Craft Cans

Brewing with Wheat

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Stan Hieronymus

Most beer drinkers today are very familiar with weizenbier and witbier. Berliner weisse, being considerably less common, may be something people have stumbled upon but never tried.

Brewing with WheatAnd then there's gose, lichtenhainer and grätzer. Like the aforementioned other types of drink, they are all varieties of wheat beer, but I’d place a hefty wager on most people not having even heard of them, let alone sampled a glass.

Happily, there is now one place you can go to find out all about these arcane wheat beers and that is Stan Hieronymus’s latest work, Brewing with Wheat.

The title suggests that appeal will be chiefly for brewers, but a flick through the pages reveals that there is plenty in there to cater also for the knowledge-hungry consumer who has no intention whatsoever of loading a mash tun.

Stan has travelled far and wide to collect the facts for this book (it’s a long way from his home in New Mexico to Bavaria), and he has spoken to many of the leading producers to learn the histories, the techniques and the processes involved.

If you are a brewer thinking of making a wheat beer of any description, this book will prove invaluable, as wheat is a tricky little blighter to manage in the brewhouse.

Questions and Answers

Stan highlights the inherent problems in brewing with wheat, from protein haze that may, or may not, be wanted in the finished beer to how various yeasts work with the cereal to create clove, fruit and other flavours.

He raises vital questions such as: Is decoction necessary? What about acid rests? What should pitching temperatures be?

Brewers such as Hans-Peter Drexler at Schneider, Dan Carey from New Glarus and Jef Versele of Van Steenberge have needed little persuasion to part with their recipes and methods, so you can even try to create your own versions at home or in your workplace.

On the other hand, if you are just a keen imbiber of wheat beers, the technical details can be easily bypassed for a highly-readable impression of what each style is all about. You can discover where it has been brewed traditionally, where it is sold and, most importantly, what it actually should taste like.

There are facts galore in this richly-informative publication, something that often results in a book that is exceedingly dry and disappointing. Not so with Stan’s work.

His writing skills are well known and widely lauded (North American Beer Writer of the Year 1999) and he takes the reader effortlessly through – or if you prefer, around – the complex elements to tell stories of beer styles, once lost or almost abandoned, that are now finding worldwide appreciation and being brewed again, not only in their traditional homelands but in countries thousands of miles away.

Brewers will find details that will help them improve their beers, historians will revel in the lost facts and figures that Stan has unearthed, and everyone will enjoy a little more pleasure whenever they raise a glass of wit or weizen to their lips.

As for gose, lichtenhainer and grätzer, well Stan explains these far better than I can. Buy the book and read all about them.

First edition (2010)

220-page paperback (Brewers Publications)

£11.64/$17.95


Click on the following links to buy now at a discount from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com

By the same author: Brew like a Monk, an exploration of Trappist and abbey ales. Also available from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com

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