A sour, smoked, lower-gravity historical central European wheat beer. Complex yet refreshing character due to high attenuation and carbonation, along with low bitterness and moderate sourness.
Tall off-white head, rocky and persistent. Yellow to gold color. Fair clarity, may be somewhat hazy.
Moderately strong fresh smoky aroma. Light hints of sourness. Medium-low fruity esters, possibly apples or lemons. Moderate bready, grainy malt. The smoke character is stronger than the bready notes, and the smoke has a ‘dry’ character, like the remnants of an old fire, not a ‘greasy’ smoke. No hops.
Moderately strong fruity flavor, possibly lemons or apples. Moderate intensity, clean lactic tartness without any funkiness. Similar dry wood smoke character as aroma, medium strength. Dry finish, with acidity and smoke in the aftertaste. Low bitterness; acidity is providing the balance, not hops. Fresh, clean palate, and slightly puckery aftertaste. The wheat character is on the low side; the smoke and acidity are more prominent in the balance. The tart, lemony, or green apple flavor is strongest in the finish, with smoke a close second. No hops.
Tingly acidity. High carbonation. Medium to medium-light body.
Originating in Lichtenhain, in Thüringen (central Germany). Height of popularity was towards the end of the 1800s, and was widely available throughout Thüringen. Like a pre-1840 Berliner Weisse.
Smoked barley malt, wheat malt, Lacto, top-fermenting yeast. Grists vary, but the wheat would typically be 30-50%. Can be made with all barley malt.
In the same general historical lower-alcohol central European wheat beer family as Gose, Grodziskie, and Berliner Weisse; has elements of all of them but with its own unique balance – sour and smoke is not found in any of the other styles. Not as acidic as Berliner Weisse, probably more like a smoked Gose without coriander and salt, or a Grodziskie with Gose-like acidity.
5 - 12
3 - 6
1.032 - 1.040
1.004 - 1.008
3.5% - 4.7%
Commercial ExamplesLive Oak Lichtenhainer, Wöllnitzer Weissbier.
Past RevisionHistorical Beer: Lichtenhainer (2015)
central-europe, historical-style, pale-color, smoke, sour, standard-strength, top-fermented, wheat-beer-family
Served young. Smoke and sour is an unusual combination that can be an acquired taste.