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Old 08-29-2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default Belgian Wit tastes thin...little body

Malt Extract:
Wheat 6 lbs.
Candi Sugar 0.5 lbs.

Grain Bill:
CaraPils 7 oz
Belgian Aromatic 1 oz

Hopping Schedule:
#1 Saaz (4.2%) 1.0 oz 60 min
#2 Saaz 0.5 oz 5 min
#3 Coriander 0.7 oz 5 min
#4 Bitter Orange Peel 0.5 oz 5 min

Starting Gravity:

Fermentation Temp:
65-75 degrees F.

or White Labs WLP400 Belgian Wit Beer

Made a yeast starter, had GREAT fermentation (even needed my first blowoff valve), and let this sit for 20 days in the primary before kegging.

The head is great, carbonation is fine now that it has sat in the keg under pressure for almost 2 weeks. The flavor is good...a little less robust than I would have liked, but you can smell the yeast really well, as well as the orange and coriander.

The problem is the body. The beer is a bit thin...and carbonation falls flat pretty quickly. There is little body to the beer overall. I'm wondering...is the recipe just too simple and not enough to get the body a little bigger? Could the water be a problem? I use LA tap water...I'm wondering if its just not good for lighter beers, or maybe there just wasnt enough hops to cover up how thin the beer was.

It was an extract recipe, boiling about 3 gallons and topping up with distilled water. I'm moving to all grain next batch so this will be my last extract, but I'm always looking on how to improve my brewing technique.

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Old 08-29-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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i brewed close to this recipe couple weeks ago and have the same complaint. can anyone chime in on this? i was thinking water profile or like you said no adjuncts to add body for the wheat.
I used 6.6pds wheat DME 1.5oz of Wakatu (NZ hallertau) 1 ounce of peel half bitter half sweet and 3/4 ounce of corriander i also used WLP550 love the phenols it gives off

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Old 08-29-2012, 07:45 PM   #3
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Most Wit recipes I have come across use about 50/50 barley-to-wheat with the majority a little heavier on the barley. The one I used from BCS was 5.5# 2-row, 5# flaked wheat, 1# flaked oats, .25# Munich. It is still in primary (2.5 weeks and still some Krausen) but it is tasting quite good. I think you may just need some barley to help that body.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:55 AM   #4
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Looking at the OP's recipe, the candi sugar is a definite contributor. A simple sugar like that will ferment out completely, drying out the beer. It's normal for a tripel or saison, but not in a wit.

Also note that many wheat extracts are actually a blend of barley and wheat. Northern Brewer's is 65/35 wheat/barley for example. Muntons is also a blend. I don't think barley is the answer. Wheat malt will give body and mouthfeel better than barley actually. However a classic wit recipe has about 50% unmalted flaked wheat or oats. You can't do that with purely extract brewing.

With extract brewing, malto-dextrin is probably more suited than steeping carapils. You can steep carapils, but I don't think it has as much of an effect compared to when mashed. You could do a partial mash by adding a pound of 2-row or wheat malt to your steeping bag. But then keep your water volume to a gallon to encourage the enzymatic activity and hold it for30-60 minutes between 150 and 156. But if you're willing to do that, then might as well also add a pound of flaked wheat or oats to get a step closer to the real thing.
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