A Hefeweizen (hay-fuh-veyt-sssenn) is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of beer styles. Germans often call this style a Weissbier while North Americans lean towards Hefeweizen. By either name, Hefeweizen Beers are a wheat and yeast mix that has an impressive history.
Brewed in the South of Germany, Hefeweizen gets its name from the German roots of the word, hefe being a term for “yeast” and weizen meaning “wheat”. Put these together and you have a Hefeweizen, or an unfiltered wheat beer with yeast in it.
What is the Appearance and Taste of a Hefeweizen?
One can expect a cloudy look and a bitter flavor from a Hefeweizen. The appearance comes from the unfiltered yeast and the flavor emerges from the wheat. In combination with the wheat, the yeast helps give it the unique and definitive flavor-style of a classic Weissbier. Cloves, bananas, spices and even notes of apple can be found on the palate and nose with an often sharp, dry edge to it. They have a moderate ABV range of 4.0 - 7.0% and not a lot of hop bitterness.
How does Hefeweizen distinguish itself from other wheat beers?
A traditional wheat beer such as a Weissbier is a kind of beer that is brewed with a large portion of wheat malt containing at least 50 percent wheat. There are four categories of German Weissbier: Kristallweizen, Dunkelweizen, Weizenbock, and of course, Hefeweizen. Of these four, Hefeweizen is the most popular. The distinguishing quality of a Hefeweizen is that it is an unfiltered ale meaning the brewer’s yeast is left in suspension, as said before, giving it the cloudy look, and the heavy wheat in it offers a refreshing flavor compared to the others.
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