on its own, it would probably be a great seafood accompaniment in a pairing. It’s a solid, easy drinking wheat beer with an additional x-factor to set it apart.19. Hofbräu München Hefeweizen City: München, Germany ABV: 5.4% The verdict: As with any predominantly German style, it’s always interesting to see which of the German breweries rise out of the pack and assert themselves.
Hofbräu certainly doesn’t have the unassailable pedigree here possessed by the likes of Weihenstephaner, but they’re making an interesting hefeweizen that is significantly different in profile from some of the other German examples. It doesn’t have the big banana esters you find in almost all the other German examples; rather it’s more wheat malt-forward, with some floral hops and an additional hoppy/green quality that is actually on the dank side.
Light clovey character reminds you that this is still a hefe, but it’s off the beaten path as far as the German examples of this style are concerned. With a smooth, creamy mouthfeel, it goes down easy but doesn’t feel insubstantial.18. Sly Fox Brewing Co. Royal Weisse City: Phoenixville, PA ABV: 5.4% The verdict: Sly Fox refers to this classic beer (one of their longtime year-rounders) as a Bavarian-style hefe, but it strikes us as more of an Americanized example, in a good way.
All tasters agreed that this was very much an example of “bready” flavors in a wheat beer, that combination of yeasty and grainy quality that reminds one of fresh bread crust. There’s some accompanying lemon citrus, but in general this isn’t terribly complex beer and it’s not trying to wow you with grandiose flavors.
- It earns points for being very clean and crisp, with no flaws—a better example of that classic brewpub wheat ale than you would likely have found in the ‘90s.
- It’s a rock-solid version of a classic style.17.
- Brew Gentlemen Tiny Tross City: Braddock, PA ABV: 4.2% The verdict: We had two different wheat beers from Brew Gentlemen, a brewery we’ve been hoping to sample again ever since they came in #2 out of 247 IPAs in our last IPA ranking, and predictably both of their entries are very tasty hop bombs.
This beer would obviously qualify as “session IPA” if they chose to label it as such, but the brewery calls it an American pale wheat ale, and so we’ll treat it as such. This one is single-hopped with Galaxy, which leads to a massively citrusy, juicy nose in particular, redolent with tangerine and pineapple.
It’s an incredibly inviting aromatic bouquet that most breweries would kill to get on their session IPA, but on the palate you find a beer that is drier and a bit less juicy than expected. Orange juicy flavors are predominant, but the wheat malt is very soft, with no hop-derived bitterness. It drinks extremely easily, but could perhaps have used a bit more malt body or residual sweetness to feel more substantial.
Still, that nose is an amazing thing.16. The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (OMB) Hornet’s Nest City: Charlotte, NC ABV: 5.4% The verdict: Here’s a hefe that seems to split the difference between the American and German interpretations of the style, and does so quite successfully.
- There’s plenty of wheat malt-driven flavor, with bread crust and a bit of more toasted malt, which gives it a hint of sweetness.
- Lemon citrus is light, and makes good bedfellows with some light banana esters, but nothing too over the top.
- The creamy, silky mouthfeel is one thing that sets Hornet’s Nest apart—we tasted a good number of beers in this lineup with similar flavors, but few of them had such a pleasant texture.
In a style like hefeweizen, those little things go a long way.15. Bell’s Oberon City: Kalamazoo, MI ABV: 5.8% The verdict: An enormously popular seasonal beer throughout the Midwest, Oberon has long been treated by its legions of devotees in Michigan as an institution.
- Our own opinion of it has tended to vary from year to year—sometimes it has struck us as a bit too sweet, and oddly fruity for an American pale wheat ale, but this year we’re back on the Oberon train.
- It’s definitely off-dry, with more body than some of the other, similar beers on the table, and there’s a light current of orangey citrus and sweeter, pineapple-like fruitiness running through it.
But at the same time, this year we’re also getting a bit more of Oberon’s hop character than in the past, which helps act as a balancing agent. The hops impart a bit of herbal, spicy buzz that adds complexity and just a touch of drying bitterness that goes a long way.
All in all this might be the best that Oberon has ever tasted, so good on ya, Bell’s.14. Two Roads Road Jam City: Stratford, CT ABV: 5% The verdict: Unsurprisingly, there were plenty of fruited wheat beers in this tasting, and lots of raspberry ones in particular. Some of those we found distractingly artificial or cloyingly sweet, which pretty much immediately removes them from contention.
