Tag Archive: Hefeweizen


Siphon: White Frontier: Contreras: Krypton Blood Orange Weissbier (Belgium: Hefeweizen: 6% ABV)

Visual: Cloudy banana body. Inch of yellow white head. Lots of small bubbled carbonation.

Nose: Fresh dough. Slight sulphur. Ripe banana. Coriander. Carrot sticks.

Body: Wheaty. Slightly milky. Banana. Tangerine. Blood orange. Fresh dough. Slight sulphur. Coriander.

Finish: Blood orange. Dried banana. Slight cloves. Moderate bitterness. Peppery. Moderate hop character.

Conclusion: Ok, first things first. This is actually a good old school style weisse at its base. Very evident in the classic notes – the banana, the cloves, the wheaty feel. It doesn’t over hopped for bitterness, nor new school hop flavours. It keeps the base familiar and well done. Now I like a well hopped weisse on occasion, but doing it this way really works here as it means the one deviation from tradition – the blood orange notes, really stand out more.

So, at that base it is well made with a nice weight, and good flavour. It wouldn’t beat out, say, a weihenstephaner, but it goes well from first impressions on the eye, to a nicely solid bitterness into the finish. I’d enjoy it even like that, even though there are better weisse out there it would be a welcome entry.

But that is not all there is, we also have the blood orange! The orange is far from omnipresent, nor absent, instead it feels like a very good example of how to use fruit in a beer. It adds a light tartness, orange notes coming out at a level just slightly above the banana and spice notes but don’t eclipse them. If it wasn’t so natural feeling I could have mistaken it for just another hop note, it is balanced so well – but the fresh character of it is unmistakable.

A few off notes – it is slightly sulphur touched which doesn’t quite work, but generally I quite enjoy this. A traditional weisse with one well used twist. It shows a level of restraint that is oft missed these days and is much better for it.

Not top weihenstephaner level awesome, no, but it isn’t playing that game – and it rocks at what it is doing. I respect that.

Background: This is one of the six beers in the Noble Gas project – each one a collaboration with one Belgian and one international brewery. Was wondering about the name so I googled and got “In the right hands, the six noble gases are a powerful source of light, bringing illumination and colour to people’s lives. We want The Noble Gas Project to shine a light on the values that make us excited about beer: Belgian tradition, international influence, collaborative learning and being unafraid.” A bit silly sure, but I’ve heard worse excuses for a project name before. Plus, ya know SCIENCE! So I can live with that. This one, as you may have guessed, is a hefeweizen made with blood orange. It is in the name, right? Anyway, another beer from Independent Spirit. Went with Siouxsie and the Banshees – Hyaena for music. Still can’t believe it took me so long to get into them. Such off beat but polished tunes.

Two Chef’s: Tropical Ralphie Weizen (Netherlands: Hefeweizen: 5% ABV)

Visual: Lightly hazy clear lemon juice. Massive white mounded head.

Nose: Passion fruit. Wheat. Light hops. Apricot skin. Cane sugar dusting. White grapes. Dry lemon.

Body: Pineapple. Vanilla. Dry lemon. Grapes. Wheaty. Slight dry liquorice.

Finish: Moderate hop character and light bitterness. Vanilla. Pineapple. Slight dry liquorice. Light tart grapes. Flour.

Conclusion: This is listed as a weizen, but I have to say it doesn’t have much of the banana, cloves or wheaty notes I often associate with the traditional takes on that style. Instead this feels like a traditional Belgian wit that has been punched up with a touch of tropical hop usage.

It isn’t the sweeter more Hoegaarden like take on a wit, and as mentioned it isn’t much like the German take on a weizen, instead it feels closer to a drier more traditional Belgian wit, with that familiar dry lemon character. It has a slight vanilla sweetness, but is well attenuated and generally not too heavy.

Over that dry lemon base is a dash of brighter hops – tart pineapple and a touch of grapes that brings it in line with a more craft beer take on the style. It is refreshing in a way that is perfect for the heat right now – though with a slight flour thickness that works against that. There is similarly a hop feel that gives slight fluffiness, but low hop bitterness. Generally it is a trade off, the extra grip makes it less easy to drink but gives some weight of flavour.

