Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Black Wheat

New Glarus Brewing Company
New Glarus, WI

Style: Dunkelweizen
ABV: 5.75%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

The very first batch of beer I home brewed was a dunkelweiss—a dark wheat beer. It was a ridiculously simple recipe, extract without even any specialty grains … and it was awesome. To this day I’m still a huge fan of dunkels. So, needless to say, I was pickled tink that New Glarus was putting out another take on the style, the last being their kick ass Copper Kettle Weiss, a fairly direct but phenomenally tasty dunkel. Their latest version, Black Wheat, on the other hand, boasts a bigger body with some roasted malt in the grist to really mix things up.

The pour is a super-dark bronze with a MASSIVE, rocky, light hazel-colored head. A big aroma wafts off this giant pile of foam, a fusion of bananas, cloves, and cocoa. An effusive and enticing nose.

I take a sip and … what the …? Are those roasted malt notes? Strong roasted malt notes? Right up front? Yes. Strong roasty-toasty toffee flavors come up right off the bat, then retreat into a comparatively watery middle. The finish is long as Hell for an otherwise restrained wheat brew, with chocolate notes everywhere. At the very, very end are definite hints of smokiness, which is really wild for a wheat beer, but it works. If you really search for it you’ll find that spiciness indicative in Bavarian yeast strains, but overall it’s pretty much hidden under the malt.

Black Wheat is a complex but smooth entry into the dunkelweiss field. The watery middle makes it not as “chewy” as the bottle copy proclaimed, but this beer is declicious nonetheless. Once again New Glarus not only presents us with an expertly crafted beer, but puts its own spin on it to make the style its own. Another reason why this is one of the best breweries in the world.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on April 8, 2009.
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