Wednesday, July 18, 2012

'Tis the season for ... wheat

To deal with the 100 degree heat, Mrs. HolzBrew and I have recently been on a wheat brew kick.  Wheat beers are brewed with a large quantity of ... wheat (no surprises there), but they may also contain malted barley.  Wheat beers are typically "top-fermented", meaning they are brewed with an ale yeast strain.  Additionally, they are usually low IBU beers (read: not hoppy), however, some American wheat ales do not keep in line with that sweeping generalization.

While there are many beers that contain wheat, generally speaking there are two major categories of wheat ale, the Belgian Witbiers and the German Weizen (Western and Northern Germany) or Weiss (Bavaria) beers.  On the German side of the ledger, most people are familiar with the hefeweizen.  The style is particularly noted for its high carbonation and low hop bitterness.  Further, another defining characteristic of the hefeweizen beer is its distinctive phenolic character.  This flavor is oftentimes described as "clove."  Other distinctive flavors include "banana" and "bubblegum" and Mrs. HolzBrew's least favorite "band-aid." 

We recently picked up seven German Hefes at Big Red here in town for comparison (Weihenstephaner not pictured above).  We drank them two at a time (except the Weihenstephaner, which we drank seperately) and this how the match ups turned out:

Hofbrau v. Paulaner:  Winner --> Paulaner

Erdinger v. Hacker-Pschorr:  Winner --> Hacker-Pschorr

Ayinger vs. Scheiderweisse:  Winner --> Scheiderweisse
On another note, a really nice guy we met on a flight out to Colorado a few months back, just happened to be a wheat farmer from Kansas.  After finding out that I was a homebrewer he offered to send us some wheat that I could use to brew with.  I just recieved an email from him this week saying that his wheat harvest was all done and that our wheat was in the mail.  I'm excited to see how much is coming our way.  And I'm a little intimidated about trying to malt a significant quantity of harvested wheat.  I've never malted grain before, I usually just buy it malted.  Regardless, it should be an adventure.  If we are sent a decent amount (15 lbs+), I'm thinking about brewing a wheat wine with it.  Here is a picture from Jason of our wheat being harvested:

Drink your wheat!


1 comment:

holzspeaks said...

H'wheat beers are my favorite. I think that you need one of these: