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Old 11-06-2012, 09:52 PM   #1
AustinFromTexas
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Yesterday was bottling day for my 2nd brew ever and I'm very pleased with how my beer has turned out so far! This is the hefty sample I allotted myself to sip on while bottling it up:


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It's very sweet and fruity, with notes of brown sugar and just a light bite of ginger on the finish- very tasty and drinkable which is great! However, the recipe I followed was an extract Belgian wit recipe... As you can plainly see from the pic my beer looks NOTHING like a wit and def has some flavors to it I hadn't planned on (namely fruit and brown sugar). I don't think I "ruined" my beer by any means, it tastes fantastic, but I'm rather curious about why it came out so differently from what I had intended. I'll list the recipe and then the steps I took up to the point of bottling and hopefully I can get some feedback from you experienced guys as to what would have been more optimal for it to have come out more like a wit.

The recipe:

Preboil:
6 gal water

Boil:
6.6 lbs 40%wheat / 60% barley LME (75 mins)
Or
3.3 lbs 100% wheat LME + 3.3 lbs light pilsner LME (75 mins)
.75 oz tettnanger hops (60 mins)
.75 oz Saaz hops (60 mins)
.25 oz Saaz hops (end of boil)
.25 oz crushed coriander (end of boil)
.25 oz bitter orange peel (end of boil)
Pinch of "secret spice" (end of boil)

Fermentation:
Wyeast 3944 Belgian wit

It's a pretty simple and straightforward recipe. Here's how I prepared it, following John Palmers online text as my guide:

Preboil:
I boiled 3 gallons of water and then poured in my fermenter to cool. I then boiled the remaining 3 gallons.

Boil:
I added in 6.6 pounds of Briess wheat malt (60%wheat / 40% barley) and boiled for 15 mins.
I added both the tettnanger and Saaz bittering hops.
For a stronger spicy bite at the finish I tossed in the aroma hops and spices at 10 mins left of the boil, and I upped the orange peel and coriander to .5 oz instead of .25 oz. For the "secret spice" i used grated fresh ginger, which I guesstimated was about .25 oz.

Fermentation:
I ice bathed the wort to 80 degrees, splashed it into the fermenter (leaving as much solids as I could in the pot), pitched my yeast, and gently stirred a few times before closing the lid and storing it away to my closet where it sat between 68-72 degrees for 2 weeks.

And now we come to bottling day, the krausen had dropped and the beer smelt deliciously sweet. But somehow it turned out dark amber in color and had surprising notes of brown sugar. The only readily apparent taste coming through (that I had intended) was the touch of ginger on the finish. Not a bad ale by any means, but certainly NOT a Belgian wit.

I feel like i did everything right, except for maybe have taken a one or two peeks inside the bucket to check on it during fermentation. The only other thing that I can really think of is I possibly didn't let it sit in the fermenter enough? I'm guessing I should've given it another week or 2 in the primary before attempting to bottle it. Other than that I really have no clue how the beer could've turned out so vastly different from what the recipe said it would be..

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:05 PM   #2
AustinFromTexas
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And another question about carbing: I read somewhere about co2 not integrating fully into the beer until its been fridged for a week. The recipe said that the beer should be ready to drink in 2 weeks... Does that mean 2 weeks at room temp and 1 week in the fridge, or 1 week at room temp and 1 week I the fridge? My last brew I didn't fridge at all (except before drinking it) and it didn't come out vey carbed... I thought it was because I did't use enough conditioning pellets!

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:39 PM   #3
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Thats wierd, having never used this malt combo its hard to say...

It almost looks like it wasnt the right LME? But like i said ive never used it, but i cant imagine Briess selling a wheat malt that looks more like a Amber.

As for carbing, keep them out for atleast 2 weeks. Then i'd start cycling bottles into the fridge 2-3 at a time sampling each day until the carbonation hits the level you want, then put them all in. Leave the others out at 68-70.

