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Witbier with Pilsner - vigorous boil or not?

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snailsongs

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I have been taught (by all of you, thanks) that pilsner malt usually benefits from a longer vigorous boil to drive off the DMS. I have also read that you don't want a long vigorous boil for a belgian Wit, yet most wit recipes have a substantial amount of Pilsen malt in them. so, what kind of boil/procedure is best for a wit? a long vigorous boil, a short simmering boil, or some other type of boil?
 

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I have been taught (by all of you, thanks) that pilsner malt usually benefits from a longer vigorous boil to drive off the DMS. I have also read that you don't want a long vigorous boil for a belgian Wit, yet most wit recipes have a substantial amount of Pilsen malt in them. so, what kind of boil/procedure is best for a wit? a long vigorous boil, a short simmering boil, or some other type of boil?
I'm sorry to seem a bit thick, but I've never heard that you don't want to boil a wit vigorously. Is that maybe for extract recipes that you want to keep light colored? That's a new one to me. As far as I'm concerned, a rolling boil is a rolling boil. "simmering" isn't a boil at all. For proper hops utilization, as well and the driving off of DMS (and the precursors), a rolling boil is the way to go.
 
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snailsongs

snailsongs

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see, guys. that's exactly why I'm confused. :confused:

Sacc, if you run a gentle simmer, do you do it for 60 or 90 minutes? probably doesn't matter much either way, actually.

Yooper, I'll counter with some thickness of my own and note that I recall you once said something to the effect of "give me and IPA or an APA, no [email protected] Wits for me!":D so, with all due respect (and really, I have seen that you are one of the most polite and helpful people on this board) what are you doing here?:cross:

I think I'll make my wit and purge it of DMS....I'd rather have it slightly darker and more carmelized than end up with cooked corn flavors.....
 

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Cross-posted from my recipe thread:

Sorry I just missed this until now! A 90 minute boil is often prescribed for driving off DMS because of the half-life of DMS which is approximately 40 minutes. Boiling hydrolizes SMM into DMS which can be carried off, but I find quick cooling to be far more important. I've brewed this recipe many times and I've never detected any DMS despite defying common knowledge re: a vigorous boil. Likewise, my Berliner Weisse recipe has lots of Pils with only a 15 minute boil; no DMS. :D

Now, it is certainly possible that these styles may, by design, have appreciable levels of DMS, but there are also characteristics vis-a-vis the yeast in a Witbier and the lactic sourness in a BW that could well be obscuring the DMS from detection.
 

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Don't worry about it, snail. Not only does practical experience tell you not to worry about it, the science of DMS tells you the same thing.

DMS, while having a relatively low flavor threshold, is really only a problem in lager beers, especially lighter, high-adjunct lagers, where very little is available to mask the cooked-corn flavor. In beers that have more flavor impactors present - dark beers, spiced beers, beers, in short, with more than Pils malt and a touch of hops - DMS flavors if any are masked by the other flavors.

Witbier, with its spices, complex grist, lactic sourness and yeast-driven funk, is one of the last beers you should worry about DMS.

This is one of those bugbears that worry homebrewers way too much. DMS and HSA should be completely stricken from the homebrewing literature and amateur-brewers' memories purged. :mad:

In fact, boiling to drive off DMS - which isn't a something you should be worried about - will make an inferior Witbier. A vigorous boil will drive off crucial aromatics. It will also encourage break formation, precipitating in the break the very proteins you worked so hard to put in the beer, the very proteins that remaining in suspension make 'white beer' milky white.

Cheerfully,

Bob
 

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Thanks Bob for the comments you said it better than I could. :mug:

Sacc, if you run a gentle simmer, do you do it for 60 or 90 minutes? probably doesn't matter much either way, actually.
I do 90 minutes.

My information is secondhand from a local microbrewer who has consulted with Pierre, who still comes to Austin from Belgium a few times a year to visit his daughter. He mashes in at 125*F, rests there for about an hour, ramps up to 154*F, rests there for a half hour, ramps to 165*F for mashout. Boils for 90 at a bare simmer, no kettle finings. Coriander is hand crushed using a rolling pin on baking sheets. He adds the spices at knockout and begins running off to the chiller. No whirlpool, his system has an inline filter to remove the break. He chills to 65*F, pitches a bunch of yeast, and shuts off the chiller, letting the fermentation raise the temp in the fermenter up to about 92*F. Strain used is Wyeast 3944. It's a really, REALLY good Wit... so I try to replicate his process as much as possible at home when I brew mine.
 
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snailsongs

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Thanks Bob for the comments you said it better than I could. :mug:



I do 90 minutes.

