Wheatwine - Under Appreciated or Terrible?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by CloudStrife, Jan 30, 2013.


Wheatwine or Barleywine?

  1. Wheatwine

  2. Barleywine

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  1. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,059) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Beer Trader

    I had a taster of Two Brothers' Weiss Wine yesterday and wasn't impressed. Smuttynose's Wheatine is the best I've had so far and I really enjoyed it. The Bruery White Oak is the worst I've had and my least favorite beer by one of my favorite breweries. Really wanna try a rye wine now though since I too have never heard of such a thing.
  2. kell50

    kell50 Meyvn (1,138) Jul 25, 2007 North Carolina

    Huge fan of Wheatwine and I do believe they're extremely undervalued, simply because not too many people know about this particular style of beer. The Smuttynose wheatwine is VERY solid, as well as the NH Pilgrims Dole too. I just recently had the Boulevard Harvest Dance and really enjoyed it.

    If you see a wheatwine and have never had it before.. give it a shot, it might be your new favorite! Also, anyone that wants to trade me a Bruery Chocolate Rain- hit me up!!
  3. CloudStrife

    CloudStrife Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2008 New York

    If I click on the top 50 Wheatwines there are only 33 results.
  4. ejeffer11

    ejeffer11 Aspirant (257) Feb 15, 2008 New York
    Beer Trader

    kuhnhenn wheat wine was pretty damn good
    Czar_chasm, JohnB87 and kell50 like this.
  5. szmnnl99

    szmnnl99 Crusader (727) Apr 3, 2006 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Love Short's Wheatwine
    JohnB87 likes this.
  6. Thickfreakness

    Thickfreakness Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2010 New York

    Gotcha. What a shame. Not my favorite style, but I do love Ithaca 13. Something tells me I might even be able to grab a bottle or two near me. Hmmmmm. It was that or White Gold. Smuttynose is pretty good as well, and I'm really looking forward to White Chocolate when the time is right!
  7. CloudStrife

    CloudStrife Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2008 New York

    That would be a great find. I have seen fourteen on the shelves in Rochester. White gold would make sense too. Has some wild yeasts to it I believe. Good looks on Ballston Spa, spent 7 or so years of my childhood in Galway.
  8. Thickfreakness

    Thickfreakness Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2010 New York

    Forgot about Harpoon Triticus! Might be the best I've had. Had Short's and wasn't impressed at all.
    kirkse likes this.
  9. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,331) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    OP, I'm actually a big fan of wheatwines and always wish that more breweries would try their hand at it. I think they're not as common and not as popular because a) it's a bit unorthodox in a craft market that goes totally gaybones for barleywines and imperial stouts, and b) people don't seem to know what to make of a wheatwine or are expecting something else. With that in mind, I think there are a couple of different approaches that you see in wheatwines, and I have my preferences (same goes for Belgian IPAs—there are a few distinct "strains" of that style, but that's another conversation).

    For one, there's the wheatwine that imitates a barleywine, like Smuttynose's Wheat Wine. Oftentimes they're sweeter and thicker and heavier, and personally I think the unique character of the wheat malt gets lost in it sometimes.

    Another possible type (I say possible because I don't think they're as common) is the pale, hopped-up, high-gravity, high-wheat content beer, like Ithaca 13 (which I personally don't think of as a wheatwine, but let's say that it is for the sake of argument). They're really more like a heavy DIPA with a shitload of wheat and without the emphasis on in-your-face hops, but they can still be plenty hoppy. (Ithaca 13 was, in my mind, more like a very wheaty DIPA, and I loved it.)

    And then there's something like Brooklyn's The Companion. Personally, I fucking loved that beer (second highest-rated by me, after Heady Topper (4.75 and 4.8, respectively)). It was big and full-bodied, but not overly boozy and was balanced enough that it retained that light, fruity, tart character that I love so much in wheat malts. Consequently I thought that beer was waaaaaaay underrated and underappreciated.

    So there's my two cents.
  10. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,331) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Sidenote, I'm really interested in the possibility of brewing a wheatwine with a Belgian yeast strain like Ommegang's, and essentially making it a less spicy, amber, wheat version of a BSPA. I think that has loads of potential.

