Hoegaarden is one of my all time favorites, and I was amazed at how close this came to the Belgian Wit classic. Biggest difference is that Hoegaarden is listed as 4.9% ABV and mine came out to about 5.3% which is okay with me. This was my first partial mash attempt, and my 8th overall home brew - so I'm still relatively new to the brewing game. In other words, if I can pull this off, so can you!
There's a hundred possible variations on all of these steps, but here's what I did and had great results.
4 LB Pale Malt US 2 Row
4 oz Biscuit Malt
4 oz White Wheat Malt
6 oz Rolled Oats
Partial Mashing Check DeathBrewer's PM instructions for a great method if you're new to it
+Start heating 2 gallons of water to 160 degrees
+Let oven sit on "warm" for 5 minutes, then turn off oven
+Add grains to 2 gallons of water in strainer bag @ 160 degrees
+Cover pot and place in warmed (but NOT hot) oven for 60 mins to sustain temp
+At about 20 mins left, start heating an additional 1.75 gallons of water to 175 degrees but don't let it get higher than that
+When your 60 mins is up, remove pot from oven - my mash temp was 154 after checking but don't worry if your temp goes lower
+Pull out your grain bag and let it drip back into the pot. Let it drain as much as you can, but the bag will be heavy so watch out.
+Place the drained bag into your 1.75 gallons of 175 degree sparge water and dunk it in and out as much as you can - I did this for about 10 minutes - then let the bag drain out in a colander with a bowl under it. Also, I squeezed the bag in the colander to get all the best sugars out. I know some people advise against squeezing, but as long as you don't go insane with it, you won't extract tannins. Also, watch out cause the bag will be HOT
+Add all your sparge water to the initial 2 gallons and start heating to a boil
+Give the wort a quick taste, and it should be sweet. If the wort is minimally sweet or if it's starchy, your mash temps may have been too low
- your original boil size should be around 3 gallons after grain absorption
+Add 3 LB of light wheat DME as it's heating up
+Should be at a rolling boil in about 25-30 mins
+Plan for a 60 minute boil
Now we're boiling
+Add 1.5 oz Saaz hops (3.3% AA) for 60 mins
+Add 0.5 oz Saaz hops (3.3% AA) for 45 mins
with 15 mins left in boil
+Add .5 LB of light wheat DME (if you want slightly lower OG + an ABV closer to commercial Hoegaarden, you can skip this DME addition)
+Add zest of 4 fresh valencia oranges (try not to get the white pith in there when zesting)
+Add 1/4 tsp of powdered coriander (many people suggest crushed coriander seeds, and usually around 1 oz of those if you want)
After 60 mins boil is over
+Make sure EVERYTHING is sanitized now!
+Cool wort in an ice bath (mine cooled to under 100 degrees in about 15 minutes after 2 ice baths)
+Place your strainer bag (from the mash) around the fermenter bucket to strain out the orange peel, hops, etc...
+Pour the cooled wort into the fermenter
+Lift the strainer bag out of the fermenter and let it drip back into the bucket but don't squeeze the bag cause your hands are filthy
+Top off the fermenter to 5 gallons with cold spring water - I like to top off with refrigerated spring water. A 2.5 gallon container will usually be enough to get you there
+Stir the 5 gallons well so the cold water mixes in good
+Grab a cup of wort for the OG sample (should be close to 1.054)
+When your wort gets to under 80 degrees it's safe to add the yeast
+Make sure the vial of WLP 400 is at room temp, or close to the wort's temp. You should dunk the vial in sanitizer, or spray it with sanitizer.
+Open the vial over your fermenter, and use caution because it will probably spray out a bit like a soda bottle.
+Stir vigorously for a few minutes to mix the yeast well and get oxygen whipped into the wort
+Add your fermenter's lid and use an airlock with sanitizer - CAUTION - many people recommend a blow off tube because WLP 400 can be a monster. I was okay with just an airlock, but you should have a blow off tube ready to go just in case
Primary for 15 days
+1st week temp around 66-70
+2nd week temp around 70-74 to ensure the yeast finishes up with a bang
+My airlock smelled amazingly good for the first few days, then it smelled pretty awful for the remaining time. Don't worry if it smells bad, all you airlock sniffers out there (me included)
+I took a hydrometer sample at 8 days and was at 1.014 - so everything went quickly for me, but some people report WLP 400 working very slow so give it a check after 1 week and see where you're at. If you're above 1.025 after 1 week you may have stuck fermentation.
+Also watch out for krausen that's thick, creamy, and VERY persistent. Don't be afraid to gently swirl or rock your fermenter to knock the krausen down and rouse the yeast back up.
+Mix 5 oz priming sugar with 2.5 cups water - boil that for 5 minutes
+Add sugar water to bottling bucket
+Rack beer over that and add to sanitizes bottles, cap with sanitized caps
Tried a bottle after only 4 days
+About 80% carbed
+Nice 1 inch head
+Added orange slice
+Did I just make a frickin' Hoegaarden?