Author Topic: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?  (Read 3155 times)

Offline Village Taphouse

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When I was a newbie homebrewer I ordered (or bought) a kit called American Wheat.  The LME was a mix of wheat and 2-row and there was one hop addition at the start of the boil which was something "neutral" like Willamette or Perle or something.  Not fruity.  Maybe 23-24 IBUs, a medium-gold color, very refreshing and thirst quenching.  The yeast was something like Muntons.  This was probably 18-20 years ago.  That particular recipe design has stuck in my head and over the years I have made similar beers.  In talking with other brewers, they put their spin on it by using fruity hops like Citra or Galaxy, they may late-hop it and some use it as a springboard to add things like fruit, pablano peppers, grains of paradise, etc.  I just drew up a recipe using a mix of Maris Otter, Avangard 2-row and wheat and then hopping it once with US Saaz (Hop Heaven) to about 24 IBUs and I plan to ferment it with 1968 and try like hell to keep the diacetyl at bay.  Who here makes something that they call an "American Wheat" and how do you do it?
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Offline denny

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2021, 03:40:14 PM »
I don't think I'd call that a typical American wheat.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2021, 03:43:40 PM »
Oberon comes to my mind.  Pretty popular - it used to just come out in the spring and Bell's sets out the recipe on their website:

https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2239/2667/files/Oberon_All_Grain_Recipe_fdc9b993-c9f6-434f-a5e5-eb47005fd45f.pdf?155

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Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2021, 04:00:51 PM »
So like a Hoegaarden style of beer (Belgian Witbier) but with more American ingredients?  Yeah, that makes sense.  Does that put it into the category of a Shock Top, Blue Moon, etc?  If so, I would want to call this beer something different like a Blonde, Golden Ale, etc. 
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Offline erockrph

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So like a Hoegaarden style of beer (Belgian Witbier) but with more American ingredients?  Yeah, that makes sense.  Does that put it into the category of a Shock Top, Blue Moon, etc?  If so, I would want to call this beer something different like a Blonde, Golden Ale, etc.
I think of Blue Moon as a wit. American Wheat should have a clean yeast character.

To me an American Wheat is close to a blonde ale. American hop character is fine, but not in excess - that would push it in an APA direction.

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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2021, 05:55:49 PM »
I think of a bland yeasty beer like a German hefeweizen but without any clove or banana.  Popular examples have included those from Widmer and Pyramid.  Not a favorite style of mine at all, boring.  The thing that first defined it long ago was the haze.  These days, of course, haze is no big deal.  Add some crap to it, sure, that might make it taste better... but then it isn't a true American Wheat anymore either, at least by my mind's definition, which tells me it's yeasty but otherwise bland.

Shock Top and Blue Moon are somewhere in between two styles, more like a Belgian witbier including coriander, but made with American ingredients.  Not what I would consider an "American Wheat" though.  There is too much flavor in a wit-like beer to be part of the old "American Wheat" style.  Not that more flavor is a bad thing.  Like I said, I don't really like the style.

Bell's Oberon, IF it is truly part of the American Wheat, is probably the best example of such a thing.  The yeast here makes the beer interesting enough to want to taste it again and again.  Oberon is good stuff.

I would be remiss if I did not mention New Glarus Spotted Cow.  This beer fits the bill rather perfectly.  And... it sucks, IMO.  Our club met Dan Carey once, asking what he really felt about this beer, and he basically shrugged and said, "well, it pays the bills."  I couldn't agree more!
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Online RC

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2021, 06:00:12 PM »
What I envision when I hear "American Wheat"...day-old pasta water mixed with yeast slurry comes to mind.

Online Megary

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2021, 06:03:53 PM »
50/50 Pils and Wheat
20-25 IBU's
Willamette
4.5-5% ABV
Clean American Yeast (BRY-97)

Clean and crushable.  Great backyard summer beer.  I'll even add a slice of lemon or lime. 

I'll be brewing one in May.


