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Beer Guide

19. German-style Wheat Beer

a) Berliner Weisse

  • This is the lightest of all the German wheat beers.
  • The unique combination of a yeast and lactic acid bacteria fermentation yields a beer that is acidic, highly attenuated and very light-bodied.
  • The carbonation is high and hop rates are very low.
  • Hop character should not be perceived.
  • Fruity esters are evident.
  • No diacetyl should be perceived.
  • b) Weizen/Weissbier

  • The aroma and flavor of a weissbier is decidedly fruity and phenolic.
  • The phenolic characteristics are often described as clove or nutmeg and can be smoky or even vanilla-like.
  • These beers are made with at least 50 percent malted wheat, and hop rates are quite low.
  • Weissbier is well-attenuated and very highly carbonated, yet its relatively high starting gravity and alcohol content make it a medium to full-bodied beer.
  • Banana-like esters are often present.
  • If yeast is present, the beer will appropriately have yeast flavor and a characteristically fuller mouthfeel.
  • No diacetyl should be perceived.
  • c) Dunkelweizen

  • This beer style is characterized by a distinct sweet maltiness, and roasted malt and chocolate-like character, but the estery and phenolic elements of a pale weissbier still prevail.
  • Color can range from copper-brown to dark brown.
  • Carbonation and hop bitterness are similar to a pale South-German style weissbier.
  • Usually dark barley malts are used in conjunction with dark cara or color malts, and the percentage of wheat malt is at least 50 percent.
  • No diacetyl should be perceived.
  • d) Weizenbock

  • This style can be either pale or dark and, like a bottom-fermented bock, has a high starting gravity and alcohol content.
  • The malty sweetness of a weizenbock is balanced with a clovelike phenolic and fruity-estery banana element to produce a well-rounded aroma and flavor.
  • As is true with all German wheat beers, hop rates are low, and carbonation is high.
  • It has a medium to full body.
  • If dark, a mild roast malt character should emerge in flavor and, to a lesser degree, in the aroma.
  • No diacetyl should be perceived.
  • ALE: Barley Wine | Belgian and French Ale | Belgian-Style Lambic | Mild and Brown Ale | English-Style Pale Ale | American-Style Ale | English Bitter | Scottish Ale | Porter | English/Scottish Strong Ale | Stout
    LAGER: Bock | German Dark Lager | German Light Lager | Classic Pilsener | American Lager | Vienna/Mrzen/Oktoberfest
    HYBRID/ MIXED: German-Style Ale | German-style Wheat Beer | Smoked Beer | Fruit and Vegetable Beer | Herb and Spice Beer | Specialty and Experimental Beer | California Common Beer

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