Weizen / Weissbier

Paulaner weizen / weissbier

 

Testimonials

"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

 

Introduction

This is a pale, spicy, fruity, refreshing wheat-based German ale. Germans prefer to call the brew Weissbier (pronounced "vice-beer"), while North Americans prefer the term Hefeweizen (pronounced "hay-fuh-veyt-sssenn"). "Hefe" means yeast, and "Weizen" means wheat, so Hefeweizen is "yeast wheat".

Weissbier is golden yellow in color and so much lighter than the typically dark German ales that it came to be called “white beer”. Weissbier contain 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.

The yeast we use is Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen yeast. While we have not tried White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen Ale yeast it's supposed to be very similar, though most brewers we talk to prefer Wyeast 3068 for this style so it's what we've stuck with as the results are fabulous. 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 Wyeast 3068 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.

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

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 ferment and package article for tips on this and what we do.

Jamil Zainasheff gives some good advice on fermentation temperature for Wyeast 3068 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.

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)
Terminal 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)

Mash:
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*

Boil:
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

Yeast:
4 packs Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen yeast (or an appropriate starter)

Variation:
36g Fermentis Safale US-05 dry yeast
** (or an appropriate 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 metabisulphite 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 complete details on how to adjust your water, refer to our step by step Water Adjustment guide.
  • 1.5 qt/lb mash thickness.
  • Single infusion mash at 152F 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). Collect 14.9 gallons.
  • 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 well. Pure oxygen from a tank may be used at a rate of 1 litre per minute for 60 seconds per 5 gallons.
  • 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. We chill the kegs 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.

Enjoy!

Questions? Visit our Weizen / Weissbier forum thread

 

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Paulaner weizen / weissbier