This beer, on the other hand, made with both red and black raspberries along with fresh lemongrass, is more enjoyably authentic. From the color alone, there’s no way you’re going to be able to miss that this beer is fruited, but the two styles of raspberry give it a bit of much-needed complexity.
- On the nose, the beer’s name is fitting—it is indeed jammy.
- Boysenberry jam,” begins one of the tasting sheets.
- Delivers on fruit while staying semi-dry.” All in all, it strikes a good balance between the overt fruitiness that its target demographic presumably desires, and the drinkability that comes with a dry finish.
That puts it ahead of the curve, as far as fruited, non-tart wheat ales are concerned.13. Ayinger Brau Weisse City: Aying, Germany ABV: 5.1% The verdict: Another one of the classic German hefes that comes to us from across the pond, Ayinger’s wheat beer does not skimp on flavor.
Bubblegum fruitiness sets it apart on the nose, chased by clovey spice and a smallish banana ester, but the bubblegum is likely what you’ll remember. Unlike some of the German entries that didn’t score as well, this one doesn’t have the musty note that some of these beers get after a long trip to the U.S.
and subsequent time sitting on store shelves under fluorescent lights. Doughy malt flavors combine with a bit of peppery spice on the palate, and hard-to-place fruity esters that are a touch exotic in profile. Perhaps a tad maltier than some of the other American takes on hefeweizen, it still drinks easy. 12. Widmer Hefeweizen City: Portland, OR ABV: 4.9% The verdict: Okay, bear with us on this one: When is the last time you had really, really fresh Widmer Hefeweizen? The better question might be, have you ever had really fresh Widmer Hefeweizen? This flagship beer has been around since 1986, but the fact that it’s so accessible means that few of us have ever really had it at the peak of its flavor, and it turns out that can make quite a difference.
This is something we now know, because the crafty folks at Widmer went out of their way to send “SUPER FRESH HEFEWEIZEN” (their emphasis) to Paste via crowler rather than cans or bottles, and the gambit totally paid off, because this beer when very fresh is a pretty lovely thing. Very bready, and redolent in yeasty, bread crusty flavors, it’s supported by a squeeze of lemon citrus and the very light ghost of banana, with excellent balance.
There is malt complexity here, at least for drinkers who enjoy dry, grainy, bready wheat beers, but it would be easy to overlook. Don’t sleep on this old-school beer, if you have a way of getting it at the peak of its freshness. Also: We somehow misplaced the photo we took of this one.
- Brew Kettle Der Sommer Weizen City: Strongsville, OH ABV: 4.5% The verdict: Holy banana bread, this beer is bringing those banana esters with a vengeance.
- Hefe fans take note: If your taste in wheat beers is all about banana, then you will want to seek this one out.
- It’s a classic German-style hefe otherwise, with supporting malt flavors that are both grainy and bready, but the calling card is very ripe, moderately sweet banana.
It has a bit more residual sugar than some of the other American hefes, which gives the banana flavors the character of a fully ripened, sweet dessert banana with plenty of brown spots—personally, that’s exactly how I like my bananas. It makes this beer slightly more decadent than some of the others, while being only 4.5% ABV, which means it’s packing a ton of flavor into a relatively small frame.
- This one is small but mighty.10.
- Boulder Beer Co.
- Sweaty Betty Blonde City: Boulder, CO ABV: 5.2% The verdict: “Blonde” may appear on the label, but this beer is a Bavarian-style hefe, and a pretty good American take on the style at that.
- Weihenstephaner yeast gives it some of the banana and clove ester character that you would expect, but it’s not as pronounced as it would be in most German-made examples of the style.
This beer, rather, reins in strength of the yeast-derived aromatics and leans a bit more on the wheat malt. Crisp, grainy flavors are supported by lemon citrus (I feel like I’ve already said this a lot in these reviews, but it’s true) and light banana.
- Very easy drinking, this beer is a definite quaffer.
- Not complicated; it settles into an ideal middle ground between the influences of German hefeweizen and American pale wheat.9.
- SweetWater Grass Monkey City: Atlanta, GA ABV: 5.4% The verdict: This unique new seasonal wheat from SweetWater hinges on two key ingredients: Lemondrop hops and fresh lemongrass, which combine to form a profile that is significantly different than anything else in the tasting.
