Witbier

Includes styles: Belgian White Ale

Recipes:
10,271
BJCP 2021:
24A
Era:
Traditional
Origin:
🇧🇪 Belgium
Fermentation:
Top
Color:
Pale
Strength:
Normal

Profile

Witbier, also known as Belgian White Ale, is a refreshing and elegant style of beer with a heritage rooted in the medieval beer traditions of Belgium. Historically, these beers were brewed with a mix of wheat (hence the "wit," meaning white in Dutch) and barley without the use of hops so to preserve it herbs and spices such as coriander and orange peels were used which is still common in the style today.

Appearance-wise, Witbier displays a pale and cloudy shade due to it being unfiltered and often bottle-conditioned. The haze contributed by yeast suspension and wheat proteins is a defining characteristic. A frothy white head crowns this effervescent brew, sometimes offering excellent retention. Flavor and aroma profiles are complex yet delicate, featuring an interplay between the fruity esters from fermentation and spicy phenols from yeast, complemented by those added spices like coriander. The addition of citrus zest – often curaçao orange peel or something similar – gives a bright citrusy edge that balances with lightly sweet malt undertones.

In comparison to other beer styles, Witbier holds a unique position with its spicing regimen reminiscent of historical brewing practices before hops became predominant. It is related to other traditional European wheat-based styles like German Weissbier but can be distinguished by its use of unmalted wheat, spices, and different yeast strains that produce noteworthy esters and phenols rather than the dominant banana-and-clove profile typical of German wheats. The crisp mouthfeel combined with subtle tartness makes Witbier both approachable for new beer enthusiasts and complex enough for seasoned palates seeking depth in their drinking experience.

Specifications

Alcohol

Specification
4.5 – 5.5 %

In Database
4.2 < 5.0 < 5.9 %

Bitterness

Specification
8 – 20 IBU

In Database
8 < 16 < 25 IBU

Color

Specification
4 – 8 EBC
2 – 4 SRM

In Database
5 < 7 < 9 EBC
2 < 4 < 5 SRM

Original Extract

Specification
10.9 – 12.8 °P
1.044 – 1.052 OG

In Database
10.2 < 12.3 < 14.7 °P
1.041 < 1.050 < 1.060 OG

Final Gravity

Specification
2.1 – 3.1 °P
1.008 – 1.012 FG

In Database
1.3 < 3.1 < 4.3 °P
1.005 < 1.012 < 1.017 FG

Popularity Over Time

Most Used Yeasts

Most Used Hops

Dosage of Hops

Hop Pairings

Brewing Recipes