Spotlight on American Wheat Beer

American wheat beers are a style of beer that emerged in the 1980s during the craft beer revolution in the United States. Unlike traditional German and Belgian wheat beers, which are brewed with a significant amount of wheat malt, American wheat beers often use a higher proportion of barley malt, making them a bit less sweet and more crisp than their European counterparts. These beers are often enjoyed in the summertime, when their light, refreshing flavour and lower alcohol content make them the perfect choice for hot weather.

That said, American wheat beers still typically contain at least 30% wheat malt in the mash, which gives them a hazy appearance and a smooth, slightly creamy mouthfeel. They are usually brewed with American ale yeast, which contributes fruity and citrusy notes to the beer, and are often hopped with American hop varieties, which tend to have a more aggressive and bitter flavour profile than their European counterparts.

Almost any American or New World hop can be used in American wheat beers, but some of the most commonly used ones include:

  • Cascade: This is a classic American hop variety that is known for its citrusy and floral aroma. It is often used in American wheat beers to add a bright, hoppy character to the beer.
  • Citra: Another popular American hop variety, Citra is known for its tropical and citrusy aroma. It adds notes of grapefruit, lime, orange, mango and lychee.
  • Amarillo: This hop variety is known for its complex aroma, which includes notes of orange, grapefruit, and pine. When used in American wheat beers, it adds a bright, citrusy character.
  • Simcoe: Simcoe is a versatile hop variety that is known for its piney, earthy, and passionfruit aroma. It adds a resinous, dank character to the beer with fruity overtones.
  • El Dorado: This is a newer American hop variety that is known for its tropical fruit aroma. Common aroma descriptors are pineapple, mango, papaya and stone fruit.

We change the hops up in our 4.2% American wheat beer, Nobody Is Prefect. So far we have used combinations of Galaxy, Ella, Sabro, El Dorado and Mosaic. Which hop combinations would you like to see in this beer?

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Dunkels Bock, a dark, strong and malty lager

For our first small batch release, we decided to make a strong and flavourful lager to see us through the winter, and what better beer to do that than a dunkels bock. But what exactly is a dunkels bock? Well, to answer that, we have to go to a town in northern Germany called Einbeck.

In the 14th Century, the town of Einbeck first brewed a bock lager, which became very popular in Bavaria a few centuries later. The name ‘Bock’ refers to the way locals of Munich would pronounce the name of Einbeck, which translated into a ram. Many Munich breweries still include a ram or goat figure on their bock lager bottles because of this.

Bock itself is a lager style, but a few substyles also exist: Maibock or Helles Bock, Dunkels Bock, Dopplebock, Eisbock and Weizenbock. Alcohol strength across these substyles is between 6% to over 14% for some Eisbocks!

The dunkels bock style is strong, and as the name suggests, dark. The malt profile dominates, with a rich bready and toasty profile. It can be quite clean, or sometimes has a dark fruity character. It should be smooth drinking – not too full bodied and not too carbonated – with a light alcohol warmth. Typical ABV is between 6% and 7%.

We made our version, Rapid Analogue Man, with pale, Vienna and Munich malts, and added crystal and black malts for sweetness, dark fruits and colour. Fermentation was done with a German lager yeast, and the beer spent 2 months lagering before being packaged into 440ml cans and 5L mini kegs.

We think it turned out great, why not give it a go?

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