How do you brew hefeweizen

Wheat beer / wheat

A wheat beer (or Hefeweizen or wheat beer, in short: wheat) must always meet two criteria in order for it to be declared a wheat beer:

  1. Wheat beer always has to top-fermented be.
  2. Wheat beer must always be with you Wheat malt be brewed, with at least 50 percent of the bulk (that means that the other 50 percent of the malt consumed does not have to be wheat malt, such as barley malt).

These two requirements must be met for a beer to be allowed to be designated as wheat beer.

Characteristics of wheat beer

  • Colour: Straw-like to golden yellow (EBC color values ​​are roughly between 4 and 12), dark wheat beers are naturally in the dark brown color range.
  • Clarity: The wheat beer usually has a clear yeast cloudiness (hence also called Hefeweizen).
  • Malt aroma and taste: Rather low to medium strong.
  • Hop aroma and hop taste: Classically almost imperceptible. However, more and more experimental wheat beers with a clearly intense hop aroma are brewed.
  • Overall taste: Phenolic characteristics such as clove, nutmeg or vanilla, as well as banana aromas due to the ester. Dark wheat beers can also have malt, roasted and chocolate aromas.
  • Bitter (IBU): Hefeweizen is one of the beer styles with the lowest hop bitterness, averaging between 10 and 15 IBU.
  • Body: medium to full-bodied (mainly depending on whether it is a light or a dark wheat beer).
  • Alcohol content: Average at 4 to 5.5 percent by volume.

In terms of color, taste and the expression of the different characteristics, the wheat beer offers a lot of leeway, so that it does not always have to have that often widespread banana aroma. Even in a scientific sense, due to the diverse possibilities that wheat beer brings with it, one does not speak of the one wheat beer. The taste can, for example, be dominated by the typical banana, fruit, yeast / bread or clove aroma, often accompanied by a medium sweetness. However, the aroma can also contain several of these characteristics. Wheat beers interpreted in a modern way can also have a clearer hop bitterness or hop aroma.

Wheat beer categories

Due to this complexity, a distinction should always be made between sub-categories. These include, above all, the classic wheat beers, the phenolic wheat beers and the neutral wheat beers.

The classic wheat beers are those that are often mentioned as typical representatives of wheat beer. The well-known fruit and banana taste is particularly characteristic. The so-called esters, chemical compounds that are desired as fermentation by-products of top-fermenting yeast, are responsible for the banana taste. But why don't all wheat beers have a banana flavor when they have to be brewed with top-fermented yeast? This is because the formation of esters can be promoted by various factors that the brewer has a direct influence on. On the one hand, higher temperatures during the fermentation process mean that more esters are formed. A higher concentration of the wort and a higher degree of final fermentation also promote the formation of the fermentation by-product responsible for the banana taste.

Phenolic wheat beers generally taste more spicy, which is commonly described as a nutmeg or clove aroma. Like esters, phenols are fermentation by-products. Of course it is also the case that phenolic wheat beers, whose aroma profile is mainly dominated by their spicy character, can also contain fruit and banana aromas. The aroma profile can be complex and contain characteristics of the individual "types". Of course, that depends on how the brewer wants his beer.

Neutral wheat beers should not appear too dominant in their taste profile. For example, no aromas of banana, nutmeg or clove should be in the foreground.

This classification in terms of taste is followed by the options for color differentiations: Does the brewer want to make a light wheat beer, would he like to make a dark one, or would he prefer an amber-colored one? Depending on the color, different malts are used, which in turn also influence the taste. For example, dark barley malt gives the beer a more full-bodied taste than light barley malt (at this point the reminder that at least 50 percent of the pouring must be wheat malt). Combinations with other types of malt are therefore common, for example with a wort volume of 51 liters the proportion of wheat malt can be 2.5 kg, the proportion of Pilsener malt 2.0 kg and the proportion of Munich malt 0.5 kg. This complexity shows that, even if wheat beer is an official beer style, the brewer has a very great opportunity to interpret and define his wheat beer, as long as he brews top-fermented and uses at least 50 percent wheat malt.

Buy wheat beers

Good wheat beer is usually very easy to get in Germany. Every beverage market has at least a few types on offer. If you want something a little more unusual wheat, you will find it at Bier Deluxe:

The crystal wheat

In the 1960s, almost only crystal wheat was served in Germany. This beer, also known as champagne wheat, is filtered to remove all yeast residues and suspended matter. The trend today is clearly again in the direction of naturally cloudy wheat beers, which means that crystal wheat is part of the dying genus. However, some, especially larger, breweries continue to offer this variety.

Master brewer Simon Rossmann from Giesinger Bräu about wheat beer:

The importance of hops in wheat beers

Traditionally, hops have been of secondary importance for wheat beers. In the course of the craft beer development, however, this point of view is changing noticeably, so that more and more craft beer breweries are brewing wheat beers that are heavily stuffed with aroma hops. The top-fermenting yeast is particularly suitable for the so-called hop plug, as it is able to form glycosidic bonds. The fruity aromas of the hops harmonize very nicely with the already fruity aromas of the (classic) wheat beer.

