Style Details

Ame­ri­can Wheat Beer
Stan­dard Ame­ri­can Beer
BJCP Style Code
1 D
Usual­ly pale yel­low to gold. Cla­ri­ty may ran­ge from bril­li­ant to hazy with yeast appro­xi­mat­ing the Ger­man weiss­bier style of beer. Big, long-las­ting white head.
Low to mode­ra­te grai­ny, brea­dy, or doug­hy wheat cha­rac­ter. A light to mode­ra­te mal­ty sweet­ness is accep­ta­ble. Esters can be mode­ra­te to none, alt­hough should reflect rela­tively neu­tral yeast strains; bana­na is inap­pro­pria­te. Hop aro­ma may be low to mode­ra­te, and can have a citru­sy, spi­cy, flo­ral, or frui­ty cha­rac­ter. No clove phenols.
Light to modera­te­ly-strong brea­dy, doug­hy, or grai­ny wheat fla­vor, which can lin­ger into the finish. May have a mode­ra­te mal­ty sweet­ness or finish quite dry. Low to mode­ra­te hop bit­ter­ness, which some­ti­mes lasts into the finish. Balan­ce is usual­ly even, but may be slight­ly bit­ter. Low to mode­ra­te hop fla­vor (citru­sy, spi­cy, flo­ral, or frui­ty). Esters can be mode­ra­te to none, but should not include bana­na. No clove phe­nols. May have a slight­ly crisp finish.
Medi­um-light to medi­um body. Medi­um-high to high car­bo­na­ti­on. Slight cre­a­mi­ness is optio­nal; wheat beers some­ti­mes have a soft, ‘fluffy’ impression.
Over­all Impression
Refres­hing wheat beers that can dis­play more hop cha­rac­ter and less yeast cha­rac­ter than their Ger­man cou­sins. A clean fer­men­ta­ti­on cha­rac­ter allows brea­dy, doug­hy, or grai­ny wheat fla­vors to be com­ple­men­ted by hop fla­vor and bit­ter­ness rather than yeast qualities.
Typi­cal Ingredients
Clean Ame­ri­can ale or lager yeast (Ger­man weiss­bier yeast is inap­pro­pria­te). Lar­ge pro­por­ti­on of wheat malt (often 30–50%, which is lower than is typi­cal in Ger­man weiss­biers). Ame­ri­can, Ger­man, or New World hops are typical.
An Ame­ri­can craft beer adapt­a­ti­on of the Ger­man weiss­bier style using a clea­ner yeast and more hops, first wide­ly popu­la­ri­zed by Wid­mer in the mid-1980s.
Dif­fe­rent varia­ti­ons exist, from an easy-drin­king fair­ly sweet beer to a dry, aggres­si­ve­ly-hop­ped beer with a strong wheat fla­vor. Ame­ri­can rye beers should be ente­red in the Alter­na­ti­ve Fer­men­ta­bles spe­cial­ty category.
Com­mer­cial Examples
Bell’s Obe­ron, Bou­le­vard Unfil­te­red Wheat Beer, Goo­se Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Wid­mer Hefeweizen
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.040 - 1.055 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.008 - 1.013 SG
3 - 6 SRM
4.0 - 5.0 %vol
15 - 30 IBU