NOTE: In the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, Weizenbock has been reclassified as Style 10C in Category 10 German Wheat Beer which contains vollbier- and starkbier-strength German wheat beers without sourness, in light and dark colors.
As the name implies, a Weizenbock is a German wheat ale brewed to bock strength and shares many of the same attributes as a bockbier. These beers are relatively uncommon, even in its native Bavaria.
Schneider Aventinus is perhaps the best known example. Aventiur is the world’s oldest top-fermented wheat doppelbock. It was first brewed in 1907 at the Weisse Brauhaus in Munich using the ‘Méthode Champenoise’ and then bottle conditioned. It was Schneider’s response to the bottom-fermented doppelbocks that had developed a strong following.
When thinking of a this beer, think of a dark hefeweizen (dunkelweizen), brewed to bock strength with a typical hefeweizen yeast. Another name for this beer is a weizendoppelbock.
This beer is also made in the Eisbock style as a specialty beer. You may gently roll or swirl this beer prior to serving to rouse the yeast.
A weizen-bock and bockbier both are rich, full-bodied, malty beers. But thats where the similarities end. A bock is a strong lager which will have a clean lager-like finish. A weizenbock is strong ale and is brewed with a special yeast which leaves lots of dark fruit and spicy notes, especially cloves.
By German law, at least 50% of the grist must be wheat, but it is usually made with 60-70% wheat. This strong German ale uses some specialty malts to give it some color and reduce some of the heaviness.
If a dunkelweizen was made to a bock strength with only wheat and Munich malt, it would end up too heavy and less drinkable. Munich malt is a must have in a weizenbock recipe however.
These beers are usually consumed in the depth of winter as a satisfying winter-warmer or in early spring before the lighter beers are available. Arguably the most popular example is made by Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn and is labeled Schneider Aventinus. It is a dark ruby color and is deep and complex, perfect for relaxing by a fire.
When brewing a weizenbock, remember about the specialty malts such as pale chocolate and crystal 40. These add some color and complexity while keeping the beer in the “drinkable” range. Keep the fermentation temperature in the lower range of an ale (62°F or 17°C) to keep the substantial alcohol from getting hot or solventy. This temperature with the hefeweizen yeast produces a well balanced beer with lots of spicy clove phenolics which are required in this style. If you have had problems when brewing wheat beers and get a stuck mash, add a generous helping of rice hulls to the mash.
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.064 – 1.090 FG: 1.015 – 1.022 IBUs: 15 – 30 SRM: 12 – 25 ABV: 6.5 – 8.0%.
References: Information for this article was adapted from the website Germanbeerinstitute.com, The German Beer Portal for North America, the 2008 and 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, and Brewing Classic Styles 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew, written by Jamil Zainasheff and John J. Palmer.