Overview for the Hefeweizen

The Hefeweizen (known as a Weissbier in its native Germany) is hundreds of years old and was originally brewed for Bavarian royalty. The commoners began to drinking this wheat beer in 1872 but the typical pale straw to gold-colored version that’s enjoyed today only became popular in the 1960s. Also characteristic of the style is a tall, dense cap of foam while the unfiltered ale is usually cloudy. Its aroma and palate have a moderate amount of phenols and esters that impart a scent of clove and banana. Hops are mild at best and the smell and taste may also contain wheat bread, vanilla, or even bubblegum. Its feel is usually medium-light to medium, seemingly creamy, and should be effervescent with high carbonation.

Style Expectations

A pale, refreshing German wheat beer with high carbonation, dry finish, a fluffy mouthfeel, and a distinctive banana-and-clove yeast character.

Appearance

Pale straw to gold in color. A very thick, moussy, long-lasting white head is characteristic. The high protein content of wheat impairs clarity in an unfiltered beer, although the level of haze is somewhat variable.

Aroma

Moderate to strong phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (typically banana). The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. The hop character ranges from low to none. A light to moderate wheat aroma (which might be perceived as bready or grainy) may be present but other malt characteristics should not. Optional, but acceptable, aromatics can include a light to moderate vanilla character, and/or a faint bubblegum aroma. None of these optional characteristics should be high or dominant, but often can add to the complexity and balance.

Flavor

Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor. The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. Optionally, a very light to moderate vanilla character and/or faint bubblegum notes can accentuate the banana flavor, sweetness and roundness; neither should be dominant if present. The soft, somewhat bready or grainy flavor of wheat is complementary, as is a slightly grainy-sweet malt character. Hop flavor is very low to none, and hop bitterness is very low to moderately low. Well-rounded, flavorful palate with a relatively dry finish. The perception of sweetness is more due to the absence of hop bitterness than actual residual sweetness; a sweet or heavy finish would significantly impair drinkability.

Mouthfeel

Medium-light to medium body; never heavy. Suspended yeast may increase the perception of body. The texture of wheat imparts the sensation of a fluffy, creamy fullness that may progress to a light, spritzy finish aided by high to very high carbonation. Always effervescent.

Reviews

Hefe-Weizen

Hefeweizen  •  Paulaner Brauerei München

Hefe-Weizen is a German Hefeweizen by Paulaner Brauerei München that balances wheat bread and banana with noble hops and clove. Read More

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El Jefe

Hefeweizen  •  J. Wakefield Brewing

El Jefe is a German-style Hefeweizen by J. Wakefield Brewing that blends citrus and spice with wheat bread, coconut, and banana. Read More

Braupakt

Hefeweizen  •  Bayerische Staatsbrauerei WeihenstephanSierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Braupakt is a Hefeweizen brewed by Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The weissbier refreshingly blends doughy bread with floral hops, banana, and clove. Read More

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

Hefeweizen  •  Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu

Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse is a Hefeweizen brewed by Spaten-Franziskaner-Bräu that blends tart citrus and clove with banana and doughy bread. Read More

Cloud Chaser Hefeweizen

Hefeweizen  •  Crooked Can Brewing Company

Cloud Chaser Hefeweizen, a German-style Hefeweizen by Crooked Can Brewing Company is spicy with clove and pepper; sweetened with banana and creamy wheat. Read More

Miami Weiss

Hefeweizen  •  MIA Beer Co.

Miami Weiss is a German-style Hefeweizen by MIA Beer Co. that features citrus and tropical fruit flavors with pepper and doughy bread. Read More

Krombacher Weizen

Hefeweizen  •  Krombacher Brauerei

Krombacher Weizen, a Hefeweizen by Krombacher Brauerei offers flavors of banana, clove, and peppery hops atop a wheat base. Read More

Floridian Hefeweizen

Hefeweizen  •  Funky Buddha Brewery

Floridian Hefeweizen is a German-style Hefeweizen by Funky Buddha Brewery that blends banana and citrus with doughy wheat bread. Read More

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