My information is secondhand from a local microbrewer who has consulted with Pierre, who still comes to Austin from Belgium a few times a year to visit his daughter. He mashes in at 125*F, rests there for about an hour, ramps up to 154*F, rests there for a half hour, ramps to 165*F for mashout. Boils for 90 at a bare simmer, no kettle finings. Coriander is hand crushed using a rolling pin on baking sheets. He adds the spices at knockout and begins running off to the chiller. No whirlpool, his system has an inline filter to remove the break. He chills to 65*F, pitches a bunch of yeast, and shuts off the chiller, letting the fermentation raise the temp in the fermenter up to about 92*F. Strain used is Wyeast 3944. It's a really, REALLY good Wit... so I try to replicate his process as much as possible at home when I brew mine.
wow.....just reading your description of the process makes the beer sound really tasty! I'm not a wit expert (or any kind of brewing expert...yet - though not for lack of interest or effort), having only even tried Blue Moon (only wit-inspired) and Hoegarden, but I've got the yeast here, the basic ingredients and I'm thirsty for a light summer brew.....this gives me a lot to think about and plan for.
 

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Agreed... Blue Moon to me tastes like a Wit fermented with German Ale yeast. The Tejas Wit in my dropdown is inspired by Blue Moon but fermented with a real Wit yeast, it finishes VERY dry so it's a refreshing summer beer.
 
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snailsongs

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Don't worry about it, snail. Not only does practical experience tell you not to worry about it, the science of DMS tells you the same thing.

DMS, while having a relatively low flavor threshold, is really only a problem in lager beers, especially lighter, high-adjunct lagers, where very little is available to mask the cooked-corn flavor. In beers that have more flavor impactors present - dark beers, spiced beers, beers, in short, with more than Pils malt and a touch of hops - DMS flavors if any are masked by the other flavors.

Witbier, with its spices, complex grist, lactic sourness and yeast-driven funk, is one of the last beers you should worry about DMS.

This is one of those bugbears that worry homebrewers way too much. DMS and HSA should be completely stricken from the homebrewing literature and amateur-brewers' memories purged. :mad:

In fact, boiling to drive off DMS - which isn't a something you should be worried about - will make an inferior Witbier. A vigorous boil will drive off crucial aromatics. It will also encourage break formation, precipitating in the break the very proteins you worked so hard to put in the beer, the very proteins that remaining in suspension make 'white beer' milky white.

Cheerfully,

Bob
Thanks for putting the DMS issue into some perspective. Since I started brewing I've relied a lot on the book "Brewing Classic Styles" for basic style guidelines when looking at recipes and procedures, and Jamil issues a caveat about 90 minute boils every time even a small amount of Pilsen malt is used....he kind of makes it seem, well, really important.

I'd have to say, officially, that you have answered my question! :mug: thank you!
 

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Don't worry about it, snail. Not only does practical experience tell you not to worry about it, the science of DMS tells you the same thing.

DMS, while having a relatively low flavor threshold, is really only a problem in lager beers, especially lighter, high-adjunct lagers, where very little is available to mask the cooked-corn flavor. In beers that have more flavor impactors present - dark beers, spiced beers, beers, in short, with more than Pils malt and a touch of hops - DMS flavors if any are masked by the other flavors.

Witbier, with its spices, complex grist, lactic sourness and yeast-driven funk, is one of the last beers you should worry about DMS.

This is one of those bugbears that worry homebrewers way too much. DMS and HSA should be completely stricken from the homebrewing literature and amateur-brewers' memories purged. :mad:

In fact, boiling to drive off DMS - which isn't a something you should be worried about - will make an inferior Witbier. A vigorous boil will drive off crucial aromatics. It will also encourage break formation, precipitating in the break the very proteins you worked so hard to put in the beer, the very proteins that remaining in suspension make 'white beer' milky white.

Cheerfully,

Bob
And to think of all that propane I've been wasting.:( One of those myths that appears to work (I boiled 90 minutes...and got no DMS...it worked!). This will help shorten those double-decoction/high-Pils content brew days.
 

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This is one of those bugbears that worry homebrewers way too much. DMS and HSA should be completely stricken from the homebrewing literature and amateur-brewers' memories purged. :mad:
I agree with this to an extent, but I still think it is something all brewers should be aware of. To worry about doing a 90 min boil on a Wit is a little extreme, but people should be aware of the risks of boiling with lid on and the benefits of quick chilling.

In other news I will be making a Wit tomorrow utilizing a sour mash for the first time. I started the sour mash last night with 10% of the grist.
 

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Let me know how the sour mash Wit turns out. I'm thinking of trying this myself. Oh, and I'll probably pitch a Wit on the Roeselare cake from a Saison Flanders just for the heck of it... Wits are fun. :)
 

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And to think of all that propane I've been wasting.:( One of those myths that appears to work (I boiled 90 minutes...and got no DMS...it worked!). This will help shorten those double-decoction/high-Pils content brew days.
Don't get me wrong - in a recipe where Pils malt represents 80+% of the grist, like Bohemian Pilsner or something like that, you do stand a certain chance of ending up with DMS in the bottle.

I mean delicate, pale lager beers, here: those are the ones where DMS becomes a worry. But Dunkel lager or Belgian Tripel? Not so much. Same thing with all-malt pale lagers, especially with multiple decoctions.

It's easier to get DMS as an amateur brewer than HSA, but not much. Both are only really prevalent in pale lager beers. But where you have to really work your ass off to get HSA regardless of style, DMS is probable as an amateur without an extended boil in pale lager beers.