On the downside, there are some slight off notes, that being a dry liquorice touch. Not a heavy note, just a subtle dry savoury note that doesn’t quite mesh with the rest of the beer. Similarly that slight flour feel I mentioned can get a bit sticky by the end.

So, decent dry base, nice hop use, a few off notes that don’t quite work, but a decent wit beer that tries to be a weizen.

Background: I was over in the Netherlands recently, only a short trip and didn’t do many notes while I was out there, but it would have been rude of me to not do any at all. So here we go, first notes of two. Not much backstory to this one – saw it in a supermarket, like the bottle imagery – looked a bit Guile from Street Fighter 2 which was nice. I like a good weizen. You may have noticed despite me saying it reminds me of a Belgian Wit in a lot of ways I have listed this as a hefeweizen. In general I go with the brewers description – unless it is seriously and obviously wrong – they listed this as a weizen so I listed it as such. It was stupidly hot in the Netherlands, with up to 40 degrees at times, so I kept this as chilled as I could before drinking.

Lost and Grounded: Cool Bananas (England: Hefeweizen: 5.6% ABV)

Visual: Hazy, lemon colour. A pale thin white head. Some carbonation.

Nose: Chocolate air. Dried banana. All bran. Wheat. Banoffee pie. Lemon.

Body: Prickly peppery feel. Pineapple. Wheaty. Crisp hop character. Chocolate toffee. Dried banana. Apple.

Finish: Pine needles. Resin. Sulphur. Light pineapple. Cooking apple. Malt chocolate. Dried banana.

Conclusion: Ok. An interesting balancing act going on with this one. It is taking the prominent characteristics of both a weisse and a NZ hopped beer and is trying to isolate elements from them, and then combine them. A noble challenge.

Most obviously, from the aroma onwards, is the eponymous banana influence, It is almost banoffee like in the aroma, though it becomes more subdued, dried banana style in the body. At pretty much any point that you come to this is will be showing some of the banana notes that a hefeweizen is known for. The other weisse nots are still there as well, the peppery spice and wheaty character. They just haven’t been pushed to the fore as much as the banana sweetness has. The difference in balance gives a mild dessert like character to the beer.

The second element is how they choose to emphasise the New Zealand notes – I tend to know NZ hops for their big tart character but that is used here in a much more mellow fashion than usual. There are pineapple, cut apple and lightly tart notes that work as a freshness against the sweeter character. The light acidity slightly downplays the sweetness, mellowing the beer, making it much more pleasant to drink in the long term.

It is nicely easy to drink, doesn’t sacrifice the weisse on the altar of hops as too many do, but also doesn’t ignore the joy that is what they can get from NZ hops. I live seeing beers that manage to do this balancing act well.

I approve – YAYZ ANOTHER GOOD WEISSE!

Background: Ok, I like New Zealand hops and this has NZ hops. I like hefeweizens and this is a hefeweizen and I like banana notes in wheat beers and this is called Cool bananas. Seems like a solid pick. It helps that Lost and Grounded are fairly cool, a chilled bunch of people working at their brewery tap-house as well. Anyway, this was grabbed from Independent Spirit and drunk while listening to some Nightwish and chatting with mates.

Boglers Braustube: Dinkel & Weizen (Germany: Hefeweizen: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy yellow to lemon juice. Very large white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Wheat and crisp hop bitterness. Popcorn hop notes. Vanilla. Peppery. Slightly fresh.

Body: Slightly thick texture. Caramel. Cloves and dried banana. Orange segments. Vanilla toffee. The head is bitter and yeastie. Wheaty and moderate bitterness. Palma violets. Kiwi. Lemony. Hop oils. Hard rock candy. Slightly milky. Slight raspberry yogurt bits.

