Wheatwine – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Beer Styles Glossary

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What is Wheatwine?

Wheatwine is a style of beer that is similar to barleywine but is made with a significant portion of wheat in the grain bill. This results in a beer that is rich, full-bodied, and sweet, with a high alcohol content. Wheatwine is often aged for long periods of time to allow the flavors to mature and develop.

History of Wheatwine

The origins of wheatwine can be traced back to the United States in the late 20th century. The style was developed as a variation of barleywine, which is a strong ale with a high alcohol content. Wheatwine was created by using a larger proportion of wheat in the malt bill, which gives the beer a unique flavor profile and mouthfeel.

Wheatwine gained popularity among craft brewers in the early 2000s, with many breweries experimenting with different recipes and aging techniques. Today, wheatwine is considered a rare and sought-after style of beer, often brewed in limited quantities and released as a special seasonal offering.

Wheatwine is characterized by its rich, malty flavor and high alcohol content. The use of wheat in the grain bill gives the beer a smooth, creamy mouthfeel and a slightly sweet finish. Wheatwine is typically amber to dark brown in color, with a thick, persistent head.

The aroma of wheatwine is complex and inviting, with notes of caramel, toffee, dried fruit, and a hint of alcohol. The flavor is rich and full-bodied, with a malty sweetness balanced by a subtle hop bitterness. Wheatwine has a warming alcohol presence that lingers on the palate, making it a perfect beer for sipping and savoring.

Brewing Process of Wheatwine

The brewing process for wheatwine is similar to that of barleywine, but with a higher proportion of wheat in the grain bill. The malt bill typically consists of a combination of wheat malt, pale malt, and specialty malts such as caramel and roasted barley. The use of wheat gives the beer a unique flavor profile and mouthfeel, while the specialty malts add complexity and depth.

Wheatwine is brewed using a single infusion mash, followed by a long boil to caramelize the sugars and develop the rich malt flavors. The beer is then fermented with a clean ale yeast strain at a cool temperature to produce a clean, smooth finish. After fermentation, wheatwine is often aged in oak barrels or stainless steel tanks to allow the flavors to mellow and mature.

Serving and Pairing Wheatwine

Wheatwine is best served in a tulip or snifter glass at a slightly warmer temperature than most beers, around 50-55°F. This allows the complex flavors and aromas to fully develop and be enjoyed to their fullest. Wheatwine should be poured gently to avoid disturbing the sediment that may have settled during aging.

Wheatwine pairs well with a variety of foods, including rich and savory dishes such as roasted meats, aged cheeses, and chocolate desserts. The beer’s malty sweetness and high alcohol content complement the flavors of these dishes, while the carbonation helps to cleanse the palate between bites. Wheatwine can also be enjoyed on its own as a dessert beer, perfect for sipping by the fireside on a cold winter night.

Popular Wheatwine Brands

Some popular wheatwine brands include:

1. Three Floyds Brewing Co. – Behemoth Wheatwine
2. The Bruery – White Chocolate Wheatwine
3. Founders Brewing Co. – Wheatwine Ale
4. Avery Brewing Co. – Samael’s Oak-aged Wheatwine
5. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – Wheatwine

These breweries are known for their high-quality wheatwine offerings, which are often released in limited quantities and highly sought after by beer enthusiasts. Each brand brings its own unique twist to the wheatwine style, showcasing the versatility and creativity of craft brewers in the modern beer industry.