Why can't Wheat beers age?

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syd138

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Why is it that weisses can't sit too long? Do they get that bad after a year or so? How long can you keep them?

I drank a weisse yesterday that I brewed up in October and it still tastes pretty good imo.
 

peas_and_corn

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Since brewers don't use any sort of preservatives (or techniques that rpeserve beers), beer is preserved by the following aspects of the beer:

1: hops. Hops were originally used as a preservative, and the hoppier the beer is, the longer it will last (hence IPA). Wheat beers tend to not have much in the way of hops.

2: alcohol. Alcohol is a preservative, and wheat beers tend to be low in alcohol.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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They also have a ton of suspended solids, and long chain proteins, which when combined with one and two from above give you stability problems, making long term aging more difficult. Also the yeast have a vibrant flavor that is best when younger.

They won't go bad, but they may not be as good as they were.
 

ArcaneXor

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I can attest to that. I just tasted a batch of several months old wit side by side with my most recent batch (very similar recipes), and the current one beat it hands-down. There is a certain crispness to young wheat beers that fades with time.
 

ewbish

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Why is it that weisses can't sit too long? Do they get that bad after a year or so? How long can you keep them?

I drank a weisse yesterday that I brewed up in October and it still tastes pretty good imo.


It's not that you "can't", it's that they peak early and are much better fresh. German style Hefe's more so than american styles or belgian styles. The yeast strains in the German styles leave a lot more proteins in suspension. With aging, these tend to drop out and it creates a kind of coating on the bottom of the bottle. Since this style is meant to be drank "mit hefe", by gently swirling the bottle, an old hefe will have a funky after taste if you swirl this layer into the beer. Aging also tends to change the clove/banana balance of the esters as well. American style wheats aren't anywhere near as susceptible, as they mostly finish a lot cleaner, and you generally leave the yeast behind when you drink it anyway. Belgians don't seem to have the issue as much either......I don't know if all the extra goodies the Belgians toss in have anything to do with it or not, but belgian wheat beers seem to peak a lot later than Bavarian styles.
 

Shawn Hargreaves

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The main problem with storing a Belgian style wit too long is that the coriander flavor doesn't last forever. I tried a bottle of a year-old wit a few weeks ago, and it was horribly out of balance, all bitter orange peel with no aroma left at all.
 

ewbish

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The main problem with storing a Belgian style wit too long is that the coriander flavor doesn't last forever. I tried a bottle of a year-old wit a few weeks ago, and it was horribly out of balance, all bitter orange peel with no aroma left at all.


That's good to know..........for some odd reason I've never had a Belgian Wit last more than 2 months in the bottle at my house;-)
 

DeathBrewer

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What ewbish said.

Wheat beers are best young, when the yeast character is fresh and the proteins are still in suspension. It's not that they go bad with age, they just get more and more bland.
 
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