German Style Wheat Beers

This week I facilitated a tasting on 4 German Style Wheat beers for my  Level 3 Prud’homme Beer Certification Course.
To help me prepare I facilitated a tasting at home first. In this picture you have (from left to right) Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier, Schneider Weisse, Paulaner Hefeweissbier and Muskoka Summer Weiss – then they repeat going in the opposite order.

The BJCP guidelines for German Weissbier:
Appearance: Pale color that ranges from straw to very dark golden amber.
Taste: Strong banana and clove flavor, some flavors of citrus, bubblegum and vanilla might be in existence.

Here is a bit about German wheat beers:

  • They have 50-65% wheat.  Germans insist that at least 50% wheat is included unlike other wheat beers that can have as low as 40%.
  • The original wheat beer is from Bavaria known as Hefeweizen.
  • in 1516 the Bavian Purity Act stated that beer be made with hops, barley malt and water – Brewing wheat beer was illegal!
  • The German Royal family were the only ones who were exclusively allowed to brew and consume wheat beers.
  • in 1872 Georg Schneider (Schneider and Sohns) acquired the rights to brew wheat beer and started up his own brewery with his son.

A bit about each beer and the brewery:

Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier  – Weihenstephaner  is the oldest operating brewery in the world. it has been operating since 768. It acquired it’s brewing license in 1040. This beer smells and taste like banana bread. Has some nutmeg upfront and slight salty notes in the last sip. It has a big finish to it.

Schneider Weisse is the oldest wheat beer brewed in Munich. In 1944 it was bombed during the war and relocated 2 hours north to the city of Kelheim. This beer was the darkest beer of all four. Its aroma smelt more like ripe bananas. There was a bit of clove in the inital sip and in the end had an orange peel flavor to it.

Paulaner Hefeweissbier – Paulaner brewery has been in existence since 1634. Monks use to brew beer with a high alcohol content (known today as Bock beer) to help them get through Lent. They would sell the leftover beer in their taverns and it became vastly popular in Germany. In 1800 the Monastery was taken over by the State of Bavaria. Six years later a brewer bought the monastery and turned it into a brewery and continuing brewing this original Bock beer. This hefeweissbier has been brewing since 1984. What is interesting to note about this brewery is it is the first brewery in the world to brew a non-alcoholic wheat beer. Both the aroma and the taste in this hefeweizen are dominated by clove flavors. It is also very spicy and grainy. The banana is in existence but very faint.

Muskoka Summer Weiss – This is Muskoka’s summer seasonal release. You can read my review here. An excellent summer beer that is true to style.

Out of all of them preferred the Paulaner Hefeweizen the best. I liked that it was more spicy over sweet and didn’t seem as heavy as the other 3.

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Filed under beer history, personal beer

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