1D. American Wheat Beer

Overall Impression

A pale, refreshing grainy, doughy, or bready wheat beer with a clean fermentation profile and a variable hop character and bitterness. Its lighter body and higher carbonation contribute to its easy-drinking nature.


Usually pale yellow to gold. Clarity may range from brilliant to hazy with yeast approximating a Weissbier. Big, long-lasting white head.


Low to moderate grainy, bready, or doughy wheat character. A light to moderate malty sweetness is acceptable. Moderate esters optional, usually a neutral profile; banana is inappropriate. Low to moderate citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity hop aroma. Not typically dry-hopped. No clove phenols.


Light to moderately-strong bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor, which can linger into the finish. May have a moderate malty sweetness or can finish quite dry and crisp. Low to moderate hop bitterness, sometimes lasting into the finish. Balance is usually even, but may be slightly bitter. Low to moderate citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity hop flavor. Moderate esters optional. No banana. No clove phenols.


Medium-light to medium body. Medium-high to high carbonation. Slight creaminess is optional; wheat beers sometimes have a soft, ‘fluffy’ impression.


Different variations exist, from an easy-drinking fairly sweet beer to a dry, aggressively-hopped beer with a strong wheat flavor. American Rye beers should be entered as 31A Alternative Grain Beer.


An American craft beer adaptation of the Weissbier style using a cleaner yeast and more hops, first produced by Anchor in 1984 and later widely popularized by Widmer.

Characteristic Ingredients

Clean American ale or lager yeast. German Weissbier yeast is inappropriate. Wheat malt (often 30–50%, lower than is typical in Weissbier). American, German, or New World hops.

Style Comparison

More hop character and less yeast character than Weissbier. Never with the banana and clove character of Weissbier. Generally has the same range and balance as Blonde Ales, but with a wheat character as the primary malt flavor.

Vital Statistics


15 - 30


3 - 6


1.040 - 1.055


1.008 - 1.013


4% - 5.5%

Commercial Examples

Bell’s Oberon, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer, GoodLife Sweet As! Pacific Ale, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen.