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Old 07-28-2008, 06:28 AM   #1
ChewUrBrew
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Default Belgian Wit - First time questions

So i brew my first Ag batch 4 days ago. I'm very new to brewing so i was hoping you could comment on anything i might have done wrong or that i could do better! There was a couple of questions i wanted to ask as well, but onto the brew

****WARNING**** This is going to be long, I apologize in advance.

Belgian wit ale

5 lbs. white wheat
4 lbs.Belgian pilsen
1 lbs. Belgian aromatic
2 lbs. flaked wheat
8 oz flaked oat

.5 oz coriander seed (crushed)
two whole peals from Clementine oranges

1oz. Kent Golding's
1oz. saaz (us)

WLP400

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Using a converted igloo ice chest I mashed the grains with 4 gallons @152 deg.for 60 Min's. Sparging w/ 2 gallons @ 160 deg (i was shooting for 170 but missed )

Taking us to the first question..... so i take a sg reading and BAM!! It's off the chart (at least my refractometer's chart)

OG @ 1.080-90 I couldn't tell because it dosent go above 1.075(well it dose but there are no lines or num's so you have to guess) so i poured 2 gallons into the pot to try and bring it down a bit. But i was still confused about my wort @ 1.080 ish...

So i called an lhbs and he said "sounds like you have a BIG beer" so feeling reassured that it wasn't to bad a thing i kept on with the brew...

Boiling the wort for an hour then adding the Kent hops(no hop sack)for 60 Min's. dropping the saaz(no hop sack), coriander seed and peels for 15 Min's.

Set the pot in an ice bath for 60-90 Min's till it hit 70 deg. Gave it a good 5 min shake. I noticed that it wasn't all the way full so i decided to top it off (this is where i made a mistake)I don't know if it was just to late or i need another cup of coffee but i toped my 70 deg batch off with a gallon of boiling water. I didn't think that doing this would raise it much , but it raised it up around 90 deg I waited a bit and pitched. SG 1.078

I brought the temp down to optimal fermentation range (70) and have been holding for 2 days

By morning it was bubbling away and started to get pretty wild. Till today (days) it has slowed to 1 bubble every 30 sec.

so my questions are....

1. Is an og of 1.085 or higher normal for this beer and what is it going to make my beer like?

2. Is it OK to just drop the hop pellets in at the right times and don't bother with the bags?

3. How is the gallon of boiling water going to effect my beer!!!! Will this cause the oxygen to give off flavors?

Well that's it for my first AG. As far as i can tell i achieved great efficiency(mostly due to the crushed grain, it was crushed well) BUT i might have screwed the whole thing at the end there....leason learned.

As for any helpfull advice to make my next batch even better, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for taking the time!



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Old 07-28-2008, 07:00 AM   #2
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Quote:

so my questions are....

1. Is an og of 1.085 or higher normal for this beer and what is it going to make my beer like?

2. Is it OK to just drop the hop pellets in at the right times and don't bother with the bags?

3. How is the gallon of boiling water going to effect my beer!!!! Will this cause the oxygen to give off flavors?
Before I say anything...I just want to repeat the mantra: RDWHAHB! If you don't have one handy, grab a store bought. At the bare minimum, you've learned a lot about brewing all grain, and will have some great beer to show for it!

1. Wow, that's a lot of grain for a 5 gallon batch! Based on those numbers, with 75% efficiency, you would end up with and OG of 1.070. Style for a Belgian Wit is 1.042 - 1.055. In short...you're going to end up with a high alcohol content Wit! 7.7% to be exact.

2. Correct, bags are not necessary for pellets but make the cleanup a lot easier.

3. The boiling water won't have a big effect on the beer, and oxygenation at this stage is a good thing! Aeration is an important part of preparing the wort for fermentation, and especially in the case of "BIG" beer like yours.

For future recipes, I'd recommend the BeerSmith brewing software. It helps a lot when it comes to figuring out how much grain is necessary in a recipe, and what the style guidelines are for the style you're brewing. In addition, it's just a good all around program with many tools that make brewing all grain much easier.


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Old 07-28-2008, 09:24 AM   #3
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I think 2 heads summed it up pretty well, it will be high alcohol, but it will be fine, congrats on your first ag, let us know how it turns out.

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Old 07-28-2008, 11:39 AM   #4
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+1 to brew software. I use Pro Mash and I really like it.

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Old 07-28-2008, 01:06 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ChewUrBrew View Post

.i toped my 70 deg batch off with a gallon of boiling water. I didn't think that doing this would raise it much , but it raised it up around 90 deg I waited a bit and pitched. SG 1.078
1. Is an og of 1.085 or higher normal for this beer and what is it going to make my beer like?
Well, it looks like your OG is 1.078, which is a bit high but not too bad. If you're concerned about an 8% wit, you could always add some water (boiled and cooled) to dilute it a bit. You don't have much in the way of hops to "balance" this beer, but it still should be very tasty- malty and tasty.

Sounds like you did fine for your first AG. The only change I'd recommend is to cool the wort much faster. More than an hour is way too long- a wort chiller might be a good investment for you. In a wit, clarity isn't a concern at all but it future beers it will be and 90 minutes or so to cool gives you a chance for some nasties to take hold, and you won't get a cold break. Just my $.02!
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:09 PM   #6
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Sounds like you possibly made a 10 gallon recipe for 5 gallons?

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Old 07-29-2008, 02:18 AM   #7
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Im not that experinced but looks to me like you didn't use enough water. You mashed with 4g and sparged with 2g. After grain absorbtion you would only have like 3g of wort...now my inexperince here but isn't first runnings higher because you get more sugar less water? 2nd that is a huge grain bill!! Congrats though i'd drink it im sure

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Old 07-29-2008, 02:28 AM   #8
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boiled water shouldn't contain any oxygen. it all gets boiled out.

you're fine...i'm PLANNING to make a high gravity wit soon

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Old 07-29-2008, 08:26 AM   #9
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Wow - that is a lot of grains for a 5gal wit, but I love high gravity - high octane final products.
I think yours answers have already been posted but to summarize from my point of view.
1- Nothing wrong with high octane beers, hopefully it will come out very wheat-y and smooth.
2- I use pellet hops with no bags, I "attempt" to let the wort settle before racking to the primary but I have never been able to taste a difference in taste even if I just pour all the crud (trub) in. (*On bad brew days*)
3-I think you under sparged, volume control is the first thing to get down. Mark your brew pot, or you stirring spoon to basic gallon marks will help.
Short answer, Relax. As long as you kept everything clean I'm sure the final product will be great, and you know what? You made it.

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Old 07-29-2008, 01:58 PM   #10
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You absolutely didn't sparge enough. I wonder if that was motivated by a small brew kettle or that you just didn't realize. You should have sparged with about 4 gallons for a total preboil volume of about 6.5 gallons.



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