Today I’m tasting two beers that I brewed recently. Two of the same style – hefeweizens to be exact. The first (shown on the left of the photo) was brewed using extract, and the second was my very first all-grain beer. I wanted to compare them so I’m tasting them side-by-side.
The all-grain hefe is much lighter in color than the extract. The carbonation levels are about the same, and the head thicknesses are about the same. The aroma is where things start to diverge. The extract has a sharp, slightly earthy nose, while the all-grain has a bright, slightly citrusy aroma. Comparing the two, the extract beer seems to have an almost lagery character – less like a true hefewiezen. It is also a bit less cloudy than the all-grain. Both beers have a slightly off flavor in the finish, something that I’m still working out in my brewing process.
Overall the all-grain exhibits more of the characteristics of a true hefeweizen than the extract beer. The all-grain came out a little bit sweeter than I would have hoped, perhaps a little more time in the secondary fermenter could have helped the attenuation – or perhaps a different yeast?
I think that the all-grain method will let me get closer to a true hefeweizen than extract, however there may be better extract syrups out there for doing wheat beers than the one that I used.