Finish: Soft toffee. Palma violets. Banana custard. Vanilla. Just bananas. Moderate hop character. Slight kiwi. Cloves. Slight chestnut mushrooms. Moderate bitterness.

Conclusion: This seems a lot smoother than your standard weisse beer – the harshness and texture seems set half way between a kristall weisse and a standard hefewizen, though with an extra touch of thickness to it

The thickness seems to bring a lot of toffee and caramel notes that usually don’t get much play in a wiesse – mixing with the more expected banana and clove notes. It also has sweeter kind of cane sugar notes – it feels actually like a more traditional pale malt base that you would use for an IPA or an APA mixing with a bit extra from the weisse addition. This gets less obvious as time goes one, with a cloudier visual and more wheat character coming out over time. I guess that, despite my best efforts, the sediment was mainly in the lower half on the pour.

The bitterness and hop character are more present that normal, but not massively so. Well that is unless you take a sip with some of the head in it – then it comes with a brash intensity indeed. Otherwise, well the extra thickness merges well with some hop oils, and bring some unusual flavours – palma violet like from the noble hops, and light raspberry yogurt notes. If held on the tongue the bitterness grows, but also a fresh lemon contrast as well.

Overall it mixes a smoother base and a bigger hop character with a decent weisse wheat character. It is a balance of style – the base feels like that of a sweeter IPA as already mentioned, along with some, but definitely not all of the hop flavour and intensity – the rest is full wheat character.

It is a very solid beer, and another one that is a bit off the standard style path, which is nice. The huge bottle is a bit much for one person, as I found. The bitterness rises at the end and can come to dominate. Shared I think this would work well.

A nice experiment with a hopped hefeweizen without (generally) being dominated by it – well unless you have the entire 1L yourself. Pretty good, not super polished but there is a lot going on. Tad rough edged, but I had fun with it.

Background: Grabbed from Craft Beer Kontor in Hannover, excellent stocked wee shop. I grabbed this one for a few reasons, one of which was the silly sized bottle and the utterly packed with text label that put me in mind of the overwritten Japanese style labels. Also best I could tell it was a weisse done craft beer style. Though I have to admit I read “Dinkel” as “Dunkel” so was expecting a dark beer. Whoops. Turns out dinkel is a speciality malt. My mistake. On first pour this was about 90% froth – a very energetic one, but a few careful pours later I had a drinkable beer. Due to the huge bottle I had more time that usual to get notes, hence this may be a tad overwritten. Drunk while listening to the awesome final David Bowie album – Black Star. Still utterly haunting.

Tree Mellow Moon Pineapple Hefeweizen

Tree: Mellow Moon: Pineapple Hefeweizen (Canada: Fruit Hefeweizen: 5% ABV)

Visual: Hazy banana to apricot. Thin white head.

Nose: Pineapple. Light peach. Banana and cloves.

Body: Wheaty. Banana and cloves. Fresh tart notes. Apricot. Pineapple. Vanilla sweetness. Blueberry as it warms.

Finish: Dry feel but still light pineapple freshness. Cloves. Vanilla and light blueberry.

Conclusion: I have often found it difficult finding a good hefeweizen outside of Germany. Other places seem to be able to make good beers, but they often don’t quite feel like they match the style – pushing too big hops or too sweet base, and they lose the natural balance that I love in the best examples of the style. The balance that make them just so very drinkable.

This, with the extra of infused pineapple, had me nervous but intrigued. I love odd twists, but wondered if it would further move it away from the elements I love in a good weisse. I shouldn’t have worried, they have got the balance on this spot on.

Initially I was actually disappointed instead in how little the pineapple was shown – it was just limited to the aroma, but did finally show itself as the beer warmed. What this did was allow a lovely crisp wheaty hefeweizen to establish itself first – showing lots of banana and cloves, all used to good and just slightly dry affect.

Though good as just a well made hefe, it is the pineapple that is added as it warms that gives it the lovely summer thirst quenching character. Even better it lets the contrasting flavours mesh to create the almost hallucinatory flavours I love so much – in this case a light blueberry like note.

