Become A Brewing Expert!

My Favorite American Wheat Beer Recipe!

Welcome, fellow brewers, to another exciting recipe post! Today, we will delve into the world of American Wheat Beer. This style has gained popularity in recent years, thanks to its crisp and refreshing character. So, grab a cold one and let’s get started!

A Brief History Lesson

American Wheat Beer, also known as American Pale Wheat Ale, is a style that originated in the United States during the craft beer revolution of the 1980s. It was a response to the dominance of European wheat beers, which were often heavy and yeasty. American brewers wanted to create a lighter and more approachable version of this classic style.

The key difference between American Wheat Beer and its European counterparts lies in the use of hops. While German and Belgian wheat beers tend to be more malt-focused, American brewers embraced the hop-forward style that was becoming popular at the time. This resulted in a beer that is both refreshing and aromatic, with a balanced bitterness.

Key Characteristics

Now that we have a bit of background, let’s dive into the key characteristics of American Wheat Beer. This style is known for its:

1. Light and Refreshing Body: American Wheat Beer typically has a medium to light body, making it perfect for enjoying on a hot summer day.

2. Wheat Malt Backbone: Wheat malt is a key ingredient in this style, providing a smooth and creamy texture. It also contributes to the beer’s signature haze.

3. Hop Aroma: American hops are used to give this beer a burst of citrus, floral, and sometimes even tropical fruit aromas. This adds a refreshing and zesty character to the beer.

4. Balanced Bitterness: While American Wheat Beer is hop-forward, it is still well-balanced with a moderate bitterness. This ensures that the hops don’t overpower the delicate wheat flavors.

Recipe Time!

Now that we have a good understanding of the style, let’s dive into the recipe. I have brewed this beer countless times and have perfected my own version over the years. Here’s my go-to recipe for a 5-gallon batch:


  • 8 lbs American 2-Row Pale Malt
  • 4 lbs Wheat Malt
  • 1 lb Flaked Wheat
  • 1 oz Cascade hops (60 minutes)
  • 1 oz Amarillo hops (15 minutes)
  • 1 oz Citra hops (5 minutes)
  • 1 oz Cascade hops (dry hop)
  • American Ale yeast


1. Start by heating your strike water to around 162°F. Add the grains to your mash tun and slowly pour in the strike water, stirring gently to ensure even distribution. Let the grains steep for about an hour, maintaining a mash temperature of around 152°F.

2. Once the mash is complete, begin sparging with hot water to collect the sweet wort. Aim for a pre-boil volume of around 6.5 gallons.

3. Bring the wort to a boil and add the Cascade hops. Boil for 45 minutes, then add the Amarillo hops. Boil for an additional 10 minutes, then add the Citra hops for the final 5 minutes of the boil.

4. After the boil, cool the wort rapidly using a wort chiller or an ice bath. Once the wort has reached a temperature of around 70°F, transfer it to your fermentation vessel.

5. Pitch the American Ale yeast and let the fermentation begin! Maintain a fermentation temperature of around 68°F for the first few days, then allow it to rise to around 72°F towards the end of fermentation.

6. After primary fermentation is complete, transfer the beer to a secondary fermenter and add the Cascade hops for dry hopping. Let the beer sit for about a week to allow the hops to infuse their aroma.

7. Finally, it’s time to bottle or keg your beer. Prime with a suitable amount of sugar and let it carbonate for a couple of weeks. Once carbonation is complete, chill and enjoy!

Expert Tips and Tricks

Brewing a great American Wheat Beer requires attention to detail and a little bit of finesse. Here are some expert tips to help you along the way:

1. Mash Temperature: Maintaining a mash temperature of around 152°F will help extract the desired flavors and body from the grains. Too high of a temperature can result in a sweeter beer, while too low can result in a thinner body.

2. Hop Selection: Experiment with different hop varieties to find the perfect balance of citrus and floral aromas. Cascade, Amarillo, and Citra are excellent choices, but don’t be afraid to get creative!

3. Haze Control: If you prefer a clearer beer, consider using a clarifying agent such as Irish moss or whirlfloc tablets during the boil. Alternatively, you can use a secondary fermentation vessel to allow any sediment to settle before bottling or kegging.

4. Yeast Choice: While American Ale yeast is the traditional choice for this style, don’t be afraid to experiment with different yeast strains. Some brewers have had great success with Belgian or Hefeweizen yeast, which can add interesting flavors and aromas to the beer.

5. Serving Suggestions: American Wheat Beer is best enjoyed fresh and cold. Serve it in a tall, chilled glass to showcase its beautiful color and aroma. Garnish with a slice of citrus or a sprig of fresh mint for an extra touch of refreshment.


You are now armed with the knowledge and recipe to brew an exceptional American Wheat Beer. Remember to pay attention to the key characteristics of this style, and don’t be afraid to put your own twist on it. Happy brewing, and may your glasses always be filled with the finest of beers!

Frequently Asked Questions about American Wheat Beers

1. Can I use any type of wheat in brewing American Wheat Beers?

While traditional recipes call for malted wheat (it is a “wheat” beer after all…), you can experiment with various types of wheat, including flaked or torrified wheat, to achieve different mouthfeels and flavors. You can also add other malt grains such as barley, rye or oats; just ensure to maintain the wheat content within the recommended range for the wheat beer style!

2. What makes American Wheat Beers different from other wheat beers?

American Wheat Beers are distinguished by the use of American yeast strains, which contribute unique flavors and aromas. Additionally, they often showcase a balance between the malt sweetness from the wheat and a subtle hop bitterness.

3. Can I brew an American Wheat Beer at home?

Absolutely! Brewing an American Wheat Beer at home is a rewarding experience. Use a simple grain bill with a majority of wheat, select an American yeast strain, and consider adding citrusy American hops for a distinct flavor profile.

4. What temperature is ideal for fermenting American Wheat Beer?

For fermenting American Wheat Beers, a temperature range of 60-72°F (15-22°C) is generally recommended. This helps to bring out the desired esters and phenols from the yeast without producing off-flavors.

5. Should I add fruit to my American Wheat Beer?

While not necessary, adding fruit can enhance the overall profile of your American Wheat Beer. Popular choices include orange peel, lemon zest, or even a touch of raspberry. Experiment with small batches to find the perfect complement to your brew.

6. How long does it take to brew an American Wheat Beer?

The brewing process for an American Wheat Beer typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. This includes fermentation, conditioning, and carbonation. Keep in mind that some variations, like dry-hopped versions, might require additional time for the flavors to develop.

7. Should I bottle or keg my American Wheat Beer?

You can choose either bottling or kegging based on your preference. Bottling allows for individual servings and easy distribution, while kegging offers convenience and quicker access to your delicious American Wheat Beer. Ensure proper sanitation and follow best practices for your chosen method.

Feel free to customize the questions and answers based on your specific needs and preferences.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Latest posts