Dear beer-loving friends, there is life beyond barley malt and ultra hops beer. A lot of life. The awakening of beer culture has led to wheat gradually gaining ground and in Spain both the public and the producers have been showing interest in this type of beer originating in Belgium and Germany. Our Ambar Caesaraugusta is no longer alone. In the light of this growing interest, we wanted to dedicate a few lines to this ancient brew to analyse the five points that, in general lines, define wheat beer.
- Wheat beer is not made from 100% wheat malt, but it does contain a high amount of this cereal, normally a mixture of between 50% and 70% of wheat malt and the rest of barley malt.
- It is a high-fermentation beer.
- Wheat beer tends to be turbid, that is to say, unfiltered. Its filtered version is denominated Kristall.
- In the fifteenth century wheat beer was so much in fashion that there wasn’t sufficient cereal to supply production and make bread. This is one of the reasons for the German purity law, Reinheitsgebot, in 1516, which mandated that only barley, hops and water could be used. At this time the existence of yeast in the fermentation process was still unknown.
- The two most important varieties of wheat beer are Witbier (Belgian) and Weizenbier or Weissbier (German). Belgian beers normally tend to be more acidic and refreshing; a part of unmalted wheat is used and other ingredients such as orange peel or coriander are often added.
German beers, in contrast, tend to be denser, with a slightly darker colour, and their principal characteristic is the aroma of cloves provided by the yeast used.
Outside their countries of origin, the styles lose their integrity and intermediate beers can be found. Our proposal when we launched in 2008 a wheat beer, Ambar Caesaraugusta, went in that direction: a beer with body, with a heavy part from the cereal that gives the beer its body and another one from the yeast, which makes it refreshing. We kept its natural turbidity and achieved a beer that is soft on the palate, with a slight background acidity and a characteristic spiced touch.