a hoegaarden story:
It was around this time last year, (ok, april...) that a friend and I got to spend a few days in London, before we were to fly out to France. Anyways, having been acquainted with cask-ale the year before in the states (our local Middle Ages Brewing co puts out a nice selection) I set out to find a pub that had a good selection of real ale. After lots of walking about and many side trips into random pubs to try the local brew, my friend and I finally found a pub that had cask-ale and a large selection of draught beer that I had never heard of. So after a few pints of the warm "real-ale" I decided to take a break and try a beer that I had never had. I ordered a Hoegaarden.
Having tried Hoegaarden, I was hooked. For the next few days I drank the stuff at every possible opportunity and while in France continued to do the same. (Though, i have since realized that there are far superior witbiers out there)
A few days later I was at a bar in Nantes France, when I met a guy from Texas while talking about Hoegaarden, and came to find out he was a homebrewer and had worked abroad in the brewing industry. At that time my homebrewing experience was limited to a Mr. Beer 'Canadian pils' kit - that I royally f-ed up. Anyhow, we got talking about homebrewing and he told me how I could brew something similar to Hoegaarden. So interested in doing so, I had him write me down a list of ingredients and things I needed, ect. One of the ingredients: Unmalted wheat berries.
Months later and back in the States, I tried to brew the recipe he had given me. It contained pale malt, flaked wheat, raw wheat berries, Saaz / East K. Golding hops, and Coriander / Bitter Orange peel. Though, he didn’t give me the specifics amounts of each. Undeterred, I got the ingredients together and after reading a few books on brewing and lots of help from my LHBS, brewed my first ‘real’ beer.
The result was very similar to Hoegaarden in everything but the aftertaste. The color was nearly spot on; it had a wonderful head and good flavor. The only downside, the aftertaste was god-awful. Like eating yeast sludge.
So yes, I imagine unmalted wheat should be included in the recipe – and I think my next brew might just have to be a Hoegaarden clone.