Weizen / Weissbier


Weizen / weissbier



"I made this a few week ago. Simple and delicious. I have a Kal clone, no stuck mash, no rice hulls." - busted knuckle

"I've got to say, this was the first beer I've made that I'm completely satisfied with (also the least boozy!). Easy drinking...the yeast is all there and I can totally taste a subtle hint of banana kept in check by the cool 62 degree fermentation. Probably my favorite beer yet. Can't wait to brew the Electric IPA Seasonable next!" - Topdollar

"Just tapped this one and had the first pours tonight. Gotta say this is a very good example of a hefeweizen! Great nose, the wheat comes through and with this yeast fermented at 62 degrees it really made for a balanced and very delicious beer. Mine finished at 1.010 and is 5.4% alcohol but it is so smooth and drinks like a much lighter beer. There is some clove, very slight banana, and fruitiness. I also get a nice slight lemony/citrus note as well. It also is cloudy and effervescent on the tongue. I really like it and this is one to make over and over. Thanks for posting!" - John

"Tapped the Hefewizen tonight.. It's good. Clovey. Very subtle, but noticeable in the aftertaste banana-y. My wife thinks it should have a Minion inspired name due to their obsession with Bananas." - Master

"... pretty happy about result, nice balanced not too much banana flavor, nice creamy head." - zoranerceg

"I brewed this one up exactly as you listed the ingredients and I followed your recommended water profile. It is spectacular! Fermented right around 62-64 degrees. Slight banana nose and great flavor. Thanks for this one. I brought a keg of this to a party over this past weekend and about 2.5 gallons was consumed. It was a big hit." - tomcolt



This is a pale, spicy, fruity, refreshing wheat-based German ale. In Germany you'll tend to hear it called Weissbier (pronounced "vice-beer") or simply Weizen, while in North American the name Hefeweizen (pronounced "hay-fuh-veyt-sssenn") is more common. "Hefe" means yeast, and "Weizen" means wheat, so Hefeweizen is "yeast wheat". In Germany the golden yellow beer was lighter than the typically dark German ales hence the Weissbier or “white beer” naming convention. Weissbier contains around 5% of alcohol by volume, and lightly hopped. The beer is cloudy as it is unfiltered and uses a yeast that stays readily in suspension.

The recipe is typically a very straight forward close to half and half split between German pilsner and wheat malt, hopped to reasonably low IBUs with a noble German hop of your choice. The differentiator is the yeast: Using the right yeast is key as it gives the beer its unique banana/clove character. Fermented warmer the taste pushes towards banana, fermented cooler and the taste leans towards clove. Mash schedule and pH can also be manipulated to adjust the flavour profile (more in our Notes / Process section below).

The yeast we use is Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen yeast or White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale yeast (purported to be the same strain, but after many years of using both we tend to favour WY3068). We had high hopes for Fermentis Safbrew WB-06 dry yeast when it was first introduced as it is so much easier to use dry yeast, and we do get excellent results with their Safale US-05 and Saflager W-34/70 strains when used correctly. No such luck with WB-06 unfortunately. To us it tastes nowhere near as good as the liquid yeast after doing a split batch comparison. While WB-06 had some of the banana/clove character, it simply wasn't as vibrant or rich. It tasted (for lack of better words) "fake". Sort of like comparing real freshly squeezed orange juice to Tang. They both have an orange flavour, but one doesn't taste real.

The liquid yeast is quite unique yeast and requires some special care. To quote Wyeast on the usage of WY3068:

The classic and most popular German wheat beer strain used worldwide. This yeast strain produces a beautiful and delicate balance of banana esters and clove phenolics. The balance can be manipulated towards ester production through increasing the fermentation temperature, increasing the wort density, and decreasing the pitch rate. Over pitching can result in a near complete loss of banana character. Decreasing the ester level will allow a higher clove character to be perceived. Sulfur is commonly produced, but will dissipate with conditioning. This strain is very powdery and will remain in suspension for an extended amount of time following attenuation. This is true top cropping yeast and requires fermenter headspace of 33%.