This isn’t to say we didn’t have other citrusy or hop-forward wheat beers here, such as the ones from Brew Gentlemen, but this beer maintains its “wheat ale” quality while simultaneously giving you a gentle hop and herbal profile suitable to say, an American pale ale.
On the nose, it’s both citrus forward and rather dank, with a grassy, green quality that made significantly more sense once the tasters saw it was a SweetWater product. The lemongrass contributes both of the disparate flavors in its name, but overall the most impressive aspect is the fact that the hop/grass addition doesn’t completely overshadow the rest of the beer—it only hints to you that there’s something unusual going on.
Well conceived, well executed.8. Schlafly Raspberry Hefeweizen City: St. Louis, MO ABV: 4.1% The verdict: The name is raspberry “hefe,” but this beer is better described as a great example of the classic “raspberry wheat” brewpub staple, closer to the American pale wheat style.
Fresh, jammy raspberry explodes on the nose—really a beautiful essence of raspberry, and surprising in a blind tasting, given that unlike some of the other raspberry beers, this one doesn’t have quite the same pinkish hue. Also surprising is the fact that the raspberry presence doesn’t carry over nearly as strongly on the palate.
They managed to make a beer here with a really lovely raspberry nose, and a hint of tart raspberry flavor, that then dries out immediately, within a few seconds of taking a sip. It’s likely that the lower ABV helps here, but what it gives you is the best of both worlds—decadent aroma, but without all the cloying sugar or artificiality on the palate.
For that reason, it’s absurdly drinkable. This raspberry beer surely won’t be to everyone’s taste, as some drinkers will want much more residual sweetness and pronounced raspberry flavor, but to us this is simply a more elegant version of a classic brewpub style.7. Three Floyds Gumballhead City: Munster, IN ABV: 5.6% The verdict: Gumballhead may be the only wheat beer with a bigger cult following in the Midwest than Bell’s Oberon, but then again, most beers from Three Floyds fall into that same categorization.
This has long been the gold medal example of “hoppy American wheat” as a separate entity from American pale ale or session IPA, and to their credit, Three Floyds does rein in the hop rate on this beer compared to the likes of Alpha King or Zombie Dust.
Floral and orange blossomy hops (one taster insisted it was more of a stone fruit character) are quite nice on the nose, which leads into a fairly neutral profile of lightly bready malt. It is, dare we say, fairly balanced, with orangey citrus hops on the palate that blend with the wheat malt to give it just a touch of Creamsicle/Dreamsicle whimsy.
This might be the most subtle of all the hop-forward beers from Three Floyds, but you get the sense they hit exactly what they were going for.6. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier City: Freising, Germany ABV: 5.4% The verdict: You knew this one would end up somewhere near the top, right? THE classic German hefeweizen, from the oldest brewery in the world, it’s Weihenstephaner.
- The issue with this beer, in the U.S., is hoping that the stuff you find is on the fresher side, rather than something that’s been sitting in a hot warehouse.
- That may have knocked this bottle down just a tad when all is said and done, but regardless, it’s still the highest rated beer on the table that was actually produced in Germany.
The hefe yeast note on the nose is immediately massive—there’s no doubt the second you smell it as to where it was made. Clovey spice leads the way, rather than banana, with tons of bready wheat flavors. “German for sure,” reads one tasting sheet. “Huge yeast character, yummy.” It tastes like a beer that someone has been making from the same recipe for decades, which is only fitting.
- Weihenstephaner is like an old man playing chess in the park who demolishes all the young whippersnappers as they come along and foolishly challenge him to a game.5.
- Funky Buddha Floridian City: Oakland Park, FL ABV: 5.2% The verdict: Among the top hefeweizens, it’s interesting to note the specific flavor notes that stand out as signatures of each.
For example, where the Weihenstephaner is more strongly redolent in the clove-like phenols, Funky Budda’s Floridian leans the other direction into the banana-esque esters. The overall character is a bit “banana bread”—probably not quite as much as the earlier mentioned Brew Kettle beer, but in the same vein.
A touch of honey-like sweetness makes a pleasant counterpoint to bready malt, which reminds one of say, an English muffin at breakfast. Some bubblegum fruitiness adds complexity, in what is just a superior American hefeweizen (in the German style) all around. An excellent beer.4. Schlafly Hefeweizen City: St.
