American Wheat Beer

Glassware: Shaker pint
  • USA
  • Ale/Lager
  • ABV = 4.0 – 5.5% (Lower to normal)^
  • IBU = 15-30
  • SRM = 3-6

A straw-coloured, wheat-based American beer with a clean fermentation character and prominent hop flavour.

More hop character and less yeast character than German Weissbier. (Never with the banana and clove character of German Weissbier). Generally can have the same range and balance as American Blonde Ale, but with a wheat character as the primary malt flavour.

Appearance:

  • Colour^ = Straw to gold
  • Clarity = May range from clear to hazy with yeast, approximating the German Weissbier

Key Aromas & Flavours:

Aroma
  • Malt = Low to moderate; bready, doughy, or grainy-sweet wheat
  • Yeast = None to moderate; lightly fruity, if present, but should not include banana
  • Hops = Low to moderate; citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity
Flavour
  • Malt = Low to moderate; bready, doughy, or grainy-sweet wheat
  • Yeast = None to moderate; lightly fruity, if present, but should not include banana
  • Hops = Low to moderate; citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Moderate
  • Balance = Usually even, but may be slightly bitter
Aftertaste/Finish

Ranges; may have a moderate malty sweetness or finish quite dry and slightly crisp

Mouthfeel:

  • Body = Medium
  • Carbonation = High
  • Creaminess = (Optional: slight creaminess, giving a soft, ‘fluffy’ impression)

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Two-row malt, plus 30 – 50% wheat malt
  • Yeast = Clean American ale or lager yeast (Note: Weizen ale yeast is inappropriate)
  • Hops = American, German, or New World hop varietals

Historical Development:

American craft beer adaptation of the German Weissbier using a cleaner yeast and more hops, first widely popularized by Widmer in the mid-1980s.


Commercial Examples:

Widmer Hefeweizen, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat


^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.


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