While it is predominantly quite traditional in how it approaches the base, there are still some, mild, calls to the sweeter interpretations, here using a subtle vanilla. It seems, used very carefully that extra sweetness can enhance rather than hurt the style.

Overall this is a very impressive first beer of the trip, and a great mix of hefe and fruit. Definitely check it out if you get the chance.

Background: First beer of the Canada trip! Hefeweizen and fruit infused beers both seem popular during the hot Canada summer, so this seemed an appropriate first one to sample. Drunk at Beer Revolution craft beer and pizza bar. By the way, not only are their staff awesome and friendly as hell – their pizza is fucking amazing. Seriously. Try it. Notes will be a tad shorter for these notes than usual as I was spending time chatting a lot with other people in the bar during the holiday. Not my greatest photo, still getting used to using new camera out in the field as it where.

Tuatara Bavarian Hefe

Tuatara: Bavarian Hefe (New Zealand: Hefeweizen: 5.0% ABV)

Visual: Pale cloudy yellow. Thin white head.

Nose: Light raspberry pavlova. Dried banana. Cloves. Wheat. Bubblegum. Dough. Palma violets.

Body: Lemon. Slight sherbet. Barley and honey. Dried banana. Bubblegum. Coriander.

Finish: Light ground up peanuts. Banana. Vanilla. Wet feel.

Conclusion: Not bad. Despite being called “Hefe” this, however, doesn’t rock the full hefeweizen character to my mind. Flavour wise it is pretty close with nice banana and clove notes, but both to the eye and in mouthfeel it cleaves closer to the more filtered Kristalweizen style.

In fact the kristal influence does seem to show up in the weakest parts of the beer – with a slightly neutral malt tone in the middle of the whole thing; A kind of absence of character that the beer needs to fill before it can be what it could be. Despite that weakness they manage to pack around that a decent set of notes – a light coriander spice that calls to the Belgian wit and a nice lemon freshness.

Overall I think I will have to paraphrase my craft beer sis who put it best – it isn’t bad, but it is something that you get because you can easily find it in a NZ supermarket, not because it is one of the better beers. Thanks craft beer sis!

There, that saved me having to think up some pithy way of rounding off the notes.

Background: New Zealand beer! They have a nice wee craft scene over there, so I have been glad to see more of their beers turning up over here. This one grabbed from Independent Spirit. I am aware that I have it in the wrong kind of wheat beer glass, but it is only 330ml so looks silly in my big german weisse glasses. Incidentally the bottle looks kind of like a ribbed dildo, though that was not the only reason I bought it. Weisse beers were one of the first things that got me to try different and tasty beer, so I have long had a soft spot for them.

Plank Hefeweizen

Plank Laaber: Hefeweizen (Germany: Hefeweizen: 5.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy apricot. Off white head that leaves suds.

Nose: Lemon. Wheaty. Big coriander. Carrot. Banana.

Body: Wheaty. Bitter. Dried apricot. Banana. Cloves. Crisp hops. Tart pickled notes at back. Carrot and coriander. Froths up some times as you sip.

Finish: Pepper. Wheat. Crisp hops. Banana. Slight tart apple.

Conclusion: These days I find it hard reviewing a new hefeweizen, mainly because I have already drunk weihenstephaner and even before the first sip I am comparing this new beer to that one. Because that beer absolutely rules. This, however comes surprisingly close in quality. Not often that happens.

It has a similar thick flavoursome character, heavy on the wheat, banana and spice. However it thankfully has its own emphasis, with more a coriander spice that the more traditional clove, an element that almost calls to the more Belgian interpretation of the wit.

It is not as complex as weihenstephaner, but has its own twists. There is more hop bitterness and prickle here in what is traditionally a low hop style. Most unusual is a slight sour tang in the beer when cold. The element unfortunately disappears as it warms but is intriguing while it hangs around.

If I had to work out the biggest difference between the two I would say that this is more forthright, not as complex but more up front. The banana and apricot are thick and with this musty heaviness that actually works well and the weight allows the flavour to work well into the finish.