Louis, MO ABV: 4.1% The verdict: So yeah, it will quickly become apparent here at the end that St. Louis as a whole performed extremely well in the arena of wheat beers, but neither of the entries from Schlafly that performed so well are truly traditional in profile.
This beer is labeled as hefeweizen, but purists would no doubt object to that categorization—when you inhale the aroma, the first thing you notice instead are floral and spicy noble hops. In effect, what it comes off as is a rather beautiful marriage between wheat beer and German-style helles lager or pilsner, with a crisp, grainy malt profile and plenty of balancing floral hops.
In short, it’s sort of like the hop-appreciator’s wheat beer, but at the same time it’s quite distinct from the Three Floyds or Brew Gentlemen offerings, because it’s not smacking you with citrusy American hop varietals. It’s just weird enough to be completely unique in this tasting, and we dig that.3.
Brew Gentlemen Overgrowth City: Braddock, PA ABV: 5.2% The verdict: If you want a pale wheat ale that you’d swear was a session IPA, just call Brew Gentlemen. This beer is bigger and fuller than the equally hoppy Tiny Tross, and hopped with Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin instead of Galaxy. As a result, it’s more complex on the nose; less purely citrusy and more a melange of tropical fruit and dank, resinous notes that make it easy to imagine why they named it “Overgrowth.” Like the Tiny Tross, bitterness is quite low and the mouthfeel is quite soft, but it still has more bitterness and structure than the smaller, 4.2% ABV beer.
On the palate, the beer is juicy and tropical, with big pineapple-type fruitiness, along with green, grassy flavors. The wheat malt is in there somewhere, but this is 100% a hop showcase—once again, we’re fine with this as long as they’re choosing to market it as “American pale wheat” and not using the words “IPA” anywhere in the marketing copy.
It’s very drinkable, intensely hoppy but soft and approachable; everything you’d expect in modern, cloudy, hop-forward beer styles.2. Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz City: St. Louis, MO ABV: 4.8% The verdict: This is one of those beers we never seem to be able to praise enough. As we’ve written about in previous tastings—pilsner, marzen and the last time we tasted wheat beers—we have yet to encounter any American brewery that consistently brews classic German styles as cleanly and superbly as St.
Louis’ Urban Chestnut. This is just what these guys do best, and it’s well past time that everyone else shared our esteem. Schnickelfritz is a prototypical German hefeweizen that differentiates itself by being just a bit cleaner, crisper and brighter than almost all the other American examples.
- Banana and clove are perfectly in harmony and balance on the nose, in a way that you couldn’t mistake for any other beer style.
- Crisp, grainy malt is fairly unobtrusive, and there’s a slight, almost vanilla-like sweetness rounding everything out.
- In our eyes, this is more or less perfection.1.
- Live Oak Hefeweizen City: Del Valle, TX ABV: 5.2% The verdict: Okay, well now we know why many critics and fans have called this the best American-made hefeweizen on the market.
Live Oak is one of those breweries that has been building hype in Texas for years, and I’ve been hearing about them nearly as long, but this is their first appearance in a Paste tasting. Suffice to say, it looks like they could form a terrifying hurdle alongside Urban Chestnut for any upcoming tastings of German beer styles, because Live Oak Hefeweizen is the truth.
- In fact, of all the other beers in the tasting, the one it reminds you of the most is the Weihenstephaner.
- It’s very authentically German on the nose—you would almost certainly think it was imported, rather than American, thanks to the pronounced, nuanced clove phenol in particular, and a touch of bubblegum fruitiness.
Beyond that, banana bread and spice assert themselves in a gentle way, blending with a creamy, bready malt backbone. It’s exactly what you would describe if someone was asking you to tell them what the style of hefeweizen was all bout. It’s a spectacular brew, and it’s our #1 wheat beer.
Is Stella Artois Belgian white?
It’s Belgian, not French. – Stella Artois was originally brewed in Leuven, Belgium, a small city east of Brussels. Currently the best-selling beer in Belgium, it’s also brewed around the world, including in the U.K. and Australia.
Is Hefeweizen the same as weissbier?
Hefeweizen – Originating in the 1520s in Bavaria, Germany Hefeweizen is a type of weissbier. The style actually managed to exist outside of the Bavarian Purity Law, which stated that beer could only be made with: barley, hops, water and yeast. This was possible because those in charge, the Dukes of Wittelsbach, made an amendment called Weissbierregal or the “right to brew wheat beer” that allowed a single brewery to make weissbier.
