Beer Review: Spike (Belgian Wit)



Reviews are done by Jim Matt, our Head Brewer, who is also a veteran FoBAB judge, GABF judge, and BJCP Master judge.

Spike (4.5% | 15 IBU) is our Belgian wit beer brewed with Mandarina Bavaria hops. It's infused with sweet orange peel making it light, bright and perfect for your summery excursions. 

Malts: 2-Row, Wheat

Hops: Magnum, Mandarina Bavaria

Yeast: Celis White Yeast

Special ingredients: Sweet orange peel

What’s the origin of the Belgian Wit?

Belgian Wit beers were first believed to be brewed around the 15th century by Monks. Traditionally barley, oats and wheat from fertile soils in Europe were used before hops became a major ingredient in beer. Traditionally, raw wheat had been used up to 50% of the grist, but raw wheat needs special handling (gelatinization), so we use malted wheat in Spike. Also, bitter orange peel and coriander are often used in traditional Wit beers. We eschew the coriander, go with sweet orange peel and follow it up with a dose of Mandarina Bavaria hops in the whirlpool, which has a very orange-like character.

How did Spike come to be?

Spike was originally knows as Spikelet, and it was a hoppy wheat in the core beers of Rhinegeist in 2013. We found that the people who enjoyed wheat beers weren't as high on Spike. In 2014, we changed Spike to be more of an American Wheat with fewer hops (35 IBU instead of 45), but Spike still seemed to fall a bit flat in popularity. Finally, in 2015, we brewed Spike as a Belgian style Wit beer and it seemed to finally hit the chord we were looking for.

What are the notable characteristics of Spike?

Spicy phenolics, moderate fruity flavors, clean finish, creamy mouthfeel and a refreshingly easy to drink for the summer.

What makes you want to drink this beer?

It is lower in alcohol and has that refreshingly dry finish which complements the warmer months well.

Appearance: Straw color with slight haze, medium carbonation and persistent thick head with lacing.

Smell: Spicy, peppery phenolics with a hint of Coriander and Chinese 5-spice. Light hints of orange from orange peel and Mandarina Bavaria hops.

Taste: Low hop bitterness, slight wheat malt “bite”, complex spicy and orange/citrus flavors. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body with a creamy mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

What foods would pair well with Spike?

Fruit Salad or mussels steamed in Spike.

Ideal glassware for Spike?

I'd go with a Belgian style tulip glass.

Published on by Rhinegeist.