Refining the Belgian Wit - Home Brew Forums

Register Now!
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Refining the Belgian Wit

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 01-17-2009, 02:41 PM   #1
tagz
Recipes 
 
Jan 2008
Posts: 2,039
Liked 273 Times on 192 Posts



For me the distance between a Blue Moon and a Blanche de Chambly is huge. Blue Moon tastes harsh and has flavors I associate with exhaust. Chambly on the other hand is smooth, slightly tart and clean tasting. What could be the difference in terms of ingredients or techniques?

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2009, 03:30 PM   #2
PtotheL
Recipes 
 
Dec 2008
Montreal, Quebec
Posts: 66

Quote:
Originally Posted by tagz View Post
For me the distance between a Blue Moon and a Blanche de Chambly is huge. Blue Moon tastes harsh and has flavors I associate with exhaust. Chambly on the other hand is smooth, slightly tart and clean tasting. What could be the difference in terms of ingredients or techniques?
I only brewed one witbeir and it turned out too harsh as I was aiming for a hoeggarden or blanche de Chambly.

I don't have much experience brewing, however I found the Brewing Network's Jamil Show on the Witbeir style to be very informative.

The show pointed out a lot of thing that I could have done better.

If I recall correctly, the guy hosting the show in Jamil's place that precise week (who won awards for his witbeir) warns about using Bitter Orange Peel.

Instead he says to use as much fresh orange zest as possible and to drop them at flame-out. In fact he says to drop all the spices and zest at flame-out or else the flavor will pretty much be lost.

I think he also uses some wheat flour and talks about using both flaked wheat and oats along with Pilsner 2-Row.


Anyway, just downland and listen to the show... very informative.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
Bob
 
Bob's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Nov 2007
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI, US Virgin Islands
Posts: 3,927
Liked 141 Times on 104 Posts


That next-to-last sentence is crucial to the whole affair:

Quote:
I think he also uses some wheat flour and talks about using both flaked wheat and oats along with Pilsner 2-Row.
Witbier grists are more complicated than many homebrewers suspect - it ain't just a Hefeweizen grist with different yeast and orange peel. The award-winning Witbier I used to brew professionally used Pils malt, raw wheat, wheat malt, torrefied wheat, and flaked oats. Oh, and lots of rice hulls.

That's what homebrewers should look at, not spices.

Spices don't have anything to do with the flavors you find objectionable. I defy you to find any packaging brewery which has the time or manpower to zest the hundreds of pounds of oranges needed to equal the weight of dried peel. I brewed professional Wit with dried peel, I recommend dried peel to professionals in my consultancy, and also recommend them to homebrewers because it's what the benchmark examples of the style use. If you're aiming for Hoegaarden or Blanche de Chambly, dig out the bitter Curacao peel, guys, 'cos that's what they use.

There are other things in play here, too, like technique and other odd ingredients. For example, a touch of lactic acid in the mash goes a long way. So does a bit of star anise in the spice mix, or using both sweet and bitter dried Curacao peel.

Homebrewers as a rule tend to use too much hops in Wit. When I brewed mine by the 5 or 10bbl batch, it never got much above an hour-long simmer, and I only simmered a touch of noble hops for 30 minutes. We're talking 6-7IBU here. Most of the balancing bitterness and all of the spicy flavor came from where it should come from - the spices. Hops do not mix well with that spice profile, and will impart an objectionable flavor, guaranteed.

I am a bit passionate about traditional Witbier; can you tell?

Cheers!

Bob
__________________
Brewmaster
Fort Christian Brewpub
St Croix, US Virgin Islands

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2009, 01:06 PM   #4
JesseRC
 
JesseRC's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Oct 2008
San Antonio
Posts: 1,766
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts


I did an AHS Blanche de Chambly, I think it came out pretty close. I'll have to dig up the recipe.
__________________
Jesse

Primaries: Mojave Red (AG)
Kegs: Hibiscus Saison (AG), Orange Kolsch (AG) , Cocunut Porter
Future Brew: Wee Heavy

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2009, 03:08 PM   #5
Bobby_M
Vendor and Brewer
HBT_SPONSOR.png
 
Bobby_M's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Aug 2006
Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 23,201
Liked 1658 Times on 1071 Posts


I agree that most homebrewed attempts are too hoppy. I would say that more of the perceived bitterness should come from the orange and lactic. I plan on souring a a 1/2lb mash of pils the night before brew day on my next try. I've also used bitter peel and don't find it to be a problem. The problem I've found is that BJCP judges tend to get the judging wrong on wits because they've adjusted to the constant overhop they've been tasting.
__________________
Welcome to BrewHardware.com. I love you.
BIAB Large Mesh False Bottoms and SS HERMS COILS are IN!!
Chugger Pumps, Pump Kits, Camlocks, Sightglasses, Clear USA made Silicone Tubing, RIMS, Electric Install Parts, etc.

