Sunshine Wheat Beer | New Belgium Brewing

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Sunshine Wheat BeerSunshine Wheat Beer

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
IBU - 14
Hops - Target
Malts - Pale, Carapils, Wheat
OG - 13.4
Fruits/Spice - Orange Peel, Coriander

Added by kbub6f on 04-28-2002

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Reviews: 369 | Ratings: 887
Photo of RBorsato
4.8/5  rDev +38.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bright yellow, fairly clear (not a lot of sediment) with a good white head and good carbonation. Spicy aroma ! Very nice balanced spice and citrus flavor. Medium bodied and smooth for the style.

An excellent American example of a Belgian Witbier !

Label states: "Equal portions of wheat and barley malts" & "Spiced with Coriander and Orange Peel"

Best Before: 04/02/02
Tasted: 04/15/03

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Photo of NODAK
4.6/5  rDev +32.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Aroma here is mostly of lemon, and a bit of spiciness. Somewhat weak.

Taste is very crisp upfront, with a rush of lemon. The body is a mix of citrus, orange, and a healthy dose of coriander. It reminds me of a wit as far as the strength of the coriander, with a weaker orange character. I suppose it's as if they took a wit and mixed it with a summer citric beer. It wraps up with a bit of tartness. There is very little left over after the swallow; only some coriander.

It's actually very good, I'm impressed with it. This would probably go very well for a person who likes the flavors of a wit without all the sweetness.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.54/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now, I'm not a Witbier guy by any stretch but I have noticed a bias against them among the American quaffing community, esp. as represented on the 'net. Enough editorializing: this is kind, kind beer, all talk of "style" aside. Pours a sparkling golden, sunny color that has a slight green cast. Feeble head, nil lacing. Certainly, appearane is the weak link of this brew's attributes.

The smell reaches out of the glass and throttles your olfactory system with a nice range of fruit (pears), mulled cider, and a hint of tangy oak. The added herbs make their presence know as well, adding a green, springtime aspect.

The taste is mild but multifaceted and oh so refreshing. There is the semi-substantial wheat, hanging there like warm bread over the other, more intruiging, flavors. The frutiness of the nose come through, but this time it is clear that the frutiness is the result of the orange peel. A citric, crisp hoppiness tickles my velum before a sweet, herbal finish chock-full of coriander. Truly, absolutely appetizing beer.

The mouthfeel is thin, but refreshing. The carbonation makes this behave more like a malty cider or something. Drinkability is nice, but beware the increasing mustiness as the room temp approaches.

This is exemplary beer, and towers above most of New Belgium's brews, even Fat Tire.

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Photo of CU570M
4.52/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think New Belgium did it right with this beer. I caught hints of fresh vegetables and citrus. Overall kind of earthy tasting but very fresh. Definately something i could drink on a hot day.

I drove about 30 minutes to get this beer and would gladly do it again.

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Photo of Vancer
4.45/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Nice, nice, nice! Very lite golden yellow, with a lacey white head. Best before 6/9/06. Citrusy aroma with hints of orange, this one is looking good in my pilsner glass (oops, didn’t have any wheat glasses).

Fine, study taste – nice and wheaty with a solid malt backbone. That coriander and orange make this one into a fine summer brew. I’ll be getting more of these as the weather warms up. A proper bite in the mouth, and well carbonated.

Wifey really liked hers too; I can see us enjoying these on the deck as we watch the purple martins. New Belgium is available over here where I work in Missouri, but it doesn’t cross the Illinois border yet.

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Photo of Boneheadmx
4.44/5  rDev +28%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours out to a nice straw yellow with a decent head. The smell is great, as hints of chocolate waft through the air. Other raters apparently smell citrus and rate the smell moderately so maybe I happened to get a special batch or something. Either way, this bottle of Sunshine smells very good.

The taste is decent, with hints of malts and citrus. It's not very hoppy. The mouthfeel is also pretty good, being medium bodied and smooth. All in all, a very drinkable beer. I will definitely get this beer again.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.42/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like apple juice. Clear, light golden with an almost lifeless amount of carbonation. Almost the perfect aroma for a wit. Not too perfumey. Just the right amount of orange and corriander spice. A little wheat. And a little lemon. Nice refreshing brew. Good spicing on the palate. Some wheat tang. Just the slightest bit of bitterness. More carbonated than it looks, but could use a little more. Medium body. Leaves the palate clean. Not bad.

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Photo of johnyeast
4.4/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Refreshing is the name of the game for one of the standards of excellence from New Belgium. Golden in color with a bright white head. Smells of citrus and spice evoke an image of taste. A great beer for a hot sunny day or picnic out on the Poudre River. One of the most drinkable beers I know. I goes down so easy. Almost too easy. If that's really possible.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.37/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is probably my favorite wheat beer of any kind. The appearance is quite unimpressive, though it is kind of hard to say the opposite for any wheat beer. Nonetheless, by the looks alone you can tell how quaffable of a beverage this will be. The smell is kind of hay-ish from the wheat malt, but also quite sweet and candy-ish.

