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Old 06-11-2012, 01:19 AM   #1
Bamsdealer
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Default My First Wit- AG

With a half dozen ales under my belt, I decided to grab some ingredients for my first wit. Plan on brewing this Thursday night. Looking for a little feedback before brew day.

Aiming for 5.5 in the fermenter with a 7 gal in the brewpot.

Typical efficiency is 75-80%

WLP 400 Belgian Wit

3.5 German Wheat
5 German Pilsner
.5 Gilberston Page Raw White Wheat

1oz tett 3.7AA (60)
.5oz saaz 3AA (30)
.5oz saaz 3AA (10)

I grabbed some dried coriander seed and bitter orange peel from the shop and plan on getting some fresh ginger at the grocery store.

Some thoughts before I brew:

I know wits are supposed to be lighter on hops, but I think the saaz spiciness will compliment this brew nicely. Reason for the late addition.

I'm hoping to avoid banana flavors, but am looking for a moderate level of tartness with some spice. Nothing overpowering. Is WLP 400 a good choice for this. I like cleaner tastes in my ales so I've been fermenting at the low end with those. Should I do the same with the wit yeast even though I'm looking for a little tart/spiciness? Like I said, I'd like to avoid banana. Is 68-70 a nice range?

Would irish moss be a waste for a beer that's typically hazy anyway?

Questions on the spices. I've never used any so I could use some guidance. I'm not married to the coriander, but I would like a little grated ginger in there. When should I add these? Flameout? I don't plan on doing a secondary, but could add it after a week in the primary. Thoughts on lemon zest in addition/instead of orange? How would fresh orange zest compare to the dried?

I meant to get some rice hulls, but forgot. Never used them before, but I've heard wheat can clog up a MLT. Thoughts on a thinner mash to compensate?

I wanted some mouthfeel in this brew so I asked what they recommend at the shop and he suggested just a little of the Gilberston Page Raw White Wheat to help with mouthfeel and head retention. Has anyone used this before?

Feedback appreciated.


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Old 06-11-2012, 02:59 AM   #2
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I just did wit with even more wheat on Friday. I don't have stuck sparge issues with malted wheat on my false bottomed cooler, so unless you've had problems in the past, you'll probably be okay whether it's batch or fly. Rice hulls are cheap insurance, but not having them wouldn't hold me back from brewing. YMMV.

Fresh orange/Lemon is good, ditch the bitter orange peel if it's from the lhbs and go with fresh citrus. I use a serrated potato peeler on a 2lb bag of lemons for my last ten gallon batch. Just like in cooking, go for the outer layer and avoid the white pith.

I don't think it's wit without coriander. Ginger's pretty good in wit as an addition, never done it myself, but it's good in redhooks wit (just about the only redhook beer I buy)

I add all the spices and peel with 10 min to go during the boil in a sack and leave them in as I cool with my immersion chiller.

Fermenting wit smells pretty awesome, like lemon pepper. Enjoy!


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Old 06-11-2012, 03:06 AM   #3
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I've never used the wheat product you mentioned, you might want to check out the forums for "cereal mash?"

Edit: just realized its only half a pound...
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:57 AM   #4
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Yeah. He said some people mash entirely with the raw white wheat, but he said half a pound is plenty for a 5 gal batch so I knocked down the wheat malt by 1/2lb.

Your replies were very helpful... thanks. Think the peels off a 5lb bag of oranges and 2lb lemon would be appropriate? I don't have a kitchen scale... yet. Not sure I want to overdo it with ginger, orange, coriander and lemon. I read that whole peppercorns can be nice in a wit as well.

