This post is unbelievably late, which is frustrating to no one else but me. One of the reasons I started the site was to keep track of what I did when I brewed, but when I get around to a post 2+ weeks after I initially brewed almost all memory is completely gone. As explained below, if there is going to brew that I want to forget it may be this one.
What is the Difference Between a Wit Bier, White Ale and Wheat Beer?
I was inspired to make this beer after drinking copious amounts of Allagash White and Ommegang Wit (side note: it is weird that these websites are asking if I am 21 years old, but porn sites do not.). They tasted different but were refreshing and similar and clearly wheat based beers. It was only upon checking out the various wheat, wit and white extracts I started to see that the differences went beyond simple marketing (although I really believe some of that is built into it). So, what are those differences?
First, lets get the easy one out of the way. A Witbier and a white ale are essentially the same thing; wit means white in Dutch. Allagash’s even describes their White as,
Our interpretation of a Belgian-style wheat beer is brewed with oats, malted wheat, and unmalted raw wheat for a hazy, “white” appearance. Spiced with our own special blend of coriander and Curaçao orange peel, White upholds the Belgian tradition of beers that are both complex and refreshing
So with the easy part of the way we are really just comparing the differences between the Belgium Witbier and the German Hefeweizen. I found a great site that already did most of the heavy lifting,
The most common type of weissbeir, as it is called in German, is the Hefeweizen. Directly translated in German “Hefe” means yeast and “Weizen” means wheat. Hefeweizen is a unfiltered, top fermented, bottle conditioned German wheat beer with noticeable yeast sediment and a hazy appearance. Weissbier that has been filtered, which removes suspended yeast and wheat protein, are usually called Kristallweizen (crystal wheat), or Kristall Weissbier (crystal white beer). Dark weiss styles are also available and are known as dunkelweizen (dark wheat), or Weizenbock (strong wheat beer), these usually have higher alcohol content.
White beer, witbier, as it is called in Belgium is a unfiltered, top fermented, bottle conditioned wheat beer. It gets its name from the suspended yeast and wheat proteins, which make the beer look white when cold. This style originated without the use of any hops, instead fruits and spices were used. Today the style tends to use orange peel and coriander along with a light bit of hops for aroma and flavoring.
I would say that I definitively like Witbier over Hefeweizens. There is something about the crispness with the citrus taste that works for me.
Brewing and Reviewing my Extract Witbier Kit
I went with the Sunbeam Tangerine Summer White Ale from Boomchugalug. Interestingly, the description above mentions coriander and this kit came with 1/2oz Coriander to add before bottling/kegging. Coriander adds a lemon spice type of flavor. My brew partner, Teddy Bruschi, and I are extremely against using flavor extracts. We have had some horrible brews because of them, so I won’t use it. My plan is to add a tangerine peels a couple days before kegging.
Very excited for this summer brew!
Primary: May 5, 2017
Secondary: May 20, 2017
Keg Date: June 4, 2017