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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Making a Wit, dried orange peel or fresh?
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Old 01-08-2009, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default Making a Wit, dried orange peel or fresh?

I'm making my first wit, and thought I might use fresh orange peel instead of the LHBS stuff. I cook a lot, and I'm always trying to use the best and freshest ingredients, but does the same apply here? Also, how do you get bitter orange peel as opposed to sweet orange peel? My guess would be that there is more pith(the white stuff) in the bitter orange peel.

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Old 01-08-2009, 08:31 PM   #2
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I think that the bitter vs sweet peel is dependant on the variety of orange.

I tried fresh and think that it would have worked really well had it not been for the fact that I really underestimated the number of oranges that I would need.

I have heard of people using a mix of citrus such as orange, tangarine, grapefruit etc.

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Old 01-08-2009, 08:36 PM   #3
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I do a lot of wits and like the results using fresh. A PITA, but worth it. The trick is to get the largest oranges you can to get more-per-unit.

For a 11 gallon batch, I tossed in 7-8 ounces of fresh zest. It took about 9 large oranges and the pile was about the size of a grapefruit.

Something else that will give your wit a subtle, soft complexity is to toss in 2 or 3 chamomile tea back with 5 minutes left in the boil.

Remember that orange, coriander and other aroma flavor additives need to be added with no more than 10 minutes left in the boil. The adage is that if you can smell it in the boil...it's boiling away.

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Old 01-08-2009, 08:41 PM   #4
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I love brewing my Belgian Wit, and I have switched to using fresh orange peel, I grind the skin down, but I do not get into the pith (white part).
For a 10 gallon batch I will use 2 oz with 10 min left in the boil, and an additional 1 oz in the secondary, like a dry hop.

The orange flavor comes out very well, but not over powering.

I would also like to take this opportunity, to caution you, to be VERY careful when grinding your coriander. I only use 1/2 oz for 10 gallons, and when I crack my coriander, I like to get them into halves, or sometimes 1/4 pieces, anything beyond that can overpower the beer.
Hopefully I am not telling you something that you already know.
I also throw in 1/2 oz of cracked pepper corns, it really adds a nice bite, and flavor to accompany the coriander.
I have my recipe under my name if you want to take a look.

Hope this helps,

No matter how much money you THINK you are saving by brewing beer, you are still just pissing money away
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Old 01-08-2009, 10:59 PM   #5
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I'm probably going to be the lone voice crying in the wilderness, but...

If you want traditional Witbier, like Hoegaarden or the classic Celis White, use dried bitter Curacao peel - the stuff you get in LHBS. That's what went into those beers, not tons of pithless fresh peel. I don't brew Witbier with fresh zest, because that's not how the benchmarks are made and I want my Witbier to be as close to the benchmarks as humanly possible.*

But the general consensus here on HBT is to use fresh. I suggest you experiment with both and see which you prefer. I've tried fresh and find I prefer Witbier with the dried peel. YMMV.



* I also have the better part of a pound each of dried bitter and sweet peel in my stock. So I might be a little biased.


Fort Christian Brewpub
St Croix, US Virgin Islands

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