>> Brew your own wheat beer with the beer brewing set from Braufässchen >>

The problem of cloudy wheat beers

If a wheat beer tastes a bit dull and rancid, it may be due to the so-called autolysis. This is the process when the yeast still present in the beer releases enzymes which the yeast cells digest themselves. The yeast cells burst, so to speak, which means that what is inside the cell passes into the beer and creates the undesirable taste. It is therefore a self-destructive process that starts above all when the yeast no longer has any nutrients for its catalytic processes. Wheat beers are therefore often pasteurized after secondary fermentation, but heating the beer is always associated with a certain loss of aroma. It is therefore true that wheat beers, or naturally cloudy beers, should generally be drunk fresh.

Where does the “white” in wheat beer come from?

There are different theories about this. A more mythological explanation is that wheat beer breweries originally had a white facade. More logical, however, is the explanation that the name originated in the yeast, which, as is typical with top-fermenting yeast, rises with a whitish color during fermentation. Another explanation is that the wheat beer originally had a much whiter color than the wheat beer we know today.

You can find an interview with the wheat beer pope Georg Schneider here >>

Nutrients of wheat beer / wheat beer

It is often said that wheat beer is healthy because of its B vitamins. The fact is that it actually contains B vitamins. The fact that the statement that wheat beer is healthy can be derived from this can perhaps be viewed as a little too optimistic. What is actually healthy, and especially in what quantities? We cannot and do not want to answer this question at this point. If you still want to find out more, you can find the nutritional values ​​contained in wheat beer below (light, 3.5% by volume).

  • kcal 38
  • kJ 160
  • Density (kcal / g) 0.4
  • Total carbohydrates (g) 3
  • Mono / Di (g) contains traces
  • Poly (g) 3
  • Ball (g) 0.0
  • NaCl (mg) 10
  • Na (mg) 4
  • K (mg) 35
  • Ca (mg) 2
  • Mg (mg) 10
  • P (mg) 20
  • Fe (mg) contains traces
  • Zn (mg) contains traces
  • B1 (mg) contains traces
  • B2 (mg) 0.04
  • B6 (mg) 0.04
  • B12 (µg) 0.1
  • Folic acid (µg) 4

(Source: German Nutrition Society)

Pour wheat beer

Pouring wheat beer properly is a small art that is not so easy to master. The correct pouring is first and foremost a tradition that is to be understood as a visual prelude, because the eye not only eats, it also drinks! The glass must be pre-rinsed with cold and clear water. This step serves to ensure that the foaming of the wheat beer does not become too violent and leads to an excessive loss of carbonic acid. Then the glass has to be held at an angle and 3/4 of the wheat beer has to be poured. As the filling volume increases, the beer glass must be lifted upright. The yeast must now be loosened from the bottom of the bottle with circular movements and poured into the standing glass. This is how you get a perfect crown. Classically, you can also hear that wheat beer can be poured "overhead". We advise against this, however, as this technique on the one hand requires a lot of practice, on the other hand, experience has shown that it is associated with too high a loss of carbon dioxide and with a sub-optimal head of foam.

Classic mistakes when pouring wheat beer:

1. Wheat beer glasses must not be washed in the dishwasher, as even small residues have a negative impact on the quality of the head.

2. Commercially available detergents should not be used, as residues will also damage the foam head.

3. The wheat beer glasses should not be repolished after the rinsing process, since even small fibers in the cloth impair the foaming of the wheat beer when poured.

4. In the case of poorly rinsed wheat beer glasses that still have residues of fat, for example, the head of the foam collapses more quickly.

5. The wheat beer bottle must not be held with the neck in the beer glass, as the foam head cannot be built up optimally by piercing the foam head with the bottle neck.

6. When the wheat beer is poured, the glass is not held flat enough, so that the beer foams too much and loses too much carbon dioxide. An angle of approx. 50 degrees is recommended!

Wheat Pale Ale - a form of wheat

Wheat beer is being given more and more attention within the development of craft beer, with different forms of wheat beer developing due to experimental brewing methods and recipes, which are relatively far removed from their origins. Wheat Pale Ale can be described, for example, as a hybrid form of wheat and pale ales, as it is mostly brewed with a lot of hops, but also with wheat malt. In terms of taste, a Wheat Pale Ale is actually somewhere between the two beer styles mentioned. An exemplary representative of Wheat Pale Ales is the Bavarian Nice Club beer, which is cold-hopped with the three aroma hops Citra, Centennial and Chinook and is based on wheat malt.

Alcohol-free wheat beer

Among the non-alcoholic beers, the non-alcoholic wheat beer occupies a certain special position, which could have to do with the fact that there are actually a few well-drinkable representatives. Since the wheat beer itself is quite full-bodied and substantial, many non-alcoholic beers are still quite tasty and enjoy great popularity. Alcohol-free wheat beer is a good alternative to its "big brother" not only for drivers, but also for athletes: it can be classified as an isotonic drink and provides the body with not only fluids but also valuable nutrients and vitamins after exercise. It also has approx. 50% fewer calories than alcoholic wheat beer.

Popular representatives: Erdinger alcohol-free, Unertl alcohol-free, Schneider Weisse Tap3, Gutmann alcohol-free.

>> More information on the subject of "non-alcoholic beer" is available here >>

Berliner Weisse / Berliner Weissbier

The Berliner Weisse is a beer style of its own and therefore does not belong to the Weissbier beer style, even if it is sometimes also referred to as Berliner Weissbier. Information on Berliner Weisse can be found here.

Weissbier, recommendation of the editors

Karg wheat beer


Giesinger wheat beer

Giesinger Brewery

Hemp flowers white

Hop chopper


Reutberg Monastery Brewery

Unertl Weizenbock


Rieder Weisse

Ried brewery