Historical Beer (Lichtenhainer) ()

Style Characteristics

SRM Range:3 - 6
IBU Range:5 - 12
OG Range:1 - 1
FG Range:1 - 1
ABV Range:4% - 5%

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A sour, smoked, lower-gravity historical German wheat beer. Complex yet refreshing character due to high attenuation and carbonation, along with low bitterness and moderate sourness.

Style History:

Originating in Lichtenhain, in Thüringen (central Germany). Height of popularity was towards the end of the 1800s, and was widely available throughout Thüringen. Like a pre-1840 Berliner Weisse.


Moderately strong fruity flavor, possibly lemons or apples. Moderate intensity, clean lactic tartness (no funk). Similar smoky character as aroma (dry wood fire), medium strength. Dry finish, with acidity and smoke in the aftertaste. Low bitterness; the acidity is providing the balance, not hops. Fresh, clean palate and slightly puckery aftertaste. The wheat character is on the low side; the smoke and acidity are more prominent in the balance. The lemony-tart/green apple flavor is strongest in the finish, with smoke a close second. Complex.


Moderately strong fresh smoky aroma, light hints of sourness, medium-low fruity esters, possibly apples or lemons, moderate bready-grainy malt. The smoke character is stronger than the bready notes, and the smoke has a 'dry' character, like the remnants of an old fire, not a 'greasy' smoke.


Tall off-white head, rocky and persistent. Deep yellow to light gold color. Fair clarity, may be somewhat hazy.


Served young. Smoke and sour is an unusual combination that is not for everyone.


Smoked barley malt, wheat malt, lactobacillus, top-fermenting yeast. Grists vary, but the wheat would typically be 30-50%.


In the same general historical lower-alcohol top-fermenting central European wheat beer family as Gose, Grodziskie, and Berliner weisse, has elements of all of them but having its own unique balance -- sour and smoke is not found in any of the other beers. Not as acidic as Berliner weisse, probably more like a smoked Gose without coriander and salt, or a Grodziskie with Gose-like acidity.

Commercial Styles: