Beer is 90 percent water! Our brewing water is drawn from the brewery’s two wells, 160 meters below ground.
Malt gives beer its body and its color. Our experienced brewmasters select very specific wheat and barley varieties that are particularly suitable for brewing wheat beer.
The beer’s soul. ERDINGER’s master brewers use only the finest aroma hops.
Top-fermenting yeast gives wheat beer its typical fruity flavor. ERDINGER’s brewing yeast is cultivated specially at the brewery. These particular yeast strains are unique throughout the world – and can only be found at our brewery.
For lively enjoyment
Bottle fermentation gives ERDINGER wheat beer its finishing touch. It requires something that is in short supply these days: time! This is exactly what we give our wheat beers – and you can taste the difference.
Bottle fermentation has a long tradition in Bavaria. Only few breweries still use this elaborate process, however, as it takes that much longer. At ERDINGER, we are proud to keep this brewing tradition alive!Maturing in the bottle
- In this second fermentation process, the “green” beer is given a little unfermented wort and fresh bottom-fermenting yeast before bottling.
- The bottles are then stored in perfect conditions in the brewery’s own high-bay warehouse.
- Like champagne, the wheat beer can then mature directly in the bottle. In other words: the yeast ferments the malt sugar contained in the wort.
- The beer develops its distinctive flavor. Carbon dioxide is formed and gives the beer its typical lively nature.
- After around three weeks of maturing, the brewmasters check whether the wheat beer is perfect.
- Perfect means: a lively prickling sensation on the tongue and a harmonious, full-bodied flavor. Only then, are the bottles released for delivery.
- By the way: draft wheat beer supplied to pubs is also matured directly in the barrel. “Bottle fermentation” thus also includes kegs and barrels.
Wheat beer facts
Weissbier or wheat beer?
Put simply: it’s the same thing! Wheat beer is made using at least 50 percent malted wheat – hence the name (also shortened to “a Weizen please” when ordering). Wheat beer is what this top-fermenting specialty is called everywhere, except in its native Bavaria. Here it’s referred to as weissbeer or “white beer”. Although only the foam is actually white, the name refers to its much lighter, golden color – as opposed to the brown ales drunk for many centuries in Germany.
Typical wheat beer
Color: A classic light wheat beer should be somewhere between pale yellow and amber-brown.
Smell: The typical top-fermenting yeast used for wheat beers ensures a distinctive aroma profile. It generally comprises fruity/tarty notes somewhere between apple, redcurrants and banana. There may also be a hint of clove, menthol sweets or butter. The latter is regarded as an absolute mistake in other beers, but is entirely desirable for wheat beer. Overall, wheat beer should smell spicy and yeasty-fresh.
Flavor: Malt aroma gives wheat beer its slightly sweet taste. A hint of hop bouquet adds elegance. The body’s strength depends on the original wort content, but as a rule wheat beer is more full-bodied than e.g. “pilsner” beer. After swallowing, the taste sensation is determined by a lingering bitterness. The aim is a fine, rapidly receding bitter flavor.
Effervescence: The tingling of carbon dioxide on the tongue. Due to its higher proportion of carbon dioxide, wheat beer should taste fresh and lively with fine bubbles. An absolute sign of quality!
Wheat beer tradition
The actual history of wheat beer, as we know it today, began around 500 years ago. At the time, beer made from wheat was quite controversial as this grain was mainly needed for baking bread. From 1567 onward, the use of wheat for brewing beer was forbidden throughout the Duchy of Bavaria.
Wheat beer monopoly of the dukes
There was just one exception: the Degenbergers in the Lower Bavarian town of Schwarzach were permitted to brew wheat beer by a privilege granted by the Duke of Bavaria in 1548. When the last Degenberger died without an heir in 1602, this right to brew wheat beer reverted to Duke Maximilian. He was thus unrivaled in its own territory, as wheat beer brewing was still taboo for all others. Over time, a number of electoral breweries emerged throughout the country in which the local rulers were allowed to have wheat beer brewed on payment of a special duty. The Wittelsbach family earned a lot of money with this wheat beer monopoly, which they used to finance their lavish state budget.
Wheat beer could also be brewed in summer
Top-fermenting wheat beer also had a practical advantage. It can withstand higher ambient temperatures during the brewing process. Unlike bottom-fermenting beer, it could therefore also be brewed in summer. It was only when new brewing techniques led to an improvement in the quality of brown beers in the mid-18th century that wheat beer became “common”, i.e. no longer a royal privilege. In addition to the aristocracy, all licensed brewers throughout the land were now permitted to brew wheat beer.
Wheat beer today
Bavaria has always been a wheat beer stronghold. 90 percent of all wheat beer sold in Germany comes from the Free State. Around 1,000 different brands are brewed here. Wheat beer has been the most widely brewed Bavarian beer since 1994 – currently accounting for 35 percent of the state’s total beer output. By comparison: in 1960, it accounted for just three percent. The specialty beer has thus had an amazing success story over the past decades, and has long become a firm favorite beyond the so-called “white sausage equator” in Germany and abroad.
ERDINGER Weißbräu is a staunch defender of Bavaria’s Purity Law. We’ve never used anything else to brew our ERDINGER wheat beers than the pure natural ingredients water, malted wheat and barley, hops and yeast – in strict compliance with the Bavarian Purity Law.
We guarantee that no chemicals, artificial colorings and aromas, or any other additives are used in the production of ERDINGER wheat beers – only Bavarian brewing skills and the highest quality standards.
Brewing purely with the basic ingredients
There have been numerous brewing regulations over the ages. They all set out to protect the consumer of the finished product – the beer drinker. The main aim was to ban the addition of harmful substances. Brewing should be limited to just a very few basic ingredients.
One of the oldest historic laws for the production of beer is the brewing regulation issued by the Duchy of Bavaria-Landshut in 1493. This states that only water, hops and malt may be used. The most famous brewing law, however, is the edict of Wilhelm IV in 1516 for the entire Duchy of Bavaria. He decreed: “In particular, we want to ensure that henceforth no more ingredients than barley, hops and water are used for the beers served in our cities and markets as well as in the countryside.”
The frequently cited three basic ingredients – water, hops and malt – and the fourth ingredient yeast, which is not included in the historic regulations, were first enshrined in German beer brewing legislation in 1906. Fans of German beer can still rely on the use of only these pure ingredients to this very day. If you see the seal of quality stating “brewed in accordance with the Purity Law” on the beer you’re buying, then pure beer enjoyment is guaranteed!
All important information for serving draft ERDINGER Weissbier can be downloaded here.