Cue the Rocky music, da, da da da, da da daaaaaaa, because ‘Versus Battles #2’ is here. The segment that pits two beers of the same style head to head against each other. The 2015 BJCP style guide lines has be used to judge both beers on its aroma, appearance, flavour, mouthfeel, with my own personal opinion rounding out the analysis. I fully understand that most breweries don’t brew beers to match style guide lines and that is why I have added my own personal opinion. Matching style guide lines means that even though a beer is brilliantly made and extra tasty, it wont necessarily win any awards due to not matching style. The style guide lines for German Weissbier have been added to the bottom of this article for anyone who wants to have a look.
Bridge Road Brewers owner Ben Kraus is always drawing beer inspiration from his overseas travels and the recipe for his Hefeweizen came from his early brewing days in Austria. A German style Hefe with ingredients sourced straight from the motherland, including the yeast that came from the world’s oldest brewery-Weihenstephan (according to their website). Lobethal’s Hefeweizen is similar in the fact that it takes its inspiration from Germany with all the ingredients sourced from Europe. Both breweries have years of experience with Bridge Road starting in 2005 and Lobethal 2007. Now let us see who makes a Hefeweizen, that is delicious.
|Style Factors||Lobethal||Bridge Road||Category Winner|
|Aroma||Some fruity (banana) esters present but not over bearing. Some grainy bready aroma.||Esters are present but not banana or clove. No grain sweetness or wheat aroma||
|Appearance||Very slight haze but quite clear. Very thin head that is fast dissipating. Golden in colour.||Super clear with a nice thick persistent white head. Golden in colour.||
|Flavour||Subtle sweet bready malt foretaste. A small amount of banana but again not over the top. Very dry finish.||Again no banana or wheaty flavours. A sharp acidity.||
|Mouthfeel||Medium body and medium carbonation. Carbonation may be a tad low for the style which makes it a tad heavier than it should be.||Light in body with a high carbonation; quite sprightly.||Bridge Road|
|The King’s Opinion||A clean, delicious Hefe. Well balanced with sweetness and esters that complement the dry finish.||Not quite a Hefe for me. With absence of banana esters and the wheat sweetness.||
THE WINNER IS…… LOBETHAL. 3 points to 2.
The Lobethal Hefeweizen wins. It smells like a Hefe and most importantly, tastes like a Hefe. It is evident that the yeast is healthy, as Lobethal’s version is super clean. It was marked down slightly in the appearance due to the absence of its head but made up for it in the flavour column. Congratulations Al and his team at Lobethal, winner of ‘Vs Battle #2’.
German Weissbier Style Guide
Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing German wheat beer with high carbonation, dry finish, a fluffy mouthfeel, and a distinctive banana-and-clove yeast character.
Aroma: Moderate to strong phenols (usually clove) and fruity esters (typically banana). The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. The hop character ranges from low to none. A light to moderate wheat aroma (which might be perceived as bready or grainy) may be present but other malt characteristics should not. Optional, but acceptable, aromatics can include a light to moderate vanilla character, and/or a faint bubblegum aroma. None of these optional characteristics should be high or dominant, but often can add to the complexity and balance.
Appearance: Pale straw to gold in color. A very thick, moussy, long-lasting white head is characteristic. The high protein content of wheat impairs clarity in an unfiltered beer, although the level of haze is somewhat variable.
Flavour: Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor. The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. Optionally, a very light to moderate vanilla character and/or faint bubblegum notes can accentuate the banana flavor, sweetness and roundness; neither should be dominant if present. The soft, somewhat bready or grainy flavor of wheat is complementary, as is a slightly grainy-sweet malt character. Hop flavor is very low to none, and hop bitterness is very low to moderately low. Well-rounded, flavorful palate with a relatively dry finish. The perception of sweetness is more due to the absence of hop bitterness than actual residual sweetness; a sweet or heavy finish would significantly impair drinkability.
Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body; never heavy. Suspended yeast may increase the perception of body. The 18 BJCP Beer Style Guidelines – 2015 Edition texture of wheat imparts the sensation of a fluffy, creamy fullness that may progress to a light, spritzy finish aided by high to very high carbonation. Always effervescent.