Herbst Hefe

Imperial Hefeweizen

A light amber colored Imperial Hefeweizen with ripe banana and spiced bread aromas from the classic combination of malted white wheat and Weihenstephan yeast. An uncommon malty sweetness blends with flavors of nutmeg and clove in this rather medium bodied wheat ale which finishes mildly bitter and dry.

  • ABV: 7.8%
  • IBU: 25
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Origin Story

This new conceptual approach to brewing what is normally a pretty straightforward beer style would still employee the 50/50 malt bill ratio of barley to white wheat, but it would also have some Munich malt tossed in for additional color and flaovr, and have a total grain bill of 800 lbs, which is double that of a standard batch of our traditional Hefeweizens brewed at the pub. Named Herbst Hefe, by Tony Hansen, which literally translates to Autumn Hefe, there really isn't any stylistic guidelines for an Imperial Hefeweizen, but the history of the wheat beer in general is quite interesting. Hefeweizen, which literally translates to "yeast wheat", is the classical wheat beer of Bavaria. Usually referred to as Weissbier (White Beer) by the Germans, this style has become one of the country's greatest and most distinctive beers. The Hefeweizen name derives from the yellowish white tinge imparted by the pale wheat and barley malts used to make this style, and from the fact that these beers are generally unfiltered leaving plenty of yeast turbidity or haze in the finished product. According to German law* a beer labeled by either name listed above must be made with at least 50% malted wheat, although many versions use more than the law requires and are made with upwards to 60%-70% malted wheat. Origins of wheat beer can be traced as far back as 6,000 years ago, however, most people associate this style beginning with Bavaria and a noble dynasty that obtained official brewing rights to make them in 1520. Granted to the noble Degenberg family from the village of Schwarzach, exclusive brewing privileges were given by the ruling Wittlesbach dynasty of Bavaria, most likely due to the fact that this beer style was viewed as being fairly insignificant. However, by 1567 after diverting plenty of wheat from the people's baking ovens and generating more profits than anticipated, an unhappy Wittlesbach Duke declared wheat beer to be "a useless drink that neither nourishes nor gives strength, but only encourages drunkenness" and outlawed wheat beer making in his entire realm. Unfortunately, by the rules of feudal etiquette, he still had to grant the Degenberg clan an exemption from his governing prohibition. By 1602, the Bavarian Dukes got lucky after the passing of the last living Degneberg, and the lack of an heir allowed the Wittlesbach ruling family to reclaim the right to brew wheat beer, quickly creating a monopoly for themselves by passing laws that made every innkeeper in their realm pour wheat beer brewed exclusively at their breweries. This monopoly only lasted for roughly 200 years, and as sales continued to decline certain monasteries and other breweries were offered to purchase the weissbeir rights or lease them to see if they could revive this fledgling style. In 1872 the Dukes finally gave up on their once wheat beer cash cow and sold the rights to a brewmaster named Georg Schneider. Sales for weissbier continued to decline steadily and by the 1950's they accounted for less than 3% of the overall beer production in Bavaria. As many breweries stopped making the style altogether, practically predicting it's extinction, Schneider and his heirs strangely continued to make it, becoming weissbier specialists in doing so. This gamble paid off thanks to a sudden and unexplainable shift in consumer taste in the 1960's, marking the revival of wheat beer, not only in Bavaria but also throughout the world. Today, these beers are the most popular style in Bavaria, holding greater than one-third of the market share, after a century of what appeared to be it's utter demise. Aside from the unique incorporation of malted white wheat for a majority of the malt bill, the most distinct characteristics of wheat beer can be attributed to the specific yeast strains used to brew them. Fermented by a family of closely related yeasts, often referred to as the "Weihenstephan strain" by brewers outside of Bavaria, these specialized varieties produce many of the classical flavors of the style. With an overall lightness provided by the wheat, aromas of banana, cloves, and even bubblegum tend to characterize weissbier when brewed with these genuine German yeast strains. When poured properly with a sufficient amount of head, these prominent qualities become the focal point of this style, complimenting a pronounced effervescence and creating a truly one of a kind refreshing experience. Often seen in the summer time due to their natural ability to quench thirst, the immense popularity of this style has wheat beers available year round in many parts of the world, and for many exclusive light lager drinkers, these beers serve as an interesting alternative increasing their conceptual understanding of what are "acceptable" flavors in beer.


Perle, Hallertau

Nutritional Information

  • Calories: 230

Name Origin

Named Herbst Hefe, by Tony Hansen, which literally translates to Autumn Hefe, there really isn't any stylistic guidelines for an Imperial Hefeweizen, but the history of the wheat beer in general is quite interesting.
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