Wheat wine is probably one of the most extreme craft beers to have ever lived. This accidental yet beautiful discovery is a product of a mistake.
Two friends put in a lot of extra wheat in their beer wort by accident and, in the end, found this new beer flavor bordering wine. This is how this beer came into being.
If you are an experimental beer lover, this blog is the right fit for you to know all about wheat wine.
Wheat Wine Stats
|ABV||8.5 – 12.2 percent|
|IBU||45 – 85|
|Color – SRM||5 – 15|
|Serving temperature||55 – 60 F|
Wheat Wine Review
A wheat wine might have been an accidental find. Still, it has made its mark with its unique characteristics. Though wheat wine beer has many new craft versions across breweries, some core characteristics are always the same. Here are some features that will guide you.
The color of wheat wine beer ranges from a light pale tinge to a golden brown. Some experimental craft versions of this beer can also have hints of red or amber to it. It has a firm foam at the top that is mostly creamy and pale yellow when poured.
It does not have a very clear finish and portrays a hazy appearance when poured. The little higher protein content in wheat makes the brewed beer a little on the thicker side than other pale ales.
Wheat wine beer has a medium to very strong alcoholic fragrance. This mostly happens due to its high ABV. It sometimes also has a fruity, caramel, or honey-like smell. The strongest smell among these is the almost breadlike aroma, very similar to that of wine. Wheat wine in its true form almost smells like dough and cracker-like.
The heavy use of wheat malt imparts depth to the wheat wine ale. The wheat wine also has notes of a strong hop smell to finish it off.
Wheat wine has a heavy-bodied mouthfeel with a medium to high carbonated fizzy effect inside the mouth. The high alcohol level leaves a tingling sensation, and the hop brings a smooth but bitter finish.
A wheat wine ale typically hits a lot of notes on your flavor palette. It has a strong sense of honey, caramel, and fresh bread flavors. The basic taste is not very sweet but a good bitter kick of hop.
The taste of a wheat wine can come off as too strong and extreme to new beer lovers due to its heavy wheat flavor. The taste is generally very wheaty and flour-like but has notes of fruitness. The overall alcohol feel is not very high but has a clean finish in the mouth.
– Food Pairings
Since a wheat wine beer has high alcohol content, you can pair it with any hot cuisines like Asian, Jamaican, or Mexican.
Any form of smokey or smoky meat like pork, duck, beef, or even chicken goes well with the bitter-sweet flavor of the beer. The hotness from these foods cuts through the bitterness of the hop-kicked wheat wine and forms a perfect culinary balance.
As the wheat wine has a heavy wine-like feeling, different kinds of cheese and desserts also pair well with it. You can enjoy a glass of wheat wine with a fruity dessert or a strong, pungent cheese. The aroma of the cheese opens up new levels of flavor in this wheat and is one to cherish. A brie wheel, goat cheese, or blue cheese will also work well.
Due to the unique flavor profile, food and beer enthusiasts insist that this particular beer goes best with modern food.
Wheat wine brewing involves a lot of hops and wheat usage. The perfect balance of the two and the more than usual malt wheat usage leads to the wine-like taste. Wheat wine uses top-fermenting yeast and needs warm conditions to brew properly. It uses as much as 50 percent malt wheat to get this finish.
It also uses hops like:
- German Magnum
- Nelson Sauvin
The hops used in this beer can be customized according to the brewer’s preference and flavor profile.
The general composition of Wheat wine includes the following:
Wheat wine beer originated in 1987 in California, USA. Two homebrewer friends, Phil Moeller and his buddy experimented with new craft beer flavors when they put in excess wheat for fermenting.
As fate would have it after that, the makers were determined to see what this mistake brewed in the end.
To their surprise, after days of patient waiting and the first sip of their accidental work, they realized they had created something extraordinary.
What Is a Wheat Wine?
Wheat wine is an American wheat beer with a very bold bread-like wheaty flavor. It is loved by people who are high on the experiment quotient. Wheat wine has forever been an experimental heavy craft beer leading to mass popularity. Beer lovers appreciate the real depths of flavor in this accidental beer.
A wheat wine beer falls under the broader ale category of beers. But as the name might suggest, no grapes are actually used in the wheat wine brewing process. In reality, the excess use of malt wheat brings this unique depth of flavor, which often does not sit well with ardent beer lovers
– Wheat Wine Cocktail
If you love a revitalizing cocktail to beat the summer heat, then this one is just the right recipe for you.
Use half a liter of regular wine with one whole liter of wheat wine beer and mix well in a cocktail shaker. After this, you can add raspberry juice/syrup and squashed fresh berries and mix again. Pour it into a glass filled with ice cubes and serve cold.
The mix of alcohol gives it quite a punch, so be sure to serve in small portions. The fruity, refreshing berry taste gives it a nice kick added to the hop-infused beer flavors.
– Wheat Wine You Must Try
- Double Barrel Maple In the Wood from the Side Project Brewing
- Friends of Prey by the Mikkeller Brewing of San Diego
- Bourbon County Brand Caramella Wheatwine (2020) by the Goose Island Beer Co.
- The Revival (Elijah Craig Barrel-Aged) from the Pipeworks Brewing Company
- Vanilla Bean & Orange Peel Wood Ya Honey by the Jackie O’s Brewery
These are some of the top-rated craft wheat wines across the USA. Among the above, the Bourbon County by Goose Island is an award-winning wheat wine.
– Brewing Your Own Wheat Wine Beer
If you are a home brewer or even starting, this wheat wine brewing is for you to try. What was once an accidental discovery by two Americans has turned into a great craft beer for your taste buds.
Here’s all you need for the easiest yet tasty wheat wine homebrew:
- Half a kilogram of American malt wheat
- One kilogram of raisins
- Half a kilogram of potatoes, peeled and diced
- One kilogram of sugar
- One ounce of top-fermenting yeast (there is a huge variety to choose from)
- One-gallon water – a little extra if needed
- Use hops based on your bitterness threshold. Suggestions – German Magnum Hops, Citra Hops, Nelson Sauvin Hops, etc.
Wash, dice, and pour all the ingredients into the fermenting unit except the sugar and water. Boil the water and pour it onto the fermenting unit. Slowly add the sugar and stir well so that it dissolves satisfactorily.
Once the liquid inside the fermenting bowl is cooled, add the yeast. Do not add any yeast when the temperature is high. It will die instantly, and you will need to restart the whole process.
Cover the bowl or jar and keep it in complete darkness when the yeast is all well and fermented. It should be away from sunlight and airtight. You need to let it ferment for a good 10 months to one year for its flavors to develop. You must stir the liquid at regular intervals to not let it sediment. You can start putting them in bottles after it has fermented for a good 12 months.
The liquid temperature should range between 55 – 66 F for the yeast to work perfectly.
Wheat wine brewing was an accidental discovery, but it has made its mark in the market. Though it is not high on the popularity meter, it is steadily gaining attention.
A major fun fact about this wheat wine is that it can stay on the shelf for ages without rotting.
This is rare for any beer, be it craft or store-bought beer. The uniqueness and almost weird tale of discovery give it the edge. Here are all the things you need to know about this wheat wine beer:
- It has a wine-like taste and relies on heavy use of malt wheat and hops.
- The beer has almost a breadlike taste and smell.
- It was an accidental discovery in the USA by a couple of friends.
- You can make refreshing cocktails with it.
- It supports excellent food pairings with smoked and roasted food as well as cheese and dessert.
If you are a beer lover, you should try to make your own version of this wheat wine ale/beer on your next taste trip. The layers of flavors are worth a shot.
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