#168: Honey Weiss – Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
It’s been a while since I’ve looked at a new style, no? Part of this is because of the fact that I’ve looked at so many already, but I think I’ll start devoting some effort into wrangling some of the strays in upcoming posts. I’ll start that process today by reviewing Whosisbrew’s first Kristallweizen, made by my old pals, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company.
Kristallweizen is quite simply a filtered version of the Hefeweizen style. Normally the Hefeweizen is cloudy, with an evident presence of yeast-driven phenolic flavors. Having undergone filtration, yeast is removed from suspension, and a lot of the haze-forming proteins are removed with it. The result is a clear, sparkling beer, with a softer flavor and more-tempered phenolic presence.
The beer poured with a large, but quickly evaporating foamy white head. Do keep in mind that the short life of the head probably had much more to do with the state of this glass. You can see bubbles sticking to the base, suggesting it was not as clean as it should have been. My bad. The color was a clear, sparkling straw gold, with a vast network of carbonation freely floating throughout the beer in a hurried manner. Initially, there was a considerable kick from the honey, but this was quickly usurped by sweet grain, wheat, and some tempered banana scents.
Well, let’s start with the positives. I do like how this beer tastes. The palate is met with a noticeable flavor of honey, followed quickly by sweet malts, crisp wheat and a gentle touch of banana. The “honey” part of the beer really distinguishes this brew, it’s a clever and very appropriate addition to the range of flavor. However, as I suggested in the first sentence, this beer is not without its flaws. The mouthfeel is quite light, which would have been fine if not for the high levels of carbonation. Each swallow feels as if your mouth is exhausting all of its resources to ensure that this thing actually goes down your throat. It’s too large a nuisance to ignore, as this beer becomes way too challenging as drinking progresses.
This beer is far from a disaster, but there are simply better, more approachable versions of this style. There are positives to be found in this beer and they indeed can be appreciated, but too much effort is required to accomplish that, and the payoff for doing so isn’t too great.