This was the case until the final Duke of Degenberg died without an heir. Then Duke Maximilian I expanded production to more breweries because he felt there was economic potential in weissbier. In 1856, Georg I. Schneider was the first commoner granted the right to brew wheat beer. Today, G. Scheider & Sohn make one of the most popular versions.
Hefeweizen came to America with German immigrants in the 19th Century, but it wasn’t until the 1980s when craft brewers really started to embrace the style. Translating to “yeast wheat” in English, hefeweizen is essentially an unfiltered wheat beer with yeast in it.
- The style typically features up to 50-60% wheat in the mash, which gives a hefeweizen added bitterness and a signature head of thick white foam.
- Hefeweizens are also known for their banana and clove, even hints of vanilla or bubblegum, flavor and aroma.
- It is cloudy and slightly white in appearance, but with that thick foamy head.
Hefeweizens are crispy, sweet, fruity and highly drinkable and usually fall in the 4.0 to 7.0% ABV range.
Do Belgians drink Stella?
The Oxford Companion to Beer Definition of Stella Artois The Oxford Companion to Beer definition of Stella Artois is an “international pilsner” beer brand currently owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev and distributed all over the world with an alcohol by volume of either 5% or 5.2% depending on the location.
Stella Artois is brewed under contract in Australia and the UK but originates from the Belgian town of Leuven where, according to tax records, the Den Horen (the horn) Brewery resided as far back as 1366. Although the Stella Artois logo of a horn and much of the brand marketing pays homage to the Den Horen name and the date of 1366, the name Artois was not associated with the brewery until the 18th century when Sebastian Artois, the brewmaster, lent it his name in 1717.
More than 200 years later, in 1926, Stella Artois was released as a limited edition Christmas beer meaning “star.” Having found favor in its native Belgium, it was launched as a permanent beer and, by 1930, was being exported to other European countries.
Belgium is famous for its distinctive and flavorful ales, so many beer enthusiasts are surprised to find that fairly bland international pilsners account for more than 70% of the Belgian beer market. In Belgium, Stella Artois is considered a very ordinary beer at best—the top selling beer in Belgium is its stablemate, Jupiler.
One of the most successful markets for Stella Artois was in the UK during the 1980s and 1990s when its “Reassuringly Expensive” advertising campaign and strong links with cinema established it as the leading premium lager brand, selling 3 million barrels a year in 2001.
However, the Stella star has since waned amid associations with binge drinking, so-called lager louts, and the beer’s unfortunate UK nickname, “wife-beater.” Despite this, Stella Artois remains one of the world’s most popular lager brands and a leading import brand in the United States. It is brewed using hops, barley, maize, water, and yeast.
Ben McFarland : The Oxford Companion to Beer Definition of Stella Artois
Why does Hefeweizen taste like banana?
If you’ve ever had a Hefeweizen-style beer – and I’m guessing you have if you’re reading this blog (and if you haven’t – what are you doing with your life?) – then you are familiar with what is arguably the most distinguishing trait of a Hefeweizen: banana flavor, but not just any banana flavor – artificial banana flavor. That banana flavor and smell is called isoamyl acetate and is what is known as an ester, which is the largest group of flavor compounds in alcoholic beverages. Esters are formed by the reactions of organic acids and alcohols created during fermentation.
In fact, the naming convention for esters is alcohol for the first word and acid for the second word, hence isoamyl is the alcohol part of the reaction during fermentation and acetate is the acid. The yeast strain used for fermentation is the most important factor in isoamyl acetate production, although isoamyl acetate is present in all beers.
Hefeweizen and Belgian yeast strains will produce very high levels of isoamyl acetate, which is why Hefeweizen beers have such a pronounced banana flavor and aroma, but American-style wheat beers do not. Fun fact: Brettanomyces is very good at breaking up isoamyl acetate into its individual components, so you won’t find Brett and isoamyl acetate together in a beer. Bad news for any of you who have been daydreaming about a funky, farmhouse-y, banana beer. But why doesn’t isoamyl acetate taste like an actual banana? Actually, it does taste very similar to what used to be the most popular strain of banana in the Western world, known as the Gros Michel, which is also known as Big Mike. Yes, the most popular banana used to be known as Big Mike.
