Difference Between Hefeweizen and Witbier

Hefeweizen is a traditional unfiltered Bavarian style of beer that is also often called ‘Weizenbier’. A large amount of malted barley in the concoction (at least 50%) is replaced with malted wheat.

A strong hazy appearance makes this beer stand out among others. Nowadays, Witbier typically contains an interfusion of spices and citrus such as coriander, orange, or bitter orange.

Comparison Table Between Hefeweizen and Witbier

Parameters of ComparisonHefeweizenWitbier
OriginHefeweizen originated in the state of Bavaria, Germany.Witbier originated in Belgium but is also commonly brewed in the Netherlands.
Yeast StrainIt is fermented using a Bavarian yeast strain called Torulaspora delbrueckii.It can be fermented using a variety of strains including Belgian Witbier, Forbidden Fruit or Belgian Wheat.  
Wheat ContentThe wheat content in the beer is 50 per cent.The wheat content in the beer is between 30 to 60 per cent.
ColourThe colour can vary from pale straw to dark gold.The colour can vary from pale straw to light gold.
ClarityHefeweizen is relatively clear.Witbier is very hazy and cloudy.
FlavourIt has overtones of banana, cloves, and even vanilla or bubblegum.It has overtones of spices and citrus `such as coriander and orange.

What is Hefeweizen?

Hefeweizen is a German beer that was first created in South Bavaria. It is brewed using top-fermenting yeast and contains at least 50% of malted wheat. The colour of the drink can be anywhere between pale straw and dark gold.

In earlier times, Hefeweizen was typically fermented using only a large proportion of wheat malt or air-dried barley malt. Hence, its name, which literally translates to ‘yeast wheat’ and refers to traditional unfiltered beer.

The beer has gained massive popularity due to its subtle bitterness and high carbonation. These characteristics tend to cut through the sweet malty taste of the wheat.

Some renowned brands that produce this drink in Germany include Paulaner, Maisel, Franziskaner and Erdinger. These are among the most popular names across the world.

What is Witbier?

Witbier is a Belgian beer that is characterized by its distinct hazy and cloudy appearance. Yeast and wheat proteins that are suspended during its production account for this.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Witbier was immensely popular in Hoegaarden and Leuven. The drink was concocted using malted barley, unmalted barley and even a slight amount of oats.

This traditional style of production was reinstituted recently by Hoegaarden Brewery as well the Celis Brewery in the US. However, the beer is nowadays made with a variety of spices and citrus including coriander, orange, and bitter orange.

Some renowned brands of Witbier include Ritual, 50 West, Badger State, Funkwerks, Telegraph, Avery, and New Belgium Fat Tire.

Main Differences Between Hefeweizen and Witbier

  1. Hefeweizen is relatively clear in appearance whereas Witbier is very hazy and cloudy.
  2. Hefeweizen has overtones of banana, clove, and vanilla or bubblegum whereas Witbier has overtones of spices and citrus such as coriander and orange.

Conclusion

Hefeweizen has a dark colour and is relatively clear whereas Witbier has a dark colour and is very hazy. Moreover, Hefeweizen has a bitter-sweet taste unlike Witbier, which is sour due to the added citrus. 

Hefeweizen originated in the southern areas of Bavaria in Germany whereas Witbier originated in Belgium, even though it is produced in the Netherlands as well. Lastly, their wheat malt content differs with Hefeweizen at 50% and Witbier between 30 to 60%.

References

  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=jc2QAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=difference+between+hefeweizen+and+witbier&ots=n4-FTqUK-h&sig=JK1mTaOi79dHw4ONoy0FCwivoag
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