Overall a very flavoursome beer, chilled down more prickle and bitterness. Warm with greater character. Its own take and twists makes its identifiably different from other hefeweizens enough to stand on its own feet. Not better than weihenstephaner but allows for different appreciation.

Very nice, with just a tad more range it would be one of the greats.

Background: Can’t find much information on Plank Laaber, they are a small German brewery, won some awards, has a brewer with the last name Plank by the look of it. Anyway, grabbed this as it has been a while since I had some beer from a German brewery I hadn’t tried before. Drunk at Brewdog Bristol. Yes again. I know.

Bavarian Weizen

Brewdog: Unleash The Yeast: Bavarian Weizen (Scotland: Hefeweizen:6.3% ABV)

Visual: Golden grain. Yellowed off white head that leaves lace.

Nose: Mango. Paprika. Pepper and hops. Strawberry undertone. Good bitterness. Nettles.

Body: Real solid bitterness. Ripe banana. Apricot. Hops ahoy. Crisp character. Light banana syrup. Rough prickle on the tongue.

Finish: Lemon curd. Hops and bloody big bitterness. Kiwi. Lemon sherbet. Apricot. More hops. Grapefruit. Granite. Pepper.

Conclusion: Ok, conclusion on the yeast first. This yeast does absolutely nothing to blunt the hops. Nothing. Seriously. There is raw granite bitterness and a violent hop character to this one. I like it. Not sure if others would agree with me. It is very raw in how it treats its hoppiness.

Oddly the huge hoppiness here doesn’t come with an accompanying bursting fruit flavour. There is some fruit flavour there, but the American Ale yeast version delivered that aspect far more clearly. Also it is amazing how much flavour seems to come from the yeast alone, this has the banana, pepper and spice notes I would attributed to a hefeweizen, elements I always presumed came from other aspects of the beer. The pepper works particularly well, mixing with the hops in a harsh, but enjoyable fashion.

If this kind of reaction to the yeast is standard I can kind of see why Germans only recently started going for very highly hopped hefeweizens again. You really need a careful recipe to compensate with the rawness of hops, or it will only really appeal to insane hop heads like me.

Anyway, crisp, some sweet apricot fruit notes and a touch of tart fruit below, but those are more secondary notes with some sweetness attempting to offset the bitterness. Again this beer is a fascinating insight into the yeast but as a beer it is a tad niche and unsubtle. Though in a way I still do enjoy it.

A fun spin, but apart from yeast learning not one I can highly recommend.

Background: I’m a tad wary listing this as hefeweizen style, as despite using the yeast it doesn’t have any of the wheat bill to my knowledge, since all four of the unleash the yeast beers share the same recipe. Still, I’m not sure what else to call it, so it is listed as that, albeit with this disclaimer. Anyway, the next of the unleash the yeast beer, as mentioned above, four beers with the same recipe except for the yeast which changes each time. As always I am not an unbiased actor on Brewdog beers. Drunk while listening to a bit of Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip (Mainly “Though Shalt Always Kill”). Rate beer lists this as Bavaria Weizen currently, they are wrong. I am right, as my photo clearly shows.

Moon River: Turtle Moon Rye-Zin (rye-‘zn) (USA: Hefeweizen: 3.9% abv)

Visual: Very cloudy orange brown with a light white dust over it for a head.

Nose: Banana. Quite wheat filled and with light cloves.

Body: Banana bread. Slightly spicy, Rye bread. Spiced blood orange. Cloves. Wheat and toffee.

Finish: Banana. Pancakes. Slightly spicy.  Moderate bitterness. Dried spice jar. Quite a dry texture with it.

Conclusion: I had tried a slightly lackluster hefeweizen the day before from a different brewery which had left me with the question of if the USA could do the German style justice.  Also could they stop putting fruit in it, contrary to popular opinion that is not a common German tradition and it fecks up the beers head. Anyway this little eye opener then turned up.