**Edit**

For the record, I'm not a fan of Oberon.  That spicy thing is not what I'm after with this style.  Just my preference.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2021, 06:12:26 PM by Megary »

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2021, 06:12:11 PM »
50/50 Pils and Wheat
20-25 IBU's
Willamette
4.5-5% ABV
Clean American Yeast (BRY-97)

Clean and crushable.  Great backyard summer beer.  I'll even add a slice of lemon or lime. 

I'll be brewing one in May.
Yes, you're reading my mind and in the past I have absolutely added a slice of lemon.  Now I don't know if this is really an AMERICAN WHEAT or just an ale made with a good percentage of wheat.  The Hoegaarden/Belgian Wit thing with the coriander and orange peel is not my thing at all so I want to stay away from that beer and also that description.  I believe that homebrew recipes that tried to copy Oberon used Wyeast 1010 which is called an American Wheat yeast.  I think I tried it once and though it was more neutral, there was a faint something about it that I did not care for. 

Megary's description is exactly what I have in mind.  The fact that there may be only one hop addition makes the beer pretty poundable...it's refreshing and goes down easy.  My version will be clear with the 1968 doing the fermenting. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline Drewch

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2021, 06:14:28 PM »
50/50 Pils and Wheat
20-25 IBU's
Willamette
4.5-5% ABV
Clean American Yeast (BRY-97)

Clean and crushable.  Great backyard summer beer.  I'll even add a slice of lemon or lime. 

I'll be brewing one in May.

Basically this. 

Pale or Pils + Wheat malt + moderate bittering with a classically American hop variety.  Odell Easy Street Wheat defines the genre for me.
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Offline skyler

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2021, 06:19:02 PM »
I immediately think of the inside of a Pyramid or Gordon Biersch in the late '90s and a cloudy beer with a slice of orange or lemon on it. That was back when American Wheat beers were basically blonde ales with 30-40% wheat and suspended yeast. That was also back when many (most?) "serious" beer bars and breweries had a German theme. I was a teenager then and considered "hefeweizens" (actually American wheat beers because I did not know the difference) to be the best-tasting beers.

Offline nateo

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2021, 06:27:05 PM »
Agreed on Easy Street being a good example. I like Boulevard's wheat as well. I really enjoyed that split second when everyone was making a hoppy wheat like Schneider and Sohn, but that was a blink and you'll miss it fad. I think some light dry hopping with something citrusy is a good complement to the style.
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Offline PORTERHAUS

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2021, 06:46:32 PM »
I think of a very simple, crisp, light refreshing Ale with just a hint of hop character and grainy note to it. Maybe an ever so slight haze that makes you think Wheat Beer. Goose Island has one called 312 (one of the area codes for Chicago) and that's exactly what I kind of think of. Something like the Wheat version of Cream Ale.

On the other hand, that's not what I really care to drink or would want to brew. They did have a special release of a Dry Hopped 312 and that was fantastic but I have yet to see it again. 3 Floyds in Munster, IN has one they call Gumball Head. It used to be quite hoppy years ago but compared to things now, it is a quite mild in that department. But it is basically a blend of 2 Row/Wheat and a pinch of Melanoidin malt and all Amarillo hops. I have brewed a clone of it several times and it is a really nice session beer. More malt character, more hop flavor but still easy drinking back yard, beach, anytime kind of beer. I brew it with Caravienne instead of the Melanoidin and typically just use US-05.

As for others, Blue Moon, Shock Top, Oberon (haven't had that one much though) seem to be more light versions of Witbier style. They also have their place, I actually like Shock Top when I have a taste for it.

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2021, 07:18:05 PM »
I've had plenty of 312 and it's a perfectly fine beer but I don't really drink it unless I'm out somewhere and the beer list is subpar.  It kind of sounds like my recipe and the term "American Wheat" are not really compatible so I may just call it a "wheat ale" (which I think 312 is called) and just wash my hands.  It's been awhile since I have made it and Megary's description of it being a great summer/backyard beer is spot on.  I have some pics of some of these beers but I can't find them. 
Ken from Chicago

Offline majorvices

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Re: What do you envision when you hear the term "American Wheat"?
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2021, 07:47:23 PM »
Widmer obviously.