Heed the warning about headspace. You'll need a lot of room in your fermenter as it develops a substantial krauzen (foam) during the first few days of fermentation. A blow-off tube is recommended as well. See our Fermenters guide for tips on this and what we do.

Jamil Zainasheff gives some good advice on fermentation temperature from his Brewing Classic Styles book which we follow: Ferment at 62F. It's just below the recommended 64-75F range but it works great and produces a really clean tasting beer with a nice balance of banana / clove flavours.

Some brewers prefer to underpitch the yeast and / or under-aerate to push ester production but it's not a practice we like to use with any of our beers as it can lead to slow starts, and stalls / incomplete fermentation. Our preference is to pitch a properly sized starter of healthy yeast and control the flavour through fermentation temperature and mash schedule / pH. It also helps that we tend to not like our Weizens to be "flavour bombs". In fact, our preference is to keep most of the yeast derived esters somewhat restrained in order to produce a thirst quenching beer. That said, feel free to experiment! Mash schedule, mash pH, water profile, choice of yeast, yeast pitch rate, aeration/oxygenation level, and fermentation temperature can all be played with to change the flavour outcome. If you prefer a more flavourful Weizen try lowering the pitch rate and/or level of oxygen. If you prefer more banana and less clove, skip the ferulic acid rest and ferment at a warmer 68F (wort temperature).

Brew up a batch and let us know how you like it!


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Weizen / Weissbier

Size: 12 US gallons (post-boil @ 68F)
Mash Efficiency: 95%
Attenuation: 76%
Calories: 167 kcal per 12 fl oz
Original Gravity:
1.050 (style range: 1.044 - 1.052)
Final Gravity: 1.012 (style range: 1.010 - 1.014)
Colour: 3.1 SRM (style range: 2 - 8)
Alcohol: 5% ABV (style range: 4.4% - 5.6%)
Bitterness: 13 IBU (style range: 8 - 15)

9.2 lb German pilsner malt (1.5-2.4L) (50%) 
9.2 lb Pale (or white) wheat malt (1.5-2.4L) (50%)
1 lb Rice hulls*

2 oz German Hallertau hops (4.2%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min [13 IBU]
1 Whirlfloc tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min

Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen yeast or White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale yeast
(~422 billion cells [4-5 fresh packs] or an equivalent starter)

Fermentis Safale US-05 dry yeast
** (36g recommended or make an equivalent starter)

*Wheat malt does not have a husk so the natural filter bed in the Mash / Lauter Tun is greatly reduced as the recipe is 50% wheat. Brewers with systems that are prone to stuck sparges should add rice hulls at a rate of about 20:1 wheat to rice hull ratio to avoid stuck sparges. We do not need to use rice hulls with our electric brewery setup. More information.

**Swap out the German Weizen yeast with Fermentis Safale US-05 dry yeast fermented at 66-68F. This is a very neutral ale yeast and the result will be something more along the lines of an American Wheat Beer. Or brew a split batch with two fermenters side by side to see just how much difference the yeast makes.

