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German Wheat Beer.

Wheat beer has enjoyed a surprising renaissance in recent years, and American adherents can now find it in brewpubs and on store shelves from coast-to-coast. Wheat-beer partisans now have their bible - German Wheat Beer by Eric Warner. The book is the most recent addition to the Brewers Publications style canon, and is an invaluable source for historical, technical and social information on the wheat-beer style.

Warner is a graduate of Germany's Weihenstephan, and began his training as a brewmaster in a Bavarian wheat beer brewery. His solid technical grounding is evident, and makes this book one of the most "technical" volumes in the Brewer's Publications series. It should receive wide readership among practicing brewers, although novice homebrewers may find the level of technical discourse somewhat daunting.

Warner proceeds with an exploration into the physical and chemical composition of pale hefeweissbeer, and illustrates his commentary with appropriate tables. "Although the esters and alcohols play an important role in the elegant balance of weissbeer flavor and aroma," he points out, "it is the phenolic substances in Bavarian and Swabian wheat beers that set them apart from any other beers in the world."

The book's strongest sections are those that deal with the nuts-and-bolts of wheat beer production, starting with a section on ingredient selection. In brewing a wheat beer. Warner observes, winter wheat is preferable to summer wheat because of its lower protein content, "which translates to higher extract values of the malt and paler colors in the beer."

The book also provides succinct discussions of mashing procedure, lautering and boiling.

An informative section on fermenting, conditioning and packaging weiss beer is also included. "In the classic weissbeer brewery," Warner reports, "open vat fermentations are the rule, and the yeast is either scooped off with a slotted spoon or cropped off with a skimmer... "

Warner closes the book with a primer on serving weissbeer, and offers several weissbeer recipes.

German Wheat Beer is an impressive volume, and should appeal to the full spectrum of weissbeer enthusiasts. For those with some technical grounding, the book should provide welcome guidance, while stimulating the more casual reader towards more challenging heights.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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