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
Saccharomyces
Be good to your yeast...
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
 
Saccharomyces's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Jun 2008
Pflugerville, Texas
Posts: 5,447
Liked 115 Times on 69 Posts


The recipe in my dropdown turned out great.

Some variations I plan to try on it:
- sub wheat malt for half of the raw wheat
- red (winter) vs white wheat
- Wyeast Forbidden Fruit yeast strain in place of the standard Hoegaarden Wit strain

As Bob says watch your IBUs. I think my last one was around 13-17 IBUs. It could be dropped down even more depending on your preference, less is definitely more.

Re: the orange peel, if you use the dried peel the key seems to be to steep for 5 minutes rather than boil it. You don't want more than a simmer with the orange peel or you can get off flavors from the pith. Rather than peel, I use the Seville orange marmalade as suggested by Randy Mosher in Radial Brewing with great results. A jar is like $3 at the megamart and I just toss the whole thing in.
__________________
[How to Calculate Mash Efficiency | Do I Need a Yeast Starter? | My Ghetto Fermentation Chamber | Twitter | 6 Gal. HDPE Fermenters | Slanting Yeast | No Sparge Brewing]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Soperbrew
big brother only monitors facebook and untappd

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-18-2009, 05:38 PM   #7
homebrewer_99
 
homebrewer_99's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Feb 2005
Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
Posts: 17,792
Liked 132 Times on 99 Posts


My last wit came out too orangy.

I blended it with a batch of Hefe Weizen and now have 10 gals of a great tasting wit!

Sampling some as I type too...yeah, I know it's still morning...so what???
__________________
HB Bill

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
Funnelface
Recipes 
 
Dec 2008
Yortown, Va.
Posts: 15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saccharomyces View Post
The recipe in my dropdown turned out great.

Some variations I plan to try on it:
- sub wheat malt for half of the raw wheat
- red (winter) vs white wheat
- Wyeast Forbidden Fruit yeast strain in place of the standard Hoegaarden Wit strain

As Bob says watch your IBUs. I think my last one was around 13-17 IBUs. It could be dropped down even more depending on your preference, less is definitely more.

Re: the orange peel, if you use the dried peel the key seems to be to steep for 5 minutes rather than boil it. You don't want more than a simmer with the orange peel or you can get off flavors from the pith. Rather than peel, I use the Seville orange marmalade as suggested by Randy Mosher in Radial Brewing with great results. A jar is like $3 at the megamart and I just toss the whole thing in.
When do you add the marmalade to it? And does is have to be organic? Also, how much coriander seed do you guys recommend?

Ben

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2009, 04:22 PM   #9
Shonuff
 
Shonuff's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Feb 2008
Seattle, WA
Posts: 741
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99 View Post

Sampling some as I type too...yeah, I know it's still morning...so what???
Thank you MLK
__________________
"Only water I serve has got barley and hops in it." - Lil



Join the #1 HBT group "Michigan Mashers"

Join the #2 HBT group "Pacific Northwest Brewers"

 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2009, 06:24 PM   #10
Shawn Hargreaves
Recipes 
 
Jun 2008
Seattle
Posts: 344
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Funnelface View Post
Also, how much coriander seed do you guys recommend?
I use 0.75 oz, cracked in a mortar but not ground.

The strength of flavor largely comes down to how finely you grind it. Anything finer than very lightly cracked seeds, and you would want a much smaller quantity.

 
Reply With Quote


Reply
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Recommendations for Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes in Belgian Pale Ale? LeeF Recipes/Ingredients 3 03-29-2011 05:06 AM
Applicability of Belgian Candi Syrup to Non-Belgian Brews? Pelikan Recipes/Ingredients 5 06-02-2010 06:31 PM
Need help refining a Honker's Ale Clone recipe chase Recipes/Ingredients 34 05-24-2009 12:52 AM
Advice on refining IPA recipe Stubb Recipes/Ingredients 10 05-23-2009 03:34 PM
refining a recipe; my IPA Walker Recipes/Ingredients 22 03-21-2006 04:33 PM


Forum Jump