Belgian Wit Questions

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Dec 4, 2008
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NE Texas
I have been brewing off and on for several years and have done extract, extract with steeping grains, and all grain batches. I want to brew a somewhat Belgian Wit using wheat DME and Hallertau hops. I think I may try the hops tea/no boil DME method just out of curiosity and in the interest of saving time on brew day, and will use a 30 min. boil for the hops tea. I will also mix the DME with about one gallon of water and bring it to 180 degrees and let it sit for a little bit, then add it and the hop tea mixture to my fermenter topped off with cold water to 3 gallons total in the fermenter. This will be a 3 gallon batch.

The recipe will be 3 lbs. of Munton's wheat DME, 1/2 ounce Hallertau for 30 minutes, 1/2 ounce Hallertau for five minutes, and 1/2 ounce each of coriander seed and bitter orange peel for 5-10 minutes, and Mangrove Jack Belgian Wit dry yeast. Questions follow:

1. Would it hurt or help to add 1 cup of the DME to the hop tea while boiling?
2. Where would I put the coriander and orange peel? In the hop tea, or in the 180 degree wort mixture? 5 minute or 10 minute time?
3. Would you rehydrate the dry yeast or just pitch it out of the package?

Thanks in advance for any answers!
  1. “They” say boiling the hops with a little DME is better than just making a plain tea which could end up extracting astringent tannins. Whether this is that big of a deal in real life, I’m not sure.
  2. I would add your flavorings in the last 5 minutes of the hop tea boil.
  3. I never rehydrate, and especially not for only 3 gallons. But even 6 gallons I wouldn’t. Only for lagers maybe. This ain’t a lager.
The DME will dissolve easily in 1/2 gallon of water. Less to heat; less to cool.
I brewed this yesterday. Adding the DME to one gallon of water almost filled the pot up completely. Next time, I will use 1/2 gallon and cool the other 1/2 gallon in the fridge. This morning it is bubbling away with about an inch of krausen showing. If it turns out ok, this was so easy I think I may start using this method for a while!
I think I may try the hops tea/no boil DME method just out of curiosity

In support of your curiosity ...

1. Would it hurt or help to add 1 cup of the DME to the hop tea while boiling?

there is an older technique - Boil the hops, not the Malt Extract! (link, also BYO Oct 2002) - that may be of interest. If you are not steeping, enough DME to create an low OG wort (5 to 10) would have a similar effect.

With "steeping grains", How to Brew suggests steeping in a low OG wort made with low mineral water to setup a good environment for steeping.

Is there a similar situation with hops? Perhaps. Unfortunately, all the anecdotal stories I have seen on boiling hops in "just water" don't include the mineral content of the water. Is 'mineral content' the missing factor in getting harsh flavors? Or is it just personal preference?
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Bottled this experiment on 3/30, and just popped the top on one today. Couldn't wait any longer. I will have to say it was a success. Tastes pretty close to what a Blue Moon does. Hazy with a nice white head.

I think I will try the no boil method again and make either a porter(my favorite style of beer), or an American Ale style.