American Wheat Ale in a Wheat Beer Glass

Overview for the American Wheat Ale Beer Style

The American Wheat Ale is similar to the German Hefeweizen but it has more hops and less yeast. Its color ranges straw to gold with varying clarity. Although the style typically uses less wheat than the Hefeweizen, its clean fermentation allows for a variety of wheat flavors with a complement of hops. Its feel hovers around medium or a little below with ample carbonation. The American Wheat Ale is similar to the American Blonde Ale, but utilizes Wheat instead of the typical Two-row Pale.

Style Expectations

The American Wheat Ale is a refreshing wheat beer that can display more hop character and less yeast character than their German cousins. A clean fermentation character allows bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavors to be complemented by hop flavor and bitterness rather than yeast qualities.

Appearance

Usually pale yellow to gold. Clarity may range from brilliant to hazy with yeast approximating the German weissbier style of beer. Big, long-lasting white head.

Aroma

Low to moderate grainy, bready, or doughy wheat character. A light to moderate malty sweetness is acceptable. Esters can be moderate to none, although should reflect relatively neutral yeast strains; banana is inappropriate. Hop aroma may be low to moderate, and can have a citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity character. No clove phenols.

Flavor

Light to moderately-strong bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor, which can linger into the finish. May have a moderate malty sweetness or finish quite dry. Low to moderate hop bitterness, which sometimes lasts into the finish. Balance is usually even, but may be slightly bitter. Low to moderate hop flavor (citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity). Esters can be moderate to none, but should not include banana. No clove phenols. May have a slightly crisp finish.

Mouthfeel

Medium-light to medium body. Medium-high to high carbonation. Slight creaminess is optional; wheat beers sometimes have a soft, “fluffy” impression.

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