It’s time to brew another light-and-drinkable beer (in anticipation of the inevitable kicking of my pilsner keg). For this round, I wanted to try a style I haven’t brewed before, and a Belgian wit seemed like just the ticket. I’ve done a few iterations of a white IPA with Belgian wit yeast, and a less hoppy brew wasn’t too much of a stretch from that.
In putting together this recipe, I settled on a 50% pilsner malt, 50% flaked wheat grist. Based on what I read, flaked wheat seemed like a nice alternative to whole unmalted wheat. The wheat was balanced with a hefty dose of rice hulls in order to ease sparging.
Belgian wits are commonly characterized by a generous dash of coriander and bitter orange peels. I had some coriander on hand in my brewing drawers, but was out of bitter orange. They didn’t have any at my LHBS, either, and fresh oranges are out of season here. So, I grabbed a grapefruit, zested it, and then did a quick peel. To continue on the citrus theme, all of the hopping was accomplished with a very late boil dose of Citra (only around 3 minutes before flame-out, with steeping for the duration of wort chilling).
- 5 lbs. pilsner malt
- 5 lbs. flaked wheat
- 0.87 lb. rice hulls
- 2 oz. Citra hops pellets (14.1% alpha, 3.6% beta), 3 minute boil
- 0.75 oz. fresh grapefruit peel, 5 minute boil
- 0.25 oz. coriander (crushed), 5 minute boil
- 0.5 tsp. yeast nutrient, 5 minute boil
- Belgian Wit Ale Yeast (WLP400)
- Five days in advance, I built a 1.5L starter for some Belgian Wit Ale yeast I had harvested on May 5, when I last brewed a white IPA. After two days on the stir plate, I moved the starter into the refrigerator to cold crash the yeast.
- On brew day, I mashed in with 3.8 gallons of water at 163°, to hit a mash temperature of 153.2°. This was down to 149° after 50 minutes, and around 147° after 65 minutes. At this time, I added 1 gallon of water at 190°, to raise the mash bed to 149°. I let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected 2.5 gallons of wort.
- I added 3.7 gallons of water at 175°, which raised the mash bed to 164°. Because I had only collected 2.5 gallons on the first runnings, I added an additional gallon at 180°, to raise the mash bed to 165°. I figure that the wheat flakes absorbed a lot of extra water, hence the low volume on first runnings.
- After another 10 minutes, I vorlaufed and collected the remainder of the runnings from the mash tun.
- In total, I collected 6.6 gallons at a gravity of 1.038. This works out to 69% efficiency. This is a little lower than normal; most likely due to the high percentage of wheat flakes in the grist.
- I started the boil, and added the various hops, spices, and yeast nutrient per the schedule. Because I was a little distracted, I ended up miscalculating the boil time and ended up with around 55 minutes total.
- I cooled the wort to 81° (as far as I could get it with the current groundwater temperature), and transferred the wort to my primary fermenter while aerating. I pitched the yeast and sealed everything up.
- This batch was brewed on 12 August 2016. Starting gravity was 1.043. I am fermenting this at 71°; vigorous fermentation had started within 12 hours of pitching the yeast.
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