Wheat beers are made through a tasty blend of barley and wheat together. Wheat is supposed to make up around 30 to 70 percent of this total blend, while barley makes up the rest of it. Malt drinks made from wheat extract consist of 40 percent wheat and 60 percent barley. Since wheat happens to have more proteins than barley, it contributes to longer-lasting heads and gives more haze to the end result.
The addition of wheat also helps make the final blend appear lighter in color. The light color is complemented through toned down flavors, as wheat is known to contribute less flavor than barley, hence canceling out its impact. Light colors and flavors make for an amazing summer drink for our ‘Miller’ and ‘Bud’ crowd to drink in peace.
Different Styles of Wheat Beers
There are many different styles or forms of wheat beer that you can make. These styles include:
The word Hefe in the German language means yeast and weizen means wheat. Hefeweizens are popular in Germany and are brewed through the use of special yeasts that produce clove flavors from their phenols. The yeasts are mixed along with esters that produce vanilla, bubble gum and banana flavors, especially when they are stirred in warmer fermentation temperatures. The concoction is made through the amalgam of pilsner malt or pale malt along with wheat malt. These malts are mostly unfiltered and contain an average of 4.5 percent to 5 percent ABV.
There are two common dark wheat styles used by Germans in this drink. These styles include Weizenbock and Dunkelweizen. Dunkelweizens are almost similar to the Hefeweizens, only that they use Cara-Munich, Vienna and Munich malts as an alternative to pale malts and happen to have a darker tone to them. Weizenbocks use the same ingredients as Dunkelweizens, only that they have an alcohol value in the range of 7 to 9 percent.
Belgian Witbiers are also known as white beers and are quite similar to the German Hefeweizen style. Most Belgian Witbiers use special yeast that adds a little tartness during the fermentation process. Belgian Witbiers also require the addition of orange peels and some aroma hops during the last 5 to 15 minutes of the boil. These aroma hops or orange peels aren’t used in the concoction for German Hefeweizens. Almost all Belgian brewers use white wheat to give their beer the light color it is famous for.
American Wheat Beers
American wheat beers happen to use neutral yeast extracts that don’t give clove or banana flavor to the final mixture. The American wheat beer has gone through numerous variations, including one where the brewer adds honey or fruit extract to the concoction before the fermentation process. Honey happens to be 100 percent fermentable and will possibly dry the malt taste in your beer. Instead of natural honey, you can put in a pound of honey malt into the mixture prior to adding wheat malt extracts. This will give your white beer the sweetness of honey as a flavor.
How to Brew Wheat Beer?
The process for brewing wheat beer is broken down into the following steps:
Preparation is the first step for brewing your own wheat beer. You will need the following equipment to start work on the brewing process:
- Sanitizer: Sanitizers are necessary for keeping all equipment clean and for ensuring that infections are prevented.
- Fermentation Vessel: This is usually a container used to ferment your wheat beer.
- Brew Kettles: A kettle used for boiling your concoction.
- Fermentation Lock: A fermentation lock reduces the chances of your beer being oxidized during the fermentation process.
- Hydrometer: The hydrometer will identify the original and final gravity for your product.
- Spoon: A spoon is needed for preventing boil-overs and for whirl-pooling.
- Bottles: Beer will be bottled after it is fermented.
- Auto Siphon: To transfer beer between different fermentation containers.
- Bottle caps: For closing bottles.
- Bottle Capper: An essential equipment for adding cap to a bottle and preserving the beer inside.
- Starter kits: To begin brewing.
These items will help you prepare for the process.
You should remember that wheat beers aren’t harder to brew than other forms of beer. So, don’t elevate the complications with nerves of your own. Follow this process for brewing:
- Steep one bag of grains in almost 2 gallons of water. Turn the heat to 160 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bags.
- Stir in whatever malt extracts you are looking to add.
- Turn heat back on and bring the mixture to a boil now.
- You can now add any hops for aroma or bittering and boil the concoction for an hour.
- Add some flavor as per the recipe you are following from the options above.
- Cool your wort down to a certain level and then add in the yeast.
You can pick your options from the three choices we discussed above.
Fermentation and Bottling
Once you are done with the brewing, you should head toward fermentation and bottling. Add your desired yeast during the fermentation process. Once done, you can bottle the beer properly and then store at room temperature for roughly 2 weeks.
Our Final Thoughts
As you might know by now, brewing wheat beer is no different from brewing any other kind of beer. The process is simple, and you have three different varieties to choose from. With the procedure available to you now, you can proceed to the kitchen and try your luck with this flavorsome concoction.