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Darwin18

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Well I entered a homebrew competition recently to get some unbiased feed back from those who have much more extensive experience than myself. I wanted informed opinions from someone other than my girlfriend and co-workers. I was not looking to win and was not concerned about my score.

The beer I entered was a Belgian witbeer from a Northernbrewer all grain kit. I recieved a score of 29 which I was very happy with. My question is how do I take the critiques given and apply them to my brewing process?

The main criticisms for this beer was too much bitterness and a very dry finish. Their suggestions for improvement was too increase the mash temperature and cut back on the spices/bittering hops. I tried a beer and reviewed their scores and I completely agree. The bitterness of the beer isn't overwhelming but it takes away from the beer.

I believe I may have made a mistake while brewing the beer. The kit came with corriander seeds. I placed them in a plastic bag, laid the bag on a wood board and carefully pounded the crap out of the seeds with a small hammer. I was under the impression that the seeds needed to be ground before going in but should I have just put them in whole? Additionally BeerSmith thinks that hop additions increase the IBU's out of the witbeer category....

Also, how should I go about increasing the mash temperature? I use BeerSmith and mashed in at 154F for 60 minutes.

Here is a link to the Northernbrewer witbeer kit: A ProMash Recipe - Witbier - AG

Looking over BeerSmith....why would the Northerbrewer kit be 7.5 IBU's out of the top range for this beer...
 
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Darwin18

Darwin18

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I was on the city of Cary NC water. The water there was delicious and I drank it regularly.
 
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Darwin18

Darwin18

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That is a good question and one that I do not know the answer to. I did not recieve any water reports while living in Cary. I did recieve one immediately after moving to the next town over though.
 

Sigafoos

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You're supposed to at least crack coriander, though maybe crushing it completely would make it too absorbed? I haven't used it before. And mashing at 154 is pretty high already; you could probably raise it a few degrees but it shouldn't be super dry like that. Maybe your thermometer is a bit off? To raise the mash temp you just raise the temp of your strike water :)

I've been using this formula for my past few batches because I've found I like hand-writing it out instead of trusting a robot to tell me what to do.

T(w) = (.2/r)(T2-T1)+T2

T(w) = temp of strike water
r = water/grain ratio
T2 = desired mash temp
T1 = ambient temp
 

z987k

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your IBU's are not out of the range at all. 16IBU is right in the middle for a wit (10-20). Your perceived bitterness may be higher or harsher due to minerals in your water, most notably sulfate. Just crack the coriander, I find any more is overpowering.
Last, I would change the recipe from wheat to unmalted wheat, that should give you a more classic wit character.
 
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