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Notes / Process

  • Add 500mg potassium metabisulfite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine / chloramine (if required).
  • Water treated with brewing salts to our Balanced flavour profile: Ca=50, Mg=10, Na=16, Cl=70, SO4=70 (Hit minimums on Ca and Mg, keep the Cl:SO4 ratio low and equal. Do not favour flavour / maltiness or bitterness / dryness. For balanced beers.). For more information on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustment guide.
  • 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness.
  • Start the mash at 113F and hold for 15 mins (this is a ferulic acid rest which helps promote the creation of 4-vinyl guaiacol which has clove-like phenol flavours the style is known for). This rest works best at a pH of 5.7-5.8 (relative to mash temperature) so if you add mash salts and acid you want to wait and do it after the ferulic acid rest.
  • Ramp up to 154F and hold for 90 mins.
  • Raise to 168F mashout temperature and hold for 10 mins.
  • ~90 min fly sparge with ~5.6-5.8 pH water (measured at mash temperature).
  • Boil for 90 minutes, adding hops per schedule. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately. Some brewers choose not to add kettle finings during the boil (such as Whirlfloc) as the beer is supposed to be cloudy, but the cloudiness of this beer comes from the yeast. We still want to remove proteins, hot break material, and so forth.
  • Cool the wort quickly to 62F (we use a one-pass convoluted counterflow chiller to quickly lock in hop flavour and aroma) and transfer to fermenter.
  • Aerate or oxygenate the chilled wort to a level of 8-10 ppm dissolved oxygen. For more information refer to our Aerating / Oxygenating Wort guide.
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 62F (wort temperature). We use modified stainless fermenting buckets in wine fridges.
  • Ferment until approximately 5 points from final gravity and then raise the temperature to 72F until finished. In our case we simply turn off the fermenting fridges and allow the beer to naturally rise to room temperature. Assume fermentation is done if the gravity does not change over ~3 days.
  • We do not recommend using finings such as unflavoured gelatin as it helps keep as much yeast in suspension as possible.
  • Package as you would normally. We rack to kegs that have first been purged with CO2 and then chill to near freezing while carbonating at the same time in a 6-keg conditioning fridge. After ~1-2 weeks at serving pressure the kegs will be carbonated and ready to serve. In a hurry? This beer is best served fresh so feel free to raise the CO2 pressure temporarily to 30-40 PSI to carbonate fast over a 24 period, and then turn back down to serving pressure. 
  • Carbonate this beer to higher than normal levels, around 2.5 to 3.5 volumes of CO2.
  • If you keg, you will find that over time the beer naturally clears as the protein haze and yeast settles. You may occasionally jostle or flip the keg to stir up the sediment to re-introduce the cloudy appearance. Some brewers will use a spare liquid out dip tube on the gas line such that the incoming gas hits the bottom of the keg and automatically stirs up the sediment every time a beer is poured. Others will use a tablespoon or two of flour at the end of the boil to set up a starchy permanent haze. The simplest solution is probably the most popular: Consume quicker. 😉

For detailed brewing instructions, see our Brew Day Step by Step guide.


Questions? Visit our Weizen / Weissbier forum thread


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Pictures / Videos

Interested in seeing what we're brewing right now? Follow us on Instagram for pictures and videos of our brewing activities as they happen.

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Brew day! Transferring the heated strike water for a Weizen. Trying a 15 min ferulic acid rest at 113F for the first time to see what what difference it makes. I don’t normally do one for this beer. The ferulic acid is converted by the yeast to 4-vinyl guaiacol which provides clove-like phenol flavours that Weizens are known for. I find I already get that from the yeast, but we’ll see! I expect the difference to be very subtle. If not I’ll hear about it from my wife (@rubyinstitches). 😉Then it’s up to 152F for the usual saccharification rest, followed by a mash out at 168F to denature the enzymes. ・ 👉 shop.TheElectricBrewery.com 👈 Parts, kits, and pre-assembled brewing products built in the USA with lifetime support. Guides to building and using your brewery. Tons of recipes!

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Kegged my Weizen. This recipe was slightly different than usual: I tried a 15 min ferulic acid rest at 113F for the first time to see what what difference it makes. I don’t normally do one for this beer. The ferulic acid is converted by the yeast to 4-vinyl guaiacol which provides clove-like phenol flavours that Weizens are known for. I find I already get that from the yeast, but at kegging I think I’m get some extra spiciness/complexity here. Those Germans may be on to something! 😉 We’ll see when it’s chilled/carb’ed. ・ 👉 shop.TheElectricBrewery.com 👈 Parts, kits, and pre-assembled brewing products built in the USA with lifetime support. Guides to building and using your brewery. Tons of recipes!

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