Prohibition University
Malcolm Bucholtz - water is the key ingredient to brewing

By Malcolm Bucholtz, Owner and Distillation Instructor
Prohibition University

Sticking to the Style

After a long day of finishing off the final edits on my M.Sc. thesis document, I reached into my fridge and grabbed a cold one to reward myself. The golden nectar hit the spot and my taste buds were pleading for more. 

As I savoured the hoppiness and admired the slight haziness in my glass, my wife asked me what I was drinking. I casually replied – “a Wit Bier”, as I rotated the can to read off the list of ingredients to her. 

But I stopped in perplexed silence. Something was missing from the list.

As experienced beer drinkers know, the various styles of beer made by craft operators are actually defined in print by the American Home Brewer’s Association in the form of the BJCP (2015) Style Guidelines. You can down load the PDF file at Hours of interesting reading await you!

Style 24A is that of WitBier. In particular, here is how BJCP discusses the characteristic ingredients in Wit (wheat) Bier:

About 50% unmalted wheat and 50% pale barley malt constitute the grist. In some versions, up to 5-10% raw oats may be used. Spices of freshly-ground coriander and Curaçao or sometimes sweet orange peel complement the sweet aroma and are quite characteristic.

The following image shows the list of ingredients. Take a look and refer to the above BJCP verbiage if you have  to. See if you can spot what ingredient is missing from the list. 

I remain unsure if it is just missing from the list or if it is actually missing from the beer too. 

I will admit that this can of brew was pretty good and I will likely buy more. But, brewers must be careful to ensure label accuracy and to ensure adherence to BJCP Guidelines. This is what will keep the craft movement robust. 

Meantime, download the BJCP file, crack open a cold one and start reading!

Malcolm Bucholtz

Prohibition University

“Teaching the Art and Science of Brewing & Distilling”