    Also, some good barrel aging, but let's be honest—bourbon barrel aging is kinda uninspired these days, so I'd love to see a wheatwine aged in rye whiskey or wine barrels. Or if there are any triple sec barrels out there, that tangy citrus flavor would be perfect paired with the pronounced wheat malts at their peak.
    lovindahops likes this.
  11. CloudStrife

    CloudStrife Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2008 New York

    I am glad to hear Smuttynose is on that end of the spectrum, it was quite thick and sweet. I enjoyed it but could have been more complex.

    Wow... Brooklyn The Companion, looks good. Again new to me. I am gonna be on the lookout for that one. Thanks for the lead.
    fmccormi likes this.
  12. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,331) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Unfortunately The Companion was a one-off—it was brewed to coincide with the Oxford Companion to Beer or whatever that was called. The only commercially-released bottles came in gift packs along with the book for like $80 at the brewery, but it was around on tap for a while. Real shame, too, because it was outstanding.
  13. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,331) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Same with Ithaca 13. Unbelievable on tap, can't believe it's gone for good. There must be some way we can petition the brewery, right . . . ?
  14. CloudStrife

    CloudStrife Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2008 New York

    But would you petition for thirteen or Brute? :-D too be more available?
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  15. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,331) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    My answer is: yes.
  16. Bobheed

    Bobheed Initiate (0) Dec 27, 2010 Texas

    White Oak is the only one I've ever had and I loved it. I would certainly like to try more
  17. Thickfreakness

    Thickfreakness Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2010 New York

    Both are fantastic! Damn you Ithaca!!!
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  18. flayedandskinned

    flayedandskinned Initiate (0) Jan 1, 2011 California
    Beer Trader

    I've never seen a Wheatwine before. I've always wanted to try one! I'm not huge on barleywines, because they tend to be too sweet.
  19. kaseydad

    kaseydad Savant (990) Nov 23, 2008 California
    Beer Trader

    Don't get too many Wheatwines in the Bay Area but I do like the Marin Brewing Star Brew. It's not easy to find in the East Bay but traveling to Novato Bevmo usually allows for a bottle or three. A bomber can produce palate fatigue, but the event is fun and flavorful. I dig em but it's just hard to find the style around these woods. Hoping that changes and my input would be more meaningful.
  20. WagonCircler

    WagonCircler Initiate (131) May 15, 2011 New York
    Beer Trader

    Ithaca is the most infuriating brewery in the East.

    Side note - drank a bottle of Alphalpha very recently and it was still damn good. This wouldnt be too suprising to me but we're talking about a brewery that's flagship IPA tastes best in the car ride home.
  21. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (3,713) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota
    Beer Trader

    Great thread. I'm a huge wheatwine fan, & picked up another for my wants from the suggestions. I've made it a point to seek them out whenever I can...would love to see more on the market.

    Might be hard to find now, but Weyerbacher 14 & 14 Special Dark were two of the best I've ever had.

    Marin Star Triple Wheat was fantastic.

    Founder Nemesis '09 was unreal, but has fallen off in the years since it was released.

    Couple others I haven't seen mentioned are DuClaw Misery (very good) & Terrapin Gamma Ray (pretty good),
  22. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,331) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    I really wanted to try Gamma Ray. And I bet Founders could make a good wheatwine alright, but I'm guessing Nemesis was more along the lines of a barleywine that happened to be over 50% wheat malts.

    Need to keep an eye out for the Weyerbachers . . . they're hit or miss with their big beers sometimes, but when it's a hit it can be a BIG hit, it seems.
  23. TheBeerologist

    TheBeerologist Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2011 Rhode Island

    I have only tried a few wheatwines, but I have thoroughly enjoyed them all. It is about time to crack the Jackie O's Cherry Wood Ya...I think that will go in the fridge for this weeked
  24. flexabull

    flexabull Poo-Bah (2,311) Mar 9, 2006 California
    Beer Trader

    Back when you could post what your favorite style was on your profile page mine said "wheatwine".

    Now granted, I'm not sure it really is my fav, but it's way up there. I think it's a very under appreciated style, some of my favs are Marin Star Brew, Bells Wheat Love (please bring it back!) and Big Time Old Sol.
    beertunes likes this.
  25. kell50

    kell50 Meyvn (1,138) Jul 25, 2007 North Carolina

    I had a Terrapin Gamma Ray last summer.. Way too sweet for me.
  26. HopsMatt

    HopsMatt Initiate (0) Dec 1, 2011 Kentucky
    Beer Trader

    I also don't see why it has to be one over the other, but if I had to choose it would be barleywines. Don't get me wrong, I love wheatwines. Boogoop, Old Sol, Ithica 13, White Chocolate, Nemesis 09...so many good ones!

