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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: brewmandan on August 04, 2011, 06:38:24 am

Title: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: brewmandan on August 04, 2011, 06:38:24 am
Hello everyone,

I have recently joined a homebrew club in San Diego, and I was chosen to do a full lecture on Hefeweizen style beers for our meeting next month.  I have already found some good information on the beer style, but I really want to bring up the discussion on lemons in beer.  I already know this is a hot issue with many people, but I am determined to get to the bottom of it.  Does a lemon belong in a wheat bear (more specifically a Hefeweizen) ????  I know it has not been traditionally used in Germany, but I also know they serve a drink that is half beer, half lemonade, so maybe there is something there.  Is this simply an issue of preference, or is there something more to it?  I would love any and all feedback I can get on the topic. ;D
Title: Re: Lemons in Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: brewmonk on August 04, 2011, 10:35:28 am
I know it has not been traditionally used in Germany, but I also know they serve a drink that is half beer, half lemonade, so maybe there is something there.  Is this simply an issue of preference, or is there something more to it?  I would love any and all feedback I can get on the topic. ;D
The German beer/lemonade combo is called called a "radler."

Not sure if this article I found is helpful:
http://www.imbibemagazine.com/Hazed-and-Confused-Hefeweizen (http://www.imbibemagazine.com/Hazed-and-Confused-Hefeweizen)

Personally, if I get a lemon slice I squeeze it in, if I don't I just drink it as is.

Sorry I can't contribute much more.  :-\
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: chezteth on August 04, 2011, 11:11:26 am
I feel it is a matter of personal preference.  When I drink a hefe sometimes I get a lemon wedge and other times I do not.  Unfortunately, I do not have any professional opinion about it.  sorry...Good luck with your quest.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: tomsawyer on August 04, 2011, 12:00:20 pm
Mosher has a short paragraph about this in his book Tasting Beer (great book).  He says there is no clear answer.

I think it is compatible for a couple of reasons:

1) weissbeers are a great summer beverage
2) wheat gives the beer a little tart snap that is not unlike a hint of citrus

Around here we are much more likely to get an orange slice than lemon.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: mabrungard on August 04, 2011, 01:33:33 pm
I was just at the Jolly Pumpkin/North Peak Brewery in Traverse City, MI yesterday and tasted a very interesting soured Weizen from Jolly Pumpkin, Weizen Bam Bier.  It blends a nice compliment of lactic acid notes to the typical banana/clove notes of a weizen.  Very refreshing. 

I can imagine the measured addition of citric acid and lemon notes to a weizen would also be very pleasant.  Weizen is a style that benefits greatly from a tart presentation and conversely is not very good when brewed with a water with excessive alkalinity that does not allow the tartness to come through. 

Lemon will be a fine addition.  Don't get too carried away though.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: euge on August 04, 2011, 06:16:48 pm
I don't care for lemon squeezed into my hefeweisse. Good beer shouldn't need it. That being said I will drink the hell out of a "radler" or "shandy".

It was back in the 90's when I heard the Germans originally started putting round slices of lemon in the hefeweisse to screw with the tourists. It would lodge about half way down the glass and when the glass was upended to unblock it the rest of the beer would gush out of the glass right into the person's face.

True? Don't know but it sounds good...
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: punatic on August 04, 2011, 06:33:06 pm
For me, putting a lemon slice in weissbier is equivalent to putting chocolate syrup on spaghetti.

Don't do it.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: bigchicken on August 04, 2011, 10:04:22 pm
I agree with the statement that it is like chocolate on spaghetti. To me, lemon should never make it into my beer. An orange slice on the other hand, goes great in some wheat beers like Blue Moon.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: Malticulous on August 04, 2011, 11:31:30 pm
Not in mine.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 05, 2011, 08:44:54 am
Germans, for all of their talk about beer purity, make a huge variety of beer/juice blends.  Several of the bars/breweries I went to in Berlin, Dresden, and Bamberg had many bottles of juice available to mix with the hefeweizen.  Star fruit hefeweizen?  Coming right up.  Banana juice hefeweizen?  No problem.

I like my hefe's plain.  If it is well made, it doesn't need anything added.  But you drink what you like, that's fine with me.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on August 05, 2011, 12:03:37 pm
Not being anything of an expert of German beers like I would like to be...but given that beer comes from the land of the Reinheitsgebot laws I would say traditionally no lemons allowed!  That being said, if you like it and you want to do it, go for it.  I personally like come citrus in a wheat beer, but that's just me. 
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: a10t2 on August 05, 2011, 12:59:24 pm
Germans, for all of their talk about beer purity, make a huge variety of beer/juice blends.