The taste reminds me quite a bit of Blue Moon, but I like it better, and not just because of the macro factor. It has a coriander and orange peel taste on top of the malty wheat base. The mouthfeel is very light, only the slightest bit dry. Very highly drinkable. If you are a wheat beer fan, check it out.

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Photo of disastermouse
4.36/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A- Very light golden. Head disappears almost before it forms.

S- Very light. 'Doughy' smell.

T- Clean, very subdued malts - some clinging yeast at the back of the throat. A little bit of fruit/veggie taste. Not unpleasant.

MF- Very light, not over-carbonated.

D- Easy session beer. This would make a pretty great camping beer, IMHO. You could drink this all day fishing in a rowboat.

I'm not a big fan of NB. I hate Fat Tire, for instance. This beer is much better, but I suspect I just like their take on this style better than the amber ale.

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Photo of DavidJ710
4.34/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

What a wonderful beer. I am relatively new to the midwest, and this beer doesn't make it out to the area of Ohio that I am from. I tried the beer in a Chili's restaurant here in Lincoln, NE. Here's what I found:

Appearance: Well, the beer is clearly filtered, not like a Boulevard or any other unfiltered wheat. Naturally there was no sediment, but the beer looked a nice shade of golden. Not too pale as some wheat beers seem to become. The head on this beer was rather lacking. Although I did not pour it, the pour was alright and the head was a bit flat.

Smell: The beer smelled great. Lemon, and I think some orange and coriander filled the nostrils.

Taste: Quite good tasting. The natural citrus flavors in the beer redered the lemons that were served with it useless. Fitting with the style, the malts were quite smooth, and the hops were quite scarce.

Mouthfeel: I expected more carbonation from the beer as it is an American Wheat Beer and they tend to be a bit more bubbly. The beer was not as thick as I had expected, but it was not too thin at all.

Drinkability: I'd drink this again, I think. It was indeed tasty, and I do enjoy a good wheat beer.

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Photo of MikeInIowa
4.33/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you are new to the idea of wheat style of ales and beers, an excellent starting point would have to be Sunshine Wheat Beer.

Simply stated, I find it to be superior in all five categories, and it is my favorite wheat that I have sampled so far.

It is made by New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, CO, which is the same company that produces another little amber ale called Fat Tire (it's not so little, and I am a huge fan).

With the successes and, accordingly, the wider distribution of Sunshine Wheat, Fat Tire and other labels like Mothership Wit, 1554, Abbey and Blue Paddle, New Belgium Brewing is on their way to become, I predict, a major American brewer that will be competitive with the Big 3 companies of A-B, Coors and Miller in just 5 short years hence.

They are doing it right in Fort Collins. Bravo, friends!

With Respect for Beer,

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Photo of jmbranum
4.33/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Very pretty bright yellow-gold liquid with a big white head.

Nice aroma. Very sweet flavor but just enough sour notes to balance it out. A little more spices would have been nice but overall this is a very good light wheat beer.

Light-medium mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation.

I recommend this beer. Very, very good.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.3/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass.

A - The beer pours a clear golden yellow color with a 1 finger white head with decent retention and lacing throughout.

S - A pleasant aroma of lemon zest, coriander spice, slightly toasted malts, a mild citrus hop character, and sweetness.

T - The beer starts off with a toasted malt character immediately followed by a blend of lemon, orange, coriander, and malty sweetness. The beer finishes clean and crisp with a nice mellow citrus hop flavor and bitterness. Very good.

M - The beer is nice and crisp and extremely refreshing. Light bodied and nice carbonation.

D - Absolutely.

Overall, this is a perfect beer for refreshment on a nice summer day. Very good. I will buy it again and would recommend.

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-23-2011 14:16:27

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Photo of ppoitras
4.25/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz can obtained via SS09 from vasdef42. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 3/4" bright white head above the clear light golden brew. Pillowy head falls bubble burst by bubble burst, with ample slow-falling lace. Aroma is sweet pale malts. Taste is also pale sweetness, with a peek of tart in the middle, and a balancing crisp hops close. Mouthfeel is way smooth, and drinkability is superb. Great beer for summer, or whenever.

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Photo of putnam
4.25/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Absolutely clear, yellow liquid.

Is that new oak on the nose? Or am I confusing that with lees exposure? (What a thing to mix up) A pleasantly chalky, toasted oak character carries through to the flavors. Along the way lemonade, green apples and blonde grains join in. The texture is pillowy smooth and, though thick, is lifted by the fine mousse latent in this tonic.

Another damn decent American Wheat!

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.23/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a New Belgium globe. The beer is a crystal clear golden, with bubbles constantly rising from the bottom. A white head recedes to film and a concentrate circle of foam in the center. Light lacing makes rings on the glass. The beer smells fresh, and mainly of light lemony notes. A touch of orange peel. The beer tastes very refreshing, light and zesty. It has a nice mellow grassy, wheat body with a crisp finish, and coriander can be detected. Just enough of a citrus pinch to remind you of the zesty orange peel. Mouthfeel is light bodied and clean.

