Wheat Beer Styles: Weiss vs Wit


Weiss Beer -- Hefeweizen

Weiss Beer -- Hefeweizen

You might be asking yourself what are the differences between weissbier, witbeir, hefeweizen, wheat, white beers?  Here is an article that I hope will solve all of the confusion.

Wheat Beer

Their are two major styles of wheat beers, weissbier (German) and witbier (Belgian).  Wheat beers are usually top fermented ales, that consistent mostly of wheat followed by a pale malted barley.  Since wheat contains much more protein than barley it produces a thicker head along with a hazy appearance.  Most wheat beers are light both in body and flavor making them a great summer beer.

German Weissbier

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.

Belgian Witbier

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.  Check out our Belgian Witbier Recipe it is an amazing brew, loved by many of my friends.  The article brewing with coriander goes into more details on how to use coriander when brewing.

Weissbier Witbier
Aroma Moderate to strong phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (usually banana). Moderate sweetness with light, grainy, spicy wheat aromatics, often with a bit of tartness.
Appearance Cloudy, Pale straw to very dark gold in color. Cloudy, Pale straw to very light gold in color.
Flavor Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor. Pleasant sweetness and a zesty, orange-citrusy fruitiness.
OG 1.044 – 1.052 1.044 – 1.052
FG 1.010 – 1.014 1.008 – 1.012
IBU (Bitterness) 8-15 10-20
SRM (Color) 2-8 2-4
ABV (%) 4.3-5.6% 4.5-5.5%
Commercial Examples Paulaner, Franziskaner Hoegaarden, Lost Coast Brewery Great White, Blue Moon Belgian White

Feel free to comment on any thoughts regarding wheat beers below.


5 Responses to “Wheat Beer Styles: Weiss vs Wit”
  1. Josh G says:

    I think you mixed up your IBU’s and SRM in the Weiss vs Wit beer chart above.

  2. Josh G says:

    …on the witbier that is

  3. Roko Peros says:

    Thanks Josh for the comments, I pulled the values directly from the BJCP style guidelines of 2009. I guess in the process I must have mixed up the IBU and SRM values. Fixed it. Good catch.


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] carbonated and low in hop bitterness, aroma and flavor.  For more on the Witbier style check out Wheat Beer Styles: Weiss vs Wit.   The below is a 5 gallon All-Grain home brew recipe for a Belgian […]

  2. […] in comparing beer styles? Check out our article Wheat Beer Styles: Weiss vs Wit.  Feel free to comment on any thoughts regarding dark beer styles […]

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