Or maybe they make a lot of beer/juice blends *because of* the focus on beer purity...
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: bluesman on August 05, 2011, 01:40:24 pm
I think the best way to understand the effects of adding lemon to your beer is to do it, but try adding some to a commercial example first. Purchase a commercial example or two and add a small amount of lemon juice to the beer and taste it. If it's to your liking then you have your answer.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: Tim McManus on August 05, 2011, 02:44:27 pm
I have a lemon hefeweizen recipe that is a staple summer beer that I brew.  There are many things that lemon will do to your beer, and all should be considered when adding some.

I've been brewing this recipe for the better part of 12 years.  I've put whole lemons in, squeezed them, and just added lemon concentrate (plastic yellow lemon things you get at the supermarket).

The peel and the rind should be discarded and not used.  In many cases store-bought lemons have a wax covering and are dyed yellow.  Neither of these things are unhealthy but the wax and oils from the peel will kill head retention, even in a wheat.  One batch I made had no head whatsoever.  It was carbonated but the head dissipated like a soft drink.

The rind is bitter and will contribute a unique bitter taste to the beer.  Not a pleasant hop bitterness but a lemon rind bitterness.  It'll be subtle depending on the amount of lemons used, but it'll be there.

It's also important to note when the lemons are being added to the beer.  They can be added at the end of the boil to steep or at some point during fermentation.  Adding them at the last 5 minutes of the boil somewhat subdues the lemon flavor and seems to integrate it better with the beer, but adding lemons in the primary or secondary gives it a more bold and pronounced lemon flavor.

And of course there's the amount of lemons added to the beer.  Do you want a soft, subtle lemon flavor that shows up in the middle of the beer like a "C" hop and then fade with the rest of the beer taste, or do you want a bold, in-your-face lemon flavor that dominates from the aroma through to the finish that leaves you feeling like you just plopped a lemon drop into your mouth?

I took my hefeweizen based and added some slightly darker grains (Carmel 60) and usually squeeze 9 fresh lemons into the last 5-min of the boil.  The darker grains sweeten and subdue the phenols and esters from the yeast allowing the lemon to blend more equally with those flavors.  The resulting flavor is a unique iced-tea-like, and the alcohol is low.  It's my "lawnmower beer", and it's one of my wife's favorites.  It's by no means perfect, but it's a complex but nicely balanced summertime beer.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: tschmidlin on August 05, 2011, 05:40:46 pm
Germans, for all of their talk about beer purity, make a huge variety of beer/juice blends.

Or maybe they make a lot of beer/juice blends *because of* the focus on beer purity...
Entirely possible - I suppose that way you know that the beer is pure before you get it, and you can see what they do at the bar.  I'm still going to turn my nose up at hefe mixed with cola though. :)
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: Titanium Brewing on August 06, 2011, 12:45:41 am
given that beer comes from the land of the Reinheitsgebot laws I would say traditionally no lemons allowed!

The Reinheitsgebot would not apply. It only affects the brewing of the beer. As far as I know, it is not traditional in any sense. I recently came back from a trip to Central & East Europe and never was I served a lemon with beer, nor did I see anyone else with a lemon or orange wedge. Though the "blends" can get interesting, as mentioned previously. A cold Ottakringer Radler at a park in Vienna on a hot summer day is most delicious.
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on August 06, 2011, 02:46:56 am
given that beer comes from the land of the Reinheitsgebot laws I would say traditionally no lemons allowed!

The Reinheitsgebot would not apply. It only affects the brewing of the beer. As far as I know, it is not traditional in any sense. I recently came back from a trip to Central & East Europe and never was I served a lemon with beer, nor did I see anyone else with a lemon or orange wedge. Though the "blends" can get interesting, as mentioned previously. A cold Ottakringer Radler at a park in Vienna on a hot summer day is most delicious.

Did you get around to trying the local distilled liquor?!  I know how to say it...but spelling...maybe rakkia.  Anyway I too spent a some time there, actually a year, and never saw a slice or wedge or anything in a beer.  But, given some of the previous posts with lemons squeezed into the last few minutes of the brew or primary/secondary I think there's a reason why the beer was blended rather than brewed.  My thoughts though for what their worth. 
Title: Re: Lemons is Hefenweizen... What do you think?
Post by: punatic on August 06, 2011, 07:28:33 am
As far as I know, it is not traditional in any sense. I recently came back from a trip to Central & East Europe and never was I served a lemon with beer, nor did I see anyone else with a lemon or orange wedge.

Anyway I too spent a some time there, actually a year, and never saw a slice or wedge or anything in a beer. 

I spent quite a bit of time in Bavaria in the 80s.  I never saw fresh fruit served in beer either,  but something I did see that I thought was amusing was beer being sent back to the bar for not having enough head on it.   Beer and wine glasses there have measured serving volume lines marked on them.  In beer glasses the liquid portion of the serving must be up to that line, and foam must fill the space in the glass above the line.

And, this is really interesting, they have little metal tubes that are filled with warm water and hung in beer steins to keep beer from getting too cold when it is served in cold weather - beer warmers... :o