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Old 04-08-2008, 08:53 PM   #1
sonetlumiere85
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Default Formulating a wit?

Hey guys,


I've been drinking a bunch of Hoegaarden recently, and got to thinking that since I just brewed a Kolsch, a Hefeweizen, and an Oberon clone, it would be neat to look into formulating a recipe for a Wit. In the past I used recipes supplied by Midwest, Northern, or AHS, but this time I think I want to devise my own. I've noticed that up to 50% flaked wheat is mentioned in developing such a recipe. I'm currently limited to brewing with extracts, but I'd be purchasing all the ingredients for the recipe collectively, so cost isn't a huge concern. I was thinking I'd take a variation on the wit formula similar to how wheats became americanized, and I'd appreciate input on that thought as well.

Here's a recipe I'm thinking of:
3 lbs wheat DME
1 lb light or extra light DME
1 lb flaked wheat
8 oz carapils
2 oz Perle pellet hops
Wyeast #3944 Belgian Wheat
coriander, bitter orange peel (boil)
orange zest, lemongrass? (flameout)

Thanks for any help/input!

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Old 04-08-2008, 09:19 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonetlumiere85
Hey guys,


I've been drinking a bunch of Hoegaarden recently, and got to thinking that since I just brewed a Kolsch, a Hefeweizen, and an Oberon clone, it would be neat to look into formulating a recipe for a Wit. In the past I used recipes supplied by Midwest, Northern, or AHS, but this time I think I want to devise my own. I've noticed that up to 50% flaked wheat is mentioned in developing such a recipe. I'm currently limited to brewing with extracts, but I'd be purchasing all the ingredients for the recipe collectively, so cost isn't a huge concern. I was thinking I'd take a variation on the wit formula similar to how wheats became americanized, and I'd appreciate input on that thought as well.

Here's a recipe I'm thinking of:
3 lbs wheat DME
1 lb light or extra light DME
1 lb flaked wheat
8 oz carapils
2 oz Perle pellet hops
Wyeast #3944 Belgian Wheat
coriander, bitter orange peel (boil)
orange zest, lemongrass? (flameout)

Thanks for any help/input!
Wheats became americanized mostly by subbing in american hops and american ale yeast. The recipe you have there is, aside from the lemongrass, pretty Belgian. Not that that's a bad thing.

You could also add some more flaked grains; my recent wit (which is awesome) used flaked wheat, flaked barley and quick oats. I even tossed some wheat flour into the boil to ensure the cloudiness would remain over time.

Otherwise it looks fine, though I wouldn't use the lemongrass if you haven't done a wit before. I always like to get the base style down before I start trying crazy experiments like that---and from what I hear, lemongrass is potent shyte.

If you're using bitter orange peel, forgo the orange zest. You don't want your wit too orangey, and 1/3oz of bitter orange peel is more than enough IMO. Also go with just 1/4oz of coriander and make sure to crush the seeds in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin.

Last but not least, to be true to style, you need a bit of acid in there. Since you're ordering the stuff, go ahead and toss 2oz of sauer (acid) malt into the grain bill. Or you could do what I did and add about 1/2oz of lactic acid to the finished beer right before bottling or kegging. It gives it the requisite zing that is a trademark of the style.

Cheers, and let me know if you have any questions---I'm on a quest to become a Wit Master.
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Old 04-09-2008, 12:49 AM   #3
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The major problem with this recipe is that you can't just steep flaked wheat and get anything out of it. Easy fix though: take the same grains you already have and add 1 lb of 2-row to do a partial mash. Steep the grains at 155 for 30-45 minutes (easiest way to do this is to put your oven on "warm," heat the water on the stove to around 165, put the grains in it, then place the whole pot in the oven. The temp should hold). Then rinse the grains with some sparge water at 170. Sounds kind of complicated, but it's really not any harder than steeping grains, and that way you'll actually get some flavor out of that flaked wheat. Also, that pound of 2-row will bump up the OG closer to where it should be for the style.
The other problem I see is the 2oz of perle. When are you adding them? If you add even an ounce at 60 minutes, assuming 8% AA, I calculate 43 IBU's, which is WAY too high for a Wit and will give you a very unbalanced, bitter beer. If you're set on using perle cut it way down, and don't add much, if any, flavor and aroma additions. If you're willing to buy more hops, try something with a lot lower IBU like saaz or hallertau.

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Old 04-09-2008, 02:25 AM   #4
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Both of these replies are incredibly insightful. I believe I chose Perle because I think I saw it in a similar recipe, but Hallertau/Saaz should be just as easy to get a hand on. I'll plan on doing a partial mash and reading up on that process, thanks for the help, keep the comments coming!

Revised recipe:
3 lbs wheat DME
1 lb light DME
1 lb flaked wheat
1 lb 2-row
8 oz Carapils
2 oz Sauer
1 oz Mt. Hood @ 60 minutes
1 oz Hallertau Select @ 5 minutes
1/4 oz coriander & 1/3 oz bitter orange peel @ 10 minutes
1/2 stalk lemongrass, finely chopped and bruised @ 2 minutes
Wyeast#3944 or 3463 - any advice on this? A blend?

Should I up the extract volumes or perhaps use pilsener malt instead?

Thanks for all the helpful comments so far.

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Old 04-09-2008, 04:35 AM   #5
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Since you're doing extract why not simplify and just use:

3 lbs Wheat DME
3 lbs Light DME
3 AAs of hops for 60 mins (Perle will work)
orange and coriander per your recipe
Belgium Wit yeast

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Old 04-09-2008, 05:21 AM   #6
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I would drop the 5 min. addition.. A wit really only needs bittering hops and enough to cut some of the sweetness. Personally I would not use Carapils in a wit. Glad to see your not over spicing it which I think a lot of people do.. You can get a lot of character from the yeast by raising the temp after 24 hours of fermentation, I let mine get up into the upper 70's by the end of fermentation. I also like to throw in some simple sugar to dry it out some.

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Old 04-09-2008, 07:43 AM   #7
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Styrian golding is a good hop for belgians also. But since it's only a bittering hop it doesn't matter much what hop you use if you boil 60mins. If you have perle, I'd use em. .25oz 8% perle for 60mins will give you 15ibu's in a 2 gallon boil of 6lbs of extract.

I'd go with HB_99's recipe, maybe add some table sugar(like a pound) to dry it up a tad. (simple is best)

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