Overall, simply a clean, easy-to-session summer wheat beer. I have no problems giving this one high marks. Hardly any faults.

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Photo of Kemmerlin
4.21/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Straw yellow in color and very light in appearance which tricks you in thinking that it is unflavorful. There was a light head with thin but sticky lacing.

S: The aromas were light but you can definitely pickup the coriander and wheat smells. Also some lemon zest adds some summer time feelings.

T: The brew has a strong wheat characteristic in the back of the mouth and coriander in the front mixing in with lemon in the aftertaste. Very tasty.

M/D: The feel is light and airy which makes it very drinkable on hot summer afternoons. I am excited for the summertime to enjoy this brew more.

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Photo of John_M
4.2/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the Denver airport annex today

The beer pours a pale gold color, but with surprisingly good head retention and decent lacing. On the nose I get some nice spice (coriander and clove mostly), along with the expected light "wheatyness." The flavors on the palate completely replicate the nose, though frankly, it had more flavor then I was expecting. Mouthfeel was light to medium bodied, exactly what I was expecting out of a wheat beer. Drinkability was terrific. The low alcohol is part of the reason of course, but this beer was refreshing and yet still had plenty of flavor. Frankly, it was a joy to drink.

Have not had this beer in some years, but it's still as good I remembered. For what it is and tries to be, this beer is impressive.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.19/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pale and cloudy, with a huge fizzy head of white foam.
Scent is lush and delicious, with ripe banana, lemon, and yeasty bread coming to mind.
Taste is sweet, but nicely subtle, with accents of spice. A superb wheat beer, with an easy, low-key character.
Delicious and quite drinkable!

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.18/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Tayner for this one.

Looks like a pale gold with a touch of haze. The head is a flat white film that fades away after a while.

Smells of canned peaches that blended into a spot of rye.

Tastes similar, but deeper. There's the same combo of peaches and pears in heavy syrup, but they're balanced exquisitely by a smooth white flour and a hint of birch bark. This leaves my mouth a bit dry.

Feels quite light, clean and remarkably satisfying. Almost seems to have a mysterious cooling sensation to it. Someone should call Coors...

This is quite a quenching drink. A must for the summer.

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Photo of mattdavis452
4.17/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pale yellow, clear. Pours an average head, nothing too big or too small. Head dissipates relatively quickly though.

S: Light smell. Very small hint of lemon. However, one can tell from the smell that the "footprint" that the beer will leave in your mouth will be very small (unlike, say, a Strong Belgian Ale).

T: Light, as expected. Quite crisp; satisfying in this regard. However, nothing flashy. It just drinks well. I wouldn't say it's bland, but it doesn't carry much weight on the hops or malt. So, I can't say well balanced, instead I'll say "lightly balanced."

M: Crisp mouthfeel that complements the taste.

D: A good session beer. I'd say this beer is good for those who want to watch some football but not have to drink adjunct-laden macrobrews. But as for a hierarchy of taste, this one is not really too premium.

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Photo of tang214
4.17/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Yet another masterpiece by New Belgium. This beers appearance is true to the name. It has a distinct citrus smell to it, mostly orange and lemon. The taste much like the smell is distinctly citrusy with a lighter wheat taste. Personally, I think I would have enjoyed a bit more of a wheat taste to it. It has a only decent mouthfeel to it, but the drinkability is great. This would be a perfect beer for a sweltering hot summer day.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.17/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Bottle Inspection: Label notes the presence of coriander, orange peel, suggested serving temperature (45 degrees), storage suggestion (keep refrigerated), 4.8% abv., silhouetted glassware suggestion (Classic New Belgium Snifter, which I used), and best before date (13JAN06: sampled 08MAR06, past due). Nice info on the label!

Aroma: Nice floral perfume nose with the coriander present once I looked for it. No grain or wheat aroma that I expected given the style.

Appearance: Golden yellow glass sported a short lived white head that retreated to a collar with faint traces that never really laced.

Flavor: Coriander hasn’t suffered with age, is at a very nice level to add a firm but pleasant taste without overwhelming. Faint wisps of grain base and floral hop, but masterfully balanced. Light touches of citric in a generally very clean taste.

Mouthfeel: Very firm carbonation level manages not to be fizzy. The light body encourages big gulps which produce more than a few happy burps.

Overall Impression: Clean and easy! This is one to woo your macro friends with! Great coriander taste, no flaws noted. Bravo! A tough style to really wow me with, but NB did it! Recommended!

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Photo of erosier
4.15/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a near clear straw yellow with a short and somewhat thing white colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet toasted malts, hints of lemon, sweet wheat malt, and a touch of spices with a slight citrus-y hop finish.
T: Tastes of sweet toasted malts, nice wheat malt followed by big lemon and orange flavors which gives a smooth transition to the citrus-y hops that finish it off.
M: Crisp, fresh, refreshing, light bodied, perfect amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable as all the flavors are there and it's not a huge abv beer.

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Sunshine Wheat Beer from New Belgium Brewing
3.47 out of 5 based on 887 ratings.
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