Big Mike the Banana sounds like the official fruit of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, doesn’t it? Although since my pedantry knows no bounds, I also have to tell you that well, actually, bananas are berries, During the 20th century, Panama disease (a type of fungus called Fusarium oxysporum) wiped out almost all the Big Mikes.
As it turns out, another strain of banana, known as the Cavendish banana. was resistant to Panama disease and thus became the most popular banana strain. The Gros Michel banana is still grown by banana enthusiasts (you could say they’re. bananimated when discussing their hobby) and is described as having a more monotonous flavor, which is to say they have a very high concentration of isoamyl acetate, much higher than the more familiar Cavendish bananas.
I guess it’s fair to say that the Cavendish banana ain’t no hollaback girl when it comes to Panama disease. Because even I’m not lame enough to end a blog post with that reference, here’s a link to the post I did last year on the difference between esters and phenols, October 31, 2017 esters, phenols, isoamyl acetate, fermentation, yeast, Hefeweizen, wheat beer, Gros Michel, Big Mike, banana, Cavendish, puns, Gwen Stefani, Under the Jenfluence, pear drops, circus peanuts, bubblegum, Laffy Taffy, bananas, artificial banana, Mr.
Rogers, Hollaback Girl Comment Previous
Is Hefeweizen Bavarian?
Hefeweizen is a German (and specifically, Bavarian) beer style, and its etymology can be broken down into ‘hefe’—yeast—and ‘weizen’—wheat. True to its name, this beer delivers a yeast-forward flavor profile in a wheat beer.
What malt is in Hefeweizen?
Hefeweizen is a delight for the senses. By law, authentic Bavarian examples must be brewed with at least 50 percent wheat malt, though 60 to 70 percent is more common. The large fraction of wheat in the grist contributes a bready flavor with a soft, pillowy mouthfeel and a medium-full body.
What is the difference between lager and Hefeweizen?
The main difference is that lagers are brewed with bottom-fermenting yeast, while wheat beers are brewed with top-fermenting yeast. This gives each type of beer its own unique flavor profile. Lagers tend to be clean and crisp, while wheat beers can be more fruity and flavorful (especially sour wheat beers!).
What types of beer are ale vs lager?
What exactly is the difference between ales and lagers? – The basic difference between these two major beer classifications is how they are fermented. Ales are fermented with top-fermenting yeast at warm temperatures (60˚–70˚F), and lagers are fermented with bottom-fermenting yeast at cold temperatures (35˚–50˚F). The birth of the Pilsner style in the 1800’s introduced much of the world to lagers. Virtually all beer before then were ales since yeast was not known as an ingredient and cold fermentation would have been difficult. Both ales and lagers can be produced today with relative ease.
However, in the current craft beer market ales are typically more common among craft brewers because ale yeast can produce beer in as little as 7 days, making it more convenient for small breweries who may not have the fermenter space to produce lagers on a regular basis. In medieval Europe, ale, along with bread, was a very important source of nutrition.
During this time, people (including children) drank small beer, which was unfiltered and porridge-like in consistency, but highly nutritious, with just enough alcohol (1% ABV) to act as a preservative. This provided nutrition and hydration without the effects of alcohol or the dangers of water. The advancement of technology played an important part in the advancement of Ales and Lagers. The Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 actually stated that beer could only be make of grain, hops, and water. It made no mention of yeast since it was an unknown ingredient.
The ability to see yeast strains under a microscope and advent of refrigeration in the 1800s altered the course of beer history for the next century. In the late 19th and most of the 20th centuries saw the dramatic rise of lager beer. The mellow taste and lower alcohol content led to the take over of pilsner-style beers.
Thankfully, ale has made a resurgence in the past 40 years. As of 1974, there were just 55 breweries operating in the United States. They were mass producing the flavorless, watered down “lager” a true craft beer lover would not be caught dead drinking.
Today, there are more than 6,000 breweries in operation, creating ales, lagers and combinations of the two that have brought beauty and art back to brewing. So, what’s the bottom line when it comes to beer? All beer is either an ale or a lager (or hybrid). This is not determined by color, flavor or alcohol strength, but by the fermentation technique and yeast used in brewing.
The only detectable difference between and ale or a lager is the presence of esters in ale. These esters are produced in greater quantities during warm fermentation. This is why they are more present in ales due to their warm fermentation. We are experiencing a brewing renaissance, and it has given beer lovers an abundance of flavor and character in our beer choices with flavor and character.