American Wheat vs. American Blonde: Side-by-Side

sensory analysis Nov 04, 2022


In this episode of the Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series, Advanced Cicerones Chris Cohen & Chris Crowe sit down to taste and discuss classic BJCP commercial examples of American Wheat Beer and Blonde Ale. We went with the old school Widmer Hefe vs. the ever popular Firestone 805 blonde. These are both fairly widely available in the US, but may be difficult to find abroad (find some similar examples in the BJCP commercial example section for these styles).

These beer styles share a lot characteristics, it's a tough comparison! They're both very pale, well balanced or slightly sweet, and have fairly clean American ale yeast profiles. There aren't a lot of big aromas or flavors that give it away. So what's the difference? It's mostly going to come down to all the wheat in the wheat ale — it has a distinctive uncooked dough, raw flour, or uncooked pasta flavor. The other minor difference is the mouthfeel and finish, which is a touch creamier and more lingering in the wheat beer. Wheat brings extra protein to the body of the wheat ale, lending it denser, "fluffier" mouthfeel. These are quite similar, this is a VERY difficult one! Don’t rely on appearance, thinking that the wheat beer will be cloudy and the blonde bright/clear — it may not be that way!

The Beer Scholar "Classic Style Side-By-Side" series, we compare similar classic styles, discuss them, & provide tips for how to pick them apart in a blind tasting. This is all about helping you pass the Certified & Advanced Cicerone exams. Tasting blind is HARD, we're here to help!

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sensory analysis