    Btw, if you want some Boogoop, let me know. I have done cellared and some that Mikkeller just released again.
  27. razeup

    razeup Initiate (0) Jan 18, 2013 New York

    Good news: I was at Brooklyn brewery on 1/16 for a tour and they were selling glasses of Companion for 2 chips a pop; glasses were about 1/2 the bottle, and chips run $4-5 each depending on whether you buy them in bulk. I was the only person willing to try it on a Monday with the tap room closing in the next 10 minutes, so the bartender walked away to let me grab the whole bottle. Expensive relative to the other offerings at the brewery and there were certainly consequences to this decision the following day, but totally worth it overall! Not sure if they still have it, but definitely worth a shot.
    fmccormi likes this.
  28. thecheapies

    thecheapies Initiate (0) Jan 11, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Drinking a Founders Nemesis 2009 right now.

    I mean, it's not in the top half of favorite styles for me, but when they're boozy and sweet, they make great winter sippers. In moderation, folks. Just in moderation.
  29. 604growler

    604growler Aspirant (262) Jul 20, 2009 British Columbia (Canada)

    Here's the best (only?) wheatwine Canada has to offer and its a beauty eh


    I'd usually take it over barleywine because it has a lighter feel to it but still has an interesting/unique/pleasing taste profile
  30. CloudStrife

    CloudStrife Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2008 New York

  31. fmccormi

    fmccormi Meyvn (1,331) Oct 24, 2010 California
    Beer Trader

    Oh damn . . . I was just looking up a couple of the wheatwines mentioned on here, and I am hardcore ISO Boulevard Harvest Dance and Short's Anniversary Ale, now. (I'm not into trading though, so Short's will probably have to wait.)

    When is Anniversary Ale released, exactly? And what about Harvest Dance? Isn't that out now? Would the citra hops still be relatively pungent at this point?
  32. Thorpe429

    Thorpe429 Poo-Bah (5,394) Aug 18, 2008 Illinois
    Industry Beer Trader

    Terrible. Some breweries have done a decent job using barrels and other treatments, but in general, terrible.
  33. evilcatfish

    evilcatfish Defender (629) May 11, 2012 Missouri
    Beer Trader

    I think wheat wine is definitely under appreciated
  34. bump8628

    bump8628 Meyvn (1,144) Feb 21, 2008 Oklahoma

    Harvest Dance is still all over the place here (Oklahoma), it's even on draft at a few places still. I wouldn't say the citra is really "pungent", even when it's fresh the citra is just an accent in the overall flavor profile. It's definitely an excellent beer.
    fmccormi likes this.
  35. LambicPentameter

    LambicPentameter Meyvn (1,483) Aug 29, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    Harvest Dance is outstanding. That being said, it's the only wheatwine I've had the opportunity to try.
  36. poopinmybutt

    poopinmybutt Initiate (85) May 25, 2005 Nebraska

    yeah harvest dance has been released fairly recently, in the past couple months.

    got to try it back to back with the prior version and the new one is so much brighter. old one was still pretty good.

    weyerbacher had a really nice wheat wine as well awhile back.
  37. wordemupg

    wordemupg Poo-Bah (3,808) Feb 11, 2009 Alberta (Canada)
    Beer Trader

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  38. Stinkypuss

    Stinkypuss Poo-Bah (4,018) Apr 7, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Any love for Shorts Anniversary Wheatwine? Brewed with blood oranges and green peppercorns. Best I've had to date for the style.
    szmnnl99 likes this.
  39. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,446) Mar 18, 2010 California

  40. Mothergoose03

    Mothergoose03 Poo-Bah (2,189) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Premium Member

    I voted Barleywines only because I have more experience with drinking them because there are more of them on store shelves. And judging from many of the replies on this thread, that's exactly why this style is under-appreciated rather than being "horrible."

    I've had only 5-6 wheatwines and I've enjoyed each one, just as I've enjoyed just about every barleywine that I've had. The wheatwines that are in the marketplace are typically a small batch release that appears on store shelves so briefly from whichever brewery makes it so that it does not get widespread consumption (and acceptance) due to the limited consumers who have the opportunity to purchase it.
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