Since its a wheat beer it tastes better while young, as opposed to a ale that would only get better with age.

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:42 PM   #4
EnjoyGoodBeer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinFromTexas
And another question about carbing: I read somewhere about co2 not integrating fully into the beer until its been fridged for a week. The recipe said that the beer should be ready to drink in 2 weeks... Does that mean 2 weeks at room temp and 1 week in the fridge, or 1 week at room temp and 1 week I the fridge? My last brew I didn't fridge at all (except before drinking it) and it didn't come out vey carbed... I thought it was because I did't use enough conditioning pellets!
Keep it at room temp for 2-4 weeks, but by all means its your beer drink it. I would not fridge it till after 3 to 4 weeks. The fridge will slow down bottle conditioning.

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 10:56 PM   #5
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Sounds like a delicious beer.

LME + 75minute boil = high SRM
fermentation temps of 68-72 = fruity notes.
Colder = more CO2 in solution

If you really want to drink it in two weeks then ferment 4 days, bottle for 8 days, fridge for 2 days, but that is really pushing it. You really want it to sit above 65 after the fermentation has completed for at least a couple of days. If it was a hot fermentation and you don't want fruit flavors, let it sit longer before bottling. Two weeks in bottles will ensure that enough CO2 is produced. You need at least 2 days in the fridge for a 2 volumes of carbonation. It will be better with a week in the fridge.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:14 PM   #6
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I think woodlandbrew is spot on, 75 minute boil is going to darken the color. I think the fern temp is the taste culprit, Belgian yeasts when the get warm are going to throw out fruit tastes. It may have come out with a high FG, giving it some sweet flavor, especially if you think it didn't ferment long enough. Did you take a FG reading?

 
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodlandBrew View Post
Sounds like a delicious beer.

LME + 75minute boil = high SRM
fermentation temps of 68-72 = fruity notes.
Colder = more CO2 in solution
+1. There is really no reason to boil an extract batch longer than the first hop addition. For partial boils you might also want to read about late addition technique to avoid the maillard reactions and carmelization that are most likely giving you the dark color and brown sugar taste.

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Old 11-07-2012, 12:22 AM   #8
AustinFromTexas
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Thanks for the great responses! My intent was to brew this beer for thanksgiving and I actually think the way it turned out will pair much better with our turkey day feast than the planned Belgian wit would, considering the fruitiness and brown sugar flavors of the beer. Based off what I've learned from the responses you've given I have just enough time to let it condition at room temp for 2 weeks and then let it fridge for a few days until tday. I'm confident it will suit my purposes exceedingly well (something tasty to get toasted on while stuffing face with excellent homecooked food)

I'm definitely gonna try this recipe again as the wit is def a favorite style of mine! Next time I'll try it with just a 60 min boil and I'll def look into the late addition technique as well. I also think that giving it a month to ferment in primary is a good idea too, just from what I've seen from various posts on this site. Unfortunately I didn't plan ahead enough in time- if I start my Christmas brew this week I should have enough time to give both fermentation and carbing the time they deserve!

 
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Old 11-07-2012, 12:32 AM   #9
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As was mentioned, boiling extract in a small amount of water for 75 minutes means it will have lots of maillard reactions, and darken considerably.

Next time, add the majority of the extract at flame out. That will preserve the light color, plus reduce the maillard reactions and not give you a cooked extract taste (that "brown sugar taste" you mentioned).

You only need to boil the water and hops for as long as your longest hops time. In your recipe, that is 60 minutes. So add 2 pound of extract, more or less, at that time (one pound of extract per gallon of water is a good ratio) and hop the same way. At flame out, stir in the rest of the extract well and then begin cooling.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
AustinFromTexas
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Ok so I've already bought the ingredients to do this recipe again and am going to give it another go this weekend using the suggestions you've provided. To reduce the fruitiness of the beer at what temperature should I ferment it at?

 
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