The Hefeweizen (literally “yeast wheat”) beer style originates from Southern Germany. In brewing these beers a high portion of wheat is used (usually in the order of 40-60% of the malt grist), and while the use of wheat malt gives a paler colour (in relation to barley malt), the resulting beer is unfiltered and has a hazy appearance from the presence of yeast (‘hefe’). The yeast strains traditionally used in fermentation impart banana and clove aromas and flavors to offset the creamy-texture imparted by the yeast and wheat. Hefeweizens are generally low in bitterness and hop flavour and rely on the yeast-induced characters and the tartness from the high use of wheat to give the style the refreshing crisp character that it’s noted for. Alcohol by volume is in the order of 5-5.5% although there are stronger variants (Weizenbock) that can be in the order of 7% or more.
The American take on this is the American Wheat Ale (can be filtered or unfiltered) and American Wheat Wine (can be up to 12%). These styles differ from their German heritage in that the yeast strains used are more typically ale-like and don’t impart the clove and banana characteristics; similarly hop flavour and bitterness may also be present (Americans being the hop-heads they are!) but generally only at low to moderate levels.
Our Mad Brewers’ take on these styles is the Hoppy Hefe. Hoppy in that we have really dialed up the hops - 2/3rds of which are added post fermentation (dry-hopped). While the beer is coarsely filtered (we had to… otherwise you would be ‘eating’ hops rather than drinking beer!) it still retains a haze from the presence of yeast left over from fermentation (Hefe).
Brewed with 45% wheat malt to give added crispness to the finish, Hoppy Hefe also utilises some crystal malt to add depth of flavour and colour. The malt body and alcoholic warmth (7%) on the palate help to balance the heavy handed use of hops (Citra and Motueka verities) which themselves provide a robust and distinctively citrusy (grapefruit-like) character. At 7% and 640mls a bottle, share with a friend!
Like the previous Mad Brewers it is only a limited release so grab some while you can (before we MAD brewers finish the lot!)
Cheers and beers
Freshy and Dayton (and the rest of the ‘Mad’ team!)