Help with a Belgian Wit?

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Pelikan

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Not at all familiar with this style from a brewing perspective, but it's a favorite among friends. I have the basics down, but could use some help with the details.

OG 1.044
FG: 1.009
IBU: 22

4 lbs Pale Malt (probably pilsner, but depends upon what I have on hand)
~4 lbs Torrified Wheat
6 ounces Naked Oats
4 oz Acidulated Malt

4 oz DME for the starter.

1 oz Hallertau @ 60
1 oz Hallertau @ 10

Now it gets a little sticky. I know the style typically calls for coriander and orange peel at the end of the boil. Specifically, how much? As far as the orange peel, I've read in the Wiki that for a more authentic flavor one could zest their own orange. Fair enough, but what type of orange, what method used to zest, and, again, how much?

Regarding wheat, I've heard that raw can be a real pain in the mash, but torrified wheat is generally easy to work with. Is this the case, or should I be looking into malted wheat? This is probably a really "duh" question, but should the various forms of wheat be milled (I've never used wheat in a brew before, can you tell)?

To the best of my knowledge, wheats/wits/whites don't follow the same aging schedule as most other brews. What's the deal in this regard?

Thinking about using WLP400 with this one:

White Labs said:
Slightly phenolic and tart, this is the original yeast used to produce Wit in Belgium.
Any tips/tricks, etc, regarding the Wits is greatly appreciated.
 

flyangler18

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Now it gets a little sticky. I know the style typically calls for coriander and orange peel at the end of the boil. Specifically, how much? As far as the orange peel, I've read in the Wiki that for a more authentic flavor one could zest their own orange. Fair enough, but what type of orange, what method used to zest, and, again, how much?
As far as authentic or traditional flavor in a wit, use the dried bitter orange peel. Yes, the slightly greenish cardboard looking bits from the LHBS. 1 oz of bitter orange, 1 oz of coriander (which must be crushed to release the flavor and aroma compounds). The bitter orange isn't there just for flavor, it's also there to balance the sweetness from the wort. IBUs from wits are low (my own version is around 10-12), so the bitterness from the Curacao peel is important. There's a trend toward using fresh zest among homebrewers, but I stick to the traditional bitter peel because it's the flavor that I expect. In your recipe, lose the flavor addition and use a single bittering charge only - and back off on the amount to go lighter on the IBUs. Bitterness from peel, bitterness from peel. :) The acid malt is an unnecessary addition as well - the yeast will provide all the tart bite that you need.

Regarding wheat, I've heard that raw can be a real pain in the mash, but torrified wheat is generally easy to work with. Is this the case, or should I be looking into malted wheat? This is probably a really "duh" question, but should the various forms of wheat be milled (I've never used wheat in a brew before, can you tell)?
Torrified or flaked wheat is pregelatinized, so you don't have to do a cereal mash like you would with raw wheat (which is the traditional ingredient). To mash raw grain, it has to be boiled first and then added to the main mash. I 've used both and often cheat, using torrified or flaked wheat - to avoid the cereal mash step. Colorwise, the raw is a bit lighter and all that starch adds the cloudiness that is desired in a wit.

As far as aging, as soon as terminal gravity is hit - move it to packaging. They should be consumed fresh!
 

Hokie

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As for the coriander, you can do anything between 1/2 to 1 ounce of it coarsely crushed with a rolling pin or mortar and pestle (avoid powdered). You may want to go light the first time since people's tastes vary and it can be overpowering if you're not used to it. For the orange, there are a few schools of thought. You can use an ounce of the dried bitter orange peel from the LHBS, you can use an ounce of the dried sweet orange peel (not exactly to style, but gives an orange flavor), or 4-5 ounces of fresh zested citrus (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, etc). It is more obviously due to the moisture.
I add all of mine with 5 minutes left in the boil to avoid boiling away too many of the aroma and flavor compounds. I would certainly not do it any earlier than 10 minutes left in the boil.
Torrified wheat was designed to directly replace raw wheat in a manner in which you can avoid doing a cereal mash and all of that. I think torrified is even marketed with a mention of how well it is suited to Belgian wits.

I hope this helps...good luck!
 

flyangler18

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Does the torrified need crushing/milling?
No, it doesn't need to be milled, but I usually run it through just the same. If you've ever eated puffen wheat (Kashi), you know what torrified wheat looks like. Same stuff.

I prefer flaked wheat, as I find it easier to store. As you use Naked Oats, you know what flaked grain looks like.

Oh - and as far as your recipe goes, I think a good ratio would be 60% Pilsner malt, 30% flaked wheat, 10% flaked oats in amounts to get you to your OG.
 

Homercidal

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I've used fresh orange and lemon zest in my Wit and very much enjoyed it. I just grabbed a couple of oranges and a lemon and scraped it with a grater, being careful not to get the white stuff. I used about 1.5 ounces for 5 gallons.

My OG was supposed to be about 1.053 IIRC.
 

SumnerH

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For the orange, there are a few schools of thought. You can use an ounce of the dried bitter orange peel from the LHBS, you can use an ounce of the dried sweet orange peel (not exactly to style, but gives an orange flavor), or 4-5 ounces of fresh zested citrus (oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, etc).
The latter is going to give you a much fruitier, citrusy, not very Witbier-tasting brew--I guess that's what you meant by "not exactly to style". The bitterness of curacao is pretty key to making a wit more of a spicy, subtle beer and less of a fruity, tangy one. If you use non-bitter citrus, you'll wind up with something that's more similar in spirit to a summery weizen or American wheat than a witbier, IMO.
 
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