At the very least, fresh peel would be a good reason to make some fresh lemonade and OJ.
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:02 AM   #5
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I'm thinking lemon, cracked coriander with just a few peppercorns and ginger would make a nice flavor profile. I'm thinking omit the orange altogether?
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamsdealer View Post
I'm thinking lemon, cracked coriander with just a few peppercorns and ginger would make a nice flavor profile. I'm thinking omit the orange altogether?
I vote for using lemon AND orange peel with coriander. Skip the ginger.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:17 AM   #7
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The zest of 2-3 oranges and 1-2 lemons should give plenty of flavor. If you add them with ~2 minutes left more of the flavor will remain. The same goes for coriander and ginger. I'd go light of the ginger though, as it can give medicinal flavors, and a little goes a long way. In general I would keep the hop bitterness and flavors down. The style should have subtle soft flavors, mostly derived from the yeast. You'll get a nice light sweetness and tart from the yeast that can be muddled by too much spices and too high a fermentation temperature. I'd mash low at 147-149 to get a dry finish and ferment at 62-65F to keep the esters and banana flavor down. WL400 is a great yeast for the style, but can be a slow fermenter, so be patient. It can produce a huge long lasting krausen, so you will probably need a blowoff tube. It can be 2/3 done in a week and then take the next week to get the last 1/3 finished. You can raise the temp in the last part to help the yeast drop the last few gravity points. Lastly, you'll get some nice wit flavors with more unmalted wheat. I typically use flaked wheat and just throw it in the main mash. Sorry, long post.

Edit: Yes, rice hull would be good. One of the wits I made had a little bit of a stuck sparge. Half pound would be enough.
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Old 06-12-2012, 03:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamsdealer View Post
At the very least, fresh peel would be a good reason to make some fresh lemonade and OJ.
heh, there were 4 bombers of fresh squeezed lemonade from my wittier that magically adapted to margarita mix this weekend

7 Lbs worth is much farther than I've ever pushed the citrus for five gallons.

I might have mentioned, but a stout cheese grater or a sharp, serrated potato peeler are good options. I prefer the latter to minimize the amount of white pith.
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamsdealer View Post
I'm hoping to avoid banana flavors, but am looking for a moderate level of tartness with some spice. Nothing overpowering. Is WLP 400 a good choice for this. I like cleaner tastes in my ales so I've been fermenting at the low end with those. Should I do the same with the wit yeast even though I'm looking for a little tart/spiciness? Like I said, I'd like to avoid banana. Is 68-70 a nice range?
Ferment at the lower temp range to get less banana and more clove flavors. I've never used WLP400, but I'm sure it will give you what you want if you ferment around 67-68.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamsdealer View Post
Would irish moss be a waste for a beer that's typically hazy anyway?
I use Irish Moss in every beer. It will help with hot and cold break, but the wheat in the recipe will still contribute a lot of haze, which is ok.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamsdealer View Post
Questions on the spices. I've never used any so I could use some guidance. I'm not married to the coriander, but I would like a little grated ginger in there. When should I add these? Flameout? I don't plan on doing a secondary, but could add it after a week in the primary. Thoughts on lemon zest in addition/instead of orange? How would fresh orange zest compare to the dried?

I meant to get some rice hulls, but forgot. Never used them before, but I've heard wheat can clog up a MLT. Thoughts on a thinner mash to compensate?

I wanted some mouthfeel in this brew so I asked what they recommend at the shop and he suggested just a little of the Gilberston Page Raw White Wheat to help with mouthfeel and head retention. Has anyone used this before?

Feedback appreciated.
I would go with a little coriander (buy it from an oriental grocery store), a little ginger (maybe candied ginger???), and the zest of 2 lemons, 2 limes, and 2 oranges.

Should make a spicy, slightly fruity beer.

Good luck!
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:39 PM   #10
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You've certainly got a lot of conflicting feedback on this thread... Here's a bit more. We've been trying to hone in a wit recipe as well. Using a microplane we actually zest in 2 lemons at flameout. We also use coriander (which is almost required for the style), chamomile and grains of paradise. The great thing about the style is that it provides a great base for experimentation with spices. The ginger is a great idea IMO. We ferment near 62 degrees for a subdued Belgian funkiness. As for the malt bill we batch sparge with a CPVC manifold and we use almost 50/50 wheat to pils. No stuck sparge issues to report. The whirlfloc for certain helped with our color. There was a certain greyish hue to the brew before we used that. Best of luck on the brew, brother!


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