The basic gist of the German weisse has been taken and kicked to a spicy place. It is like a spicy bourbon influenced weisse, which I take to be the ryes influence. The beer keeps nicely to the traditional banana and cloves properties, the beer is cloudy, and there is no fucking fruit in the glass. So far so good.

The addition of elements as if from a dried spice rack is interesting and could very easily be overwhelming, but used here in moderation is a welcome element. It is worth also how differently this beer hits the eye, it has a much darker colour than expected and a real cloudiness that makes the beer nearly opaque.  When the first bite is taken with the eye this whets the apatite.

It’s not a beer that will unseat the top hefeweizens, but it is different enough to make its own impact. It takes the idea of the light cloves element and ramps it up to make for a beer that leaves your tongue neatly seasoned by the end.  Not a beer I could have a lot of, the spice that makes it initially enjoyable does get irritating near the end of a pint.  In a smaller glass though it would be perfect. I do wonder what the base weisse would be like on its own, it seems to have not so much bitter as banoffee influenced taste, a solid one to work from for such an experimental beer.

Overall a great fun experiment and a solid beer.

Background: Rate beer has this listed as rye-‘zn, the Moon River board as Rye-Zin.  A lot of confusion already.  We visited the Moon River Brewpub in Savannah on the Road Trip Of Awesome.  This was a collaboration with Terrapin Brewery. A Hefeweizen made with rye added. That was such an odd idea I had to give it a try. Moon River also do an excellent IPA which I intended to review but never got the chance to do so.

Kiuchi: Hitachino Nest: Weizen (Japan: Hefeweizen: 5.5% ABV)

Visual: Slightly hazy. The colour is halfway between orange and mature banana skin. Surprisingly small bubbly white head. Looks somewhat fruit juice like in main body.

Nose: Wheat. Tangerine. Overripe banana. Ice cream syrup toppings. Cinnamon. Quite fresh and slightly acidic.

Body: Cloves. Fresh tangerine. Sherbet lemon. Banana. Moderate bitterness at the back. Tart apple juice.

Finish: Grapefruit juice. What and bitterness.

Conclusion: I didn’t realise it was possible to pour a weizen and not get a massive head.  Erm, maybe I should rephrase that, but I think you get the point. Most weisse beer end up being poured as if they were nitro glycerine just to make sure they don’t froth up.

This thing splashed into the glass from a great height , happily spilling around the glass with but a small set of bubbles forming over a fruit juice looking beer. Huh. Time to recheck the expectations I feel.

The aroma and body play in the right field. Wheat, fresh banana, but is tart and more acidic than I would usually expect. It is recognisably a weizen in ways,  such at the wheat in front and back, but has an unusual fresh tangerine acidity that is new.  The beer comes in a bit too fizzy which hides some of the flavour, but that is a common weizen flaw, and it taste well enough nonetheless.

Not to make too much of the beer, because it does have flaws, but I do find it immensely cheerful and a fun twist on the style. While still seeming familiar enough to make a relaxing summer days weizen, it does have good quirks.  It is much more fruit juice influenced, a tart grapefruit like finish and apple juice like element to main body are the most noticeable and they really help keep it fresh. In some ways it seems to pick up a few cues from the American Pale Ale style as well.

Now I wouldn’t recommend making a big deal out of hunting this down, it isn’t that amazing, but I would be lying if I said Id pass up the chance to try it again. It’s fun, fresh and has just enough weisse style. It’s not up there with the German takes on the style, but frankly, what is?

Background: Picked up from Brewdogs Guest Beer section (yes I have been saying that lot, don’t worry I just got my batch of beers from beers of Europe, so that’s the next phrase you will get sick of hearing). I really enjoy picking up beers from the growing Japanese craft beer scene, in part because of how few people seem to appreciate the quality beers being made there- and that includes the locals. I went for a hefeweizen as it was the beer style that first caught my attention for something different and wondered what spin the brewery would put on it. Incidentally I love the dinky little bottles, and just wish I had one of those small half pint versions of the Erdinger glass to use for the beer as they always look fun.

 

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