Belgian Wit

I’ve brewed lots of fruit-based witbier recipes, and plenty of things with Belgian wit yeast, but I’ve only done a “real” witbier recipe once! BYO magazine recently featured the witbier style, so I brewed a slightly modified version recently.

Belgian Wit

  • 5.5 lb. Barke pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 5 lb. soft red flaked wheat (Briess)
  • 0.5 lb. flaked oats
  • 0.25 lb. Munich II malt (Weyermann)
  • 1 oz. Edelweiss hop pellets (5.1% alpha), 30 minute boil
  • 9 g chamomile flowers (dried), 5 minute boil
  • 1.5 oz. lemon zest (fresh), 5 minute boil
  • 0.4 oz. coriander seed, 5 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. wit Belgian wit-style ale yeast (Lallemand)

Target Parameters

  • 1.050 s.g., 1.009 f.g., 5.3% abv, 14 IBU, 4 SRM
  • Full-volume mash, no sparge, at 149° for 60 minutes
  • Claremont tap water, neutralized to remove carbonates.

Procedure

  • I heated 7.5 gallons of water to 155°, adding 6.25 mL of 88% lactic acid to remove the carbonates.
  • I mashed in to hit a mash temperature of 149°, adding 3.5 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH. I held the mash here for 60 minutes with recirculation, before raising to 168° for a 10 minute mash out.
  • After removing the grains, I had a total of 6.25 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.041, for 63% mash efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, boiling for an extra 15 minutes before adding hops and spices per the recipe, in order to raise the gravity. After 75 minutes total of the boil, I turned off the heat and chilled to 80°. I transferred the wort to a fermenter and chilled it the rest of the way down to 62° before pitching the yeast.
  • I brewed the beer on 17 September 2022. Starting gravity was 1.045.
  • I pitched the yeast at 62°, let it free rise to 64° and held there for the first three days of fermentation. I did all of this with open fermentation, putting a piece of foil over the hole in the fermenter lid rather than using an airlock or blowoff tube.
  • On 20 September 2022 (three days into fermentation), I added a blowoff tube and let the fermentation free rise to 72°.
  • I kegged the beer on 30 September 2022. It had a final gravity of 1.012, for 4.4% abv.

Tasting

  • Appearance
    • Straw colored, hazy beer with a fluffly and persistent white bead.
  • Aroma
    • Light chamomile and hay aroma; slightly tart character to it.
  • Flavor
    • Very refreshing! There is a bit of spice; the coriander is faintly present, and chamomile comes through on the back end of each taste, but is definitely more prominent. Coriander provides a pleasant sweetness. Medium-low bitterness; maybe even a bit too much? There is a hint of citrus flavor. The malt flavor is fairly low, with a doughy and slightly grainy character if anything.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Light body, highly carbonated, smooth finish, off-dry. It is almost a bit too dry.
  • Would I Brew This Again?
    • I like this recipe overall! It could use a bit more coriander, but the chamomile is delightful. It gives a fresh-mown hay quality that is quite interesting. The beer is a bit more dry than I like for this style; some more oats could help with that. The yeast character is okay, but not exceptional. I might like a bit more from the yeast, and suspect an increase in fermentation temperature could help. A little more haze would also be nice, and slightly less bitterness. The beer is quite refreshing, but not perfect. The beer clarified a bit after a few weeks from the initial tasting, and is still super interesting in flavor. The chamomile helps to make this a fall beer, rather than just something for a summer afternoon!
  • Overall
    • 6/10

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