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Old 07-11-2012, 11:58 AM   #1
Hophead138
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Default Belgian wit question...

I Brewed a Belgian Wit last wednsday. I was planning on racking it into a secondary fermentor withing one week, yet the fermentation still seems pretty active. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? The original gravity was about 15-20 points higher than the recipe called for. It was my first all grain batch. I used a cooler mash/lauter system. I maintained a temp of 152 F for 1 hour sparged at 168 F until i had six gallons. Boiled for an hour. Just wondering A. why was the OG higher than expected when i managed to hit all the target temps for the recipe. And B. is it normal for a fermentation to be really active for over a week?

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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To answer your first question: How much beer went into the fermentor after the boil, was the volume less than desired meaning a more concentrated wort?

As for the fermentation, let it go and do not transfer until you have verified fermentation is complete by taking at least two gravity readings a couple days apart. Since you overshot the OG you have a bigger beer which may take longer to fully ferment out, just be patient.

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:07 PM   #3
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A. you did things right and got great efficiency and/or should have collected 6.5 gallons and boiled for 1hr for a 5.5 batch in the fermenter..
B. depends on the yeast and temperature..
all in all I would warm it up for a couple days to see if the FG drops but would skip secondary and bottle/keg at 3 weeks

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:07 PM   #4
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thanks.. o was intending for a five gallon batch. and i had roughly five gallons in the fermentor. I didnt think that i boiled off more than a gallon. it was a pretty big diffrence in gravities though. I have it in my brew log but i believe i was going for somewhere around the 10.50 mark and i hit close to 10.70.
is it possible i extracted more fermentable sugers than i had thought from the grain bill during the mash?

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:46 PM   #5
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I made a Belgian wit recently, and it was still bubbling away 4 weeks later. I had a starting gravity of 1.055, so it wasn't even all that high to start with. Turned out great, though!

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:47 PM   #6
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As for point B: Belgian Wit yeasts are known to have a persistent krauesen, even after fermentation has stopped. Don't take those visual cues as a indicator of fermentation....relay on your hydrometer readings. My bet is that is it done at one week.

Also, if there was ever a beer style to skip secondary on and to be consumed fresh, it is the Belgian Wit. If it is at FG, bottle/keg that sucker in all of its hazy, cloudy goodness. There really isn't anything to "age-out" in this beer, unless you had some super hot fermentation temps. I usually have my Wits in the keg no later than 10 days of brewing.

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Old 07-11-2012, 12:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Susurro View Post
I made a Belgian wit recently, and it was still bubbling away 4 weeks later. I had a starting gravity of 1.055, so it wasn't even all that high to start with. Turned out great, though!
See my points below...4 weeks is a LONG time for any beer, much less a Wit.
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Old 07-11-2012, 12:53 PM   #8
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Yeah so maybe ill take a gravity reading tonite and plan on hopefully kegging it this weekend. Just wondering how i could hit the target OG next time around. Less grains? less mash time same grain bill? This is a scenario that somewhat baffles me. I used the same grains as the recipe got all the temps down perfect and still had the intended 5 gallons after boil. What did i do wrong or what could i change to get to the same OG as the recipe? If im not mistaking the style guidlines for a belgian wit have it at about 5% abv. If i hit the FG that the recipe called for with the higher OG im probobly looking at around 6% abv, not to mention im sure the extra work is going to impart more yeast flavor than i had anticipated. Im not concerned with how it will taste, im sure its gunna be awesome either way, would just like the knowledge to be able to have more precise control over future brews.

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Old 07-11-2012, 01:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hophead138 View Post
Yeah so maybe ill take a gravity reading tonite and plan on hopefully kegging it this weekend. Just wondering how i could hit the target OG next time around. Less grains? less mash time same grain bill? This is a scenario that somewhat baffles me. I used the same grains as the recipe got all the temps down perfect and still had the intended 5 gallons after boil. What did i do wrong or what could i change to get to the same OG as the recipe? If im not mistaking the style guidlines for a belgian wit have it at about 5% abv. If i hit the FG that the recipe called for with the higher OG im probobly looking at around 6% abv, not to mention im sure the extra work is going to impart more yeast flavor than i had anticipated. Im not concerned with how it will taste, im sure its gunna be awesome either way, would just like the knowledge to be able to have more precise control over future brews.
As mentioned, you got great efficiency, probably more than what the recipe was calculated for and so you got a higher OG. In addition if you boiled off more than anticipated and got a little less than the 5 gallons that too will increase your OG as I previously stated.

If you use software you can re-scale the recipe to account for the better efficiency which will reduce the grain bill to reflect the better efficiency. For example, most recipes assume 75% but if you got 80-85% than the OG will be greater. Conversely, if you only achieved 65-70% efficiency than your OG would have been lower than anticipated
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