I guess I should restate what I'm trying to say: "It's okay to worry about DMS in its place. Know what you're dealing with, and know where the theoretical line is drawn between Bohemian Pilsner and Dry Irish Stout. In Bohemian Pilsner, a possibility exists of detectable levels of DMS. In DIS, no chance in hell. Somewhere in between is the area where you start to worry."

And a standard 90-minute boil isn't hurting anything, really; if you're going to boil a Pils-based beer, an extra 30 minutes won't harm. Just know that "Pils-based beer" is a relative term.

Clear as mud?

Bob
 

SpanishCastleAle

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Thanks for clarifying. Some of my high-Pils-content recipes were Dortmunder/Helles/Pils types but I was boiling EVERYTHING with Pils for 90 minutes (actually 100 minutes). Bocks with only 45% Pils...Hefe/Dunkleweizens with 40%-50% Pils, Tripels with 100% Pils, everything.

I'm doing another Tripel this weekend but it's part of 3-part yeast comparison series so I'll do this last one just like the previous two. After that I'll prob cut it back to 70 minutes for anything but light lagers.
 

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Let me know how the sour mash Wit turns out. I'm thinking of trying this myself. Oh, and I'll probably pitch a Wit on the Roeselare cake from a Saison Flanders just for the heck of it... Wits are fun. :)
Wits are indeed fun, I was never interested in the style till I started researching it and found out how versatile they really are. I went home and made a starter for this a bit ago and tasted the sour mash...and it is coming along quite nicely. If this turns out as good as I think it will, I am going to do a 20% sour mash on my next Saison.
 
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snailsongs

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So, here's what I'm brewing. I'm going to do a 20 minute protein rest at 122F and then a 60 minute rest at 15i2. I'll also be doing a 90 minute 'stiff-simmer' and adding spices/zest at 5 minutes left. Finally, I'll be breaking in the 1/2OD x 50' immersion chiller I just built myself! tell me what you think.....

....and thanks for everyones help here. this was an informative thread.

Ingredients

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 41.0 %
2.50 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 25.6 %
2.00 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 20.5 %
1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 10.3 %
0.25 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2.6 %
0.75 oz Hallertauer [4.80%] (60 min) Hops 13.1 IBU
0.10 oz White Pepper (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
0.50 oz Coriander Seed (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.5 oz citrus zest blend (grapefruit, orange, lime) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Belgian Wit Ale (White Labs #WLP400) Yeast-Wheat


Est Original Gravity: 1.051 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.1 %
Bitterness: 13.1 IBU
 

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Looks like it's going to completely suck. But you should still brew it, as a learning experience. Then bottle-condition it, pack it carefully, and send it all to me. I'm FAR better equipped to safely dispose of it than anyone else.





:D



Seriously, sounds yummy! Good luck!

Bob
 

gxm

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In fact, boiling to drive off DMS - which isn't a something you should be worried about - will make an inferior Witbier. A vigorous boil will drive off crucial aromatics. It will also encourage break formation, precipitating in the break the very proteins you worked so hard to put in the beer, the very proteins that remaining in suspension make 'white beer' milky white.

Cheerfully,

Bob
Thanks Bob, you answered my implied question here
My resulting wit is nearly crystal clear. It does taste good, and is interesting, but not quite what I'd set out for. I'll know better next time.
 
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snailsongs

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So, here's what I'm brewing. I'm going to do a 20 minute protein rest at 122F and then a 60 minute rest at 15i2. I'll also be doing a 90 minute 'stiff-simmer' and adding spices/zest at 5 minutes left. Finally, I'll be breaking in the 1/2OD x 50' immersion chiller I just built myself! tell me what you think.....

....and thanks for everyones help here. this was an informative thread.

Ingredients

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 41.0 %
2.50 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 25.6 %
2.00 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 20.5 %
1.00 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 10.3 %
0.25 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 2.6 %
0.75 oz Hallertauer [4.80%] (60 min) Hops 13.1 IBU
0.10 oz White Pepper (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
0.50 oz Coriander Seed (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.5 oz citrus zest blend (grapefruit, orange, lime) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Belgian Wit Ale (White Labs #WLP400) Yeast-Wheat


Est Original Gravity: 1.051 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.012 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.1 %
Bitterness: 13.1 IBU
I just bottled this up this morning. I ended up with an OG of 1.046 and an FG of 1.008. I made the mistake of using beersmith (probably used it wrong) to calculate my step volumes/temps and I ended up at 148F for my initial sacc rest, which sent me scurrying to the stove with more water to boil and bring up the rest temp to 153F. So my mash was a little low overall....

....but I'm pretty happy with it. It tasted fantastic and i think once it's properly "spritzed up" with bubbles and chilled it's going to be the most refreshing beer in my fridge. I don't mind a dry light beer this time of year at all, and it's not lacking flavor. Interesting fermentation behavior too.....thanks for all of your advice everyone! :mug:
 

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Does anyone else simmer their witbiers and what kind of boil-off rate do you get?
 

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Pierre Celis advocates a gentle simmer for a Witbier. Since he is the father of the modern Wit style, I follow his lead.
Coming *way* late to this thread. Do you have a reference for the Celis advice? Is that a 30-, 60- or 90-minute simmer?
 
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