Some people really enjoy a chewy wheat. Me personally I kinda like it on the other side. When I make my wheat beers, I tend to make more that are on the American wheat side.
So what is the difference between a German Wheat and an American Wheat?
The real big difference is that with German wheat beers, you get a huge banana flavor that comes out of it. Normally you find that these are going to be low on hops as well. For American wheats, you get less of the banana and clove notes and can go a bit more hoppy.
So how can you achieve this?
The easiest way is to just change the yeast. We carry white labs yeast and there is actually a yeast called, WLP 320 American Ale Yeast. The whole purpose of this yeast is to take after the American style. It stays low on the banana notes as well as clove notes.
Why do an American Wheat?
I like American wheats because you can do a little more to them, of course that is just my opinion. I have been in a trend for some time dry hopping American wheats. The nice thing about it is that you can build some complexity in your beer that way. Another plus to American wheats are that they are a great fishing beer or poolside beer. Most importantly to me I can share it with almost anyone.
So what does one look like? Well here is a recipe that I created for an American wheat. This is what I would like to call my summer fishing beer.
Summer Wheat – The Fishing Beer
2 lbs Wheat DME
3 lbs Pils DME
8 oz Caravienna
4 oz Honey Malt
1 oz Mt. Hood (60min)
1 oz Centennial (dry hop)
- Take 2.5 gallons of water and heat up to 150 degrees
- Steep grains for 30 min
- Take grains out, add in malt extract and bring to a boil.
- In the beginning of the boil add 1 oz of Mt. Hood hops.
- Boil for 60min.
- Cool the wort down and put it into a fermenter, fill it up to 5 gallons and pitch yeast.
- Ferment for 7-14 days.
- Add 1 oz of Centennial Hops and ferment for 7 days.
- Then bottle using 5 oz of corn sugar.
About this recipe:
What is kinda cool about this recipe is, it is a wheat but with a twist. The honey malt, is going to naturally bring an undertone of honey as well as nuttyness to the beer. Honey malt always reminds me of honey nut Cheerios. Caravienna malt is a malt that will give a bit of color, sweetness and a light bready flavor to it. My main focus on this beer was just to have something refreshing with the summer heat to come. So don’t want too big of flavors to come out in any direction.
The hops for this are Mt. Hood and Centennial. The Mount Hood hops are very much like Hallertau hops but a bit more spicy and a little bit more in the alpha acid. It really is the American cousin of the hop. As far as Centennial, this is going to be only for the nose and has a grape fruit like smell to it. Centennial hops are pretty close to cascade in the flavor aspect but just a little bit more in every direction, they were actually derived off of Cascade hops.
Some Other Options:
If you wanted to use this recipe for a base, some suggestion that you could do would be:
- Dry hop with Citra or Amarillo. Citra would have a melonish as well as lime like smell. Amarillo is going to be a bit spicy in smell.
- You could always put lemon zest in secondary and give it a really big citrus smell. If you do that make sure to wash the lemon real well to get off the wax.
- I’ve never done it but what might be neat is also adding some toasted coconut to the secondary.
- Mango in the secondary
- Orange zest in the secondary
As you can see, it is a pretty versatile beer and you can really do a lot to it. Over all this recipe is pretty good in my opinion. I would have to say that the part that I like most about this beer is that it is pretty easy to drink and the refreshing nature of this beer. I’m one of those people who like to drink the beer which is seasonal for that time of year. I wouldn’t recommend drinking this one in the winter time but from May-September it is a pretty good fit! Hope you enjoy!