A talk on the Hefeweizen style, given by Lee Immins at the July 2015 London Amateur Brewers meeting.
Lee Immins July 2015
Pronuncia)on guide for English-‐speakers:
"hay-‐fuh-‐veyt-‐sssenn" (Do NOT pronounce it
• While Bavaria has a wheat beer tradiKon
daKng back hundreds of years, brewing wheat
beer used to be a monopoly reserved for
Bavarian royalty. Modern weissbier dates
from 1872 when Schneider began producKon.
However, pale weissbier only became popular
since the 1960s.
• Grist : at least 50% wheat malt (up to 70% is common).
Rest is Pilsner malt. Can use oat husks/rice hulls to reduce
risk of stuck mash.
• IBU : 8-‐15 with noble hops.
• Yeast : Hefeweizen yeast. WLP 300/3068 (Weihenstephan)
and others. Mauribrew Weiss dry yeast.
• ABV : 4.3-‐5.6% (SG 1044-‐1052, FG 1010-‐1014)
• Water : ideally soe. Cl:S04 1:1
Single or double decocKon is tradiKonal.
Single infusion can be used eﬀecKvely in a homebrew
segng. (I’ve mashed at 67C, no other rests)
A ferulic acid rest 43–45 °C (at higher pH to normal)
will accentuate clove ﬂavours (4 vinyl guaiacol).
A protein mash at 50C will reduce the risk of a stuck
Boil – 90 minutes (more protein, less tannins, pilsner
malt – DMS risk)
FermentaKon factors are highly important in this style
Striking a balance between the clove and banana in a hefe-‐weizen is
Yeast strain choice is going to be the most important variable.
However, other things also play a role. Eg ferulic acid rest, pitch rates
• Fermenta)on temperature 12-‐24C(!) – 17 or 18 is a good place to start
If you want a banana dominated beer, strive to sKmulate ester producKon.
This will mask the 4VG in your beer. Your most eﬀecKve controller of
this — beyond the yeast strain selecKon — is a higher fermentaKon
If you want a clove-‐dominated beer, strive to keep ester producKon in
check, which will allow the 4VG to come through. Lower fermentaKon
temperatures and secondarily higher pitching rates are what you want
in that case. The exact temperatures at which banana starts to exceed
clove depend on your yeast strain and pitching rate — and given all the
variables is something you would need to ﬁne-‐tune in your brewery.
Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing German wheat beer with high carbonaKon, dry ﬁnish, a ﬂuﬀy mouthfeel, and a disKncKve banana-‐
and-‐clove yeast character.
Aroma: Moderate to strong phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (typically banana). The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester
components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. The hop character ranges from low to
none. A light to moderate wheat aroma (which might be perceived as bready or grainy) may be present but other malt
characterisKcs should not. OpKonal, but acceptable, aromaKcs can include a light to moderate vanilla character, and/or a faint
bubblegum aroma. None of these opKonal characterisKcs should be high or dominant, but oeen can add to the complexity and
Appearance: Pale straw to gold in color. A very thick, moussy, long-‐lasKng white head is characterisKc. The high protein content of wheat
impairs clarity in an unﬁltered beer, although the level of haze is somewhat variable.
Flavor: Low to moderately strong banana and clove ﬂavor. The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but
the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. OpKonally, a very light to moderate vanilla character and/or faint
bubblegum notes can accentuate the banana ﬂavor, sweetness and roundness; neither should be dominant if present. The soe,
somewhat bready or grainy ﬂavor of wheat is complementary, as is a slightly grainy-‐sweet malt character. Hop ﬂavor is very low to
none, and hop biVerness is very low to moderately low. Well-‐rounded, ﬂavorful palate with a relaKvely dry ﬁnish. The percepKon of
sweetness is more due to the absence of hop biVerness than actual residual sweetness; a sweet or heavy ﬁnish would signiﬁcantly
Mouthfeel: Medium-‐light to medium body; never heavy. Suspended yeast may increase the percepKon of body. The texture of wheat
imparts the sensaKon of a ﬂuﬀy, creamy fullness that may progress to a light, spritzy ﬁnish aided by high to very high carbonaKon.
Comments: These are refreshing, fast-‐maturing beers that are lightly hopped and show a unique banana-‐and-‐clove yeast character.
These beers oeen don’t age well and are best enjoyed while young and fresh. The version mit hefe is served with suspended yeast;
the krystal version is ﬁltered for excellent clarity. The character of a krystal weizen is generally fruiKer and less phenolic than that of
the weissbier mit hefe. May be known as hefeweizen, parKcularly in the United States.
History:While Bavaria has a wheat beer tradiKon daKng back hundreds of years, brewing wheat beer used to be a monopoly reserved for
Bavarian royalty. Modern weissbier dates from 1872 when Schneider began producKon. However, pale weissbier only became
popular since the 1960s. It is quite popular today, parKcularly in southern Germany.
Characteris)c Ingredients: By German brewing tradiKon, at least 50% of the grist must be malted wheat, although some versions use up
to 70%; the remainder is typically Pilsner malt. A decocKon mash is tradiKonal, although modern brewers typically don’t follow this
pracKce. Weizen ale yeast produces the typical spicy and fruity character, although high fermentaKon temperatures can aﬀect the
balance and produce
Vital Sta)s)cs: OG: 1.044 – 1.052
IBUs: 8 – 15 FG: 1.010 – 1.014
SRM: 2 – 6 ABV: 4.3 – 5.6%
Commercial Examples: Ayinger Bräu Weisse, Hacker-‐ Pschorr Weisse, Paulaner Hefe-‐Weizen Naturtrüb, Schneider Weisse Unser Original,
• Other wheat beer strains include Wyeast 3333 German Wheat, a good
strain to use if you want to make a kristallweizen — a clear German wheat
beer with the same clove and banana as a hefe-‐weizen.
• Wyeast 3638 Bavarian Wheat yeast produces esters reminiscent of pears,
plums and apples, along with the usual banana ester (iso-‐amyl acetate).
• White Labs WLP380 Hefeweizen IV is a strain that produces less of the
banana aroma, and more sulfur.
• White Labs WLP351 Bavarian Weizen yeast is another strain that produces
a clasic wheat beer proﬁle when handled correctly.
• Wheat beer yeasts used to only be available from liquid yeast
manufacturers, but now there are also dried yeast strains available —
FermenKs WB-‐06 Dry Wheat Beer Yeast and Danstar Munich German
Wheat Beer Yeast (also packaged as Lallemand Munich German Wheat