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Nickfixit

Best Belgian Wit.

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I need to make some Belgian Wit clone for some Belgian visitors I will have next year.  I would like them to like it and not think - "oh not so good as at home".

I have tried 2 that I think are good, Blanche de Bruxelles and Hoegaarten.

Mine have somewhat similar tastes, but nowhere near the aroma.

I also note heat in the description the Blanche say they do an added in bottle fermentation and I suspect they use different yeast for that so cultivating it would not be really helpful.

I also suspect that they aroma is due to the high carbonation getting flavors into the air. One of mine almost had that when I poured it really fast to get a bigger foam.

 

I am open to recipe suggestions using the Bavarian Weissbier HME as starting point.

Currently I have been using WLP400 yeast but am open to other Belgian Wit yeasts.

 

My point here is that my beers are not bad tasting, just different.

I do believe I need some sugar as fermentable. (One of mine made that taste difference as I used some sugar.)

SO current base plan is to target 4.4-5% ABV.

 

Suggestions please.

 

 

Bav WB HME

Wheat LME/DME to get another 1% ABV
Sugar to get about 0.25 ABV 

Grains - Flaked Oats, Flaked Wheat, Pilsen Malted Barley 4 oz each.in 30 min partial mash/steep. (Rice hulls??)

Spices - 5g Coriander crushed,  1 TBS Bitter Orange peel dried, 1 Chamomile teabag.

(No fresh citrus zest - although I am tempted but not sure will emulate style.)

Yeast WLP400

 

High carbonation 1.5 sugar dots per 12 oz bottle. (~ 3.25 g)

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Plus for the Blanche de Bruxelles, clone,  am not going to do a separate bottle fermentation - lol.

 

Marmalade

Also another source of Seville/Bitter orange peel is marmalade. I am figuring the sugars would ferment out.

Has anyone used marmalade instead of dried Bitter Orange peel? How much to use if it works better than dried?

 

And how do I get that AROMA mmmmmm............

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I also got a Blanche de Namurs to taste and that also has licorice! in it. I got some star anise that I might try a little of but I understand if it VERY strona and I won't need much. (comments welcome ) I also tried Blanche de Bruxelles and Hoegaarden and more,

But I need to get that AROMA!

 

OK I am ready for the first trial run of Wits. I got some Wyeast Forbidden Fruit yeast to run off against my WLP400, and I got some Indian coriander (oval seeds instead of the round ones in the supermarket packets), real white candi sugar  and some fresh bitter oranges (not dried) so I should be in good shape.

 

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Blanche de Namur is also very light colored (it uses unmalted wheat) which is difficult to get using extract and especially if one adds wheat extract LME/DME.

It also claims to have licorice in it which I can't taste.

So I think I have the solution to a NOT malty beer, it is what so much of the community wants to shun - BOOSTER!!. I do remember making one  a few years ago using booster and it was nice and light and dry and you could get the yeast flavors quite well.

So I will make several to try out the fresh bitter orange zest and the Indian and Supermarket Corianders (oval and round seeds) and he WLP400 yeast and the Forbidden Fruit yeast and the dried bitter orange peels.

I might try star anise instead of licorice or maybe just leave it out for now. Too many variables.

So I am looking at

 

1x Mr B Wheat HME  - no additional hop  3.7% (Based on Mr Beer standard refill = 5% and booster = 1.3%)

1x  pack booster                                          1.3%

(Optional add white candi sugar to make a little dryer. maybe 2 oz)

1 TBS coriander , crushed, 5min boil. (Indian in one brew, Super mkt in another)

Bitter orange peel - dried in one - about 5 gm. - 5 min boil, fresh in 2 others - 1 med orange zest (I may also add juice but will taste it first.)

Maybe 1 or 2 blades of the star of star anise,  5 min boil (?)

30 min Partial mash of 4 oz each Flaked oats, flaked wheat, pils or lightest malt  - may get a little ABV from this but not a lot.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

Started them today. The fresh Bitter Orange definitely has some of that Wit smell.

 

For Rick Beer's benefit, they all read 13.3 on refractometer.  Translates to 1.054 OG.

The Mr B Belgian Blanc is described as 1.042 OG --> 1.011 FG

I did use booster pack instead of Pale LME pack and I also had a PM of 12 oz grains (mix wheat/oats and 2 row) so I would expect more than the Mr B recipe.

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Should the PITH on orange peel be used??

OK, so it has been bothering me how come everybody says when using orange zest DON"T use any of the white stuff or it will be too bitter.

 

BUT all the bitter orange peel I see in the Brewing stores has LOTS of the white pith on the peel.

 

Also when I used the Fresh Bitter oranges I did get a whiff of some of the Belgian Wit beer aroma from the peel, so there is something in there that does that. It is not just adding MORE coriander - lol.

 

SO I poked around on the Internet and I YES the Bitter Orange peel used for Wit beer in Belgium does use the pith with bits, and originally it was using not much hops but the pith from the peel was giving the beer the bitterness  not the hops so much. I see recipes with Hop bitterness < 15 IBUs and some must come from the orange.

 

To me this makes sense, based on

1, I get the smell,

2, years ago people bittered the beer with all sorts of herbs and herb combinations so using peel bitterness is not a stretch,

3, it is sold that way so unless it is a conspiracy from Real Wit Brewers to prevent home brewers getting similar beer, I think the pith should be used. SO next time, I will try FRESH oranges with PITH. I may also buy some now, and dry the peel (with pith)  in case the season is over. It apparently is a seasonal fruit. (As are good grapefruit).

 

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Been meaning to share this with you, Nick.  Last spring I made 2 batches of Belgian Blanc.  In one I used Brewers Best dried orange peel (not the sweet one) and in the other I used fresh orange peel (sans pith).  The recipes were identical; conditions were damn near identical too, made one week apart.  The one with the dried peel came out as expected and although not my preference of style, people really liked it.  The one with fresh peel was deemed "mediciny" by those who tried it.  I have no rhyme or reason why this happened.  Only thing I thought was that maybe it was the vodka that the zest was soaking in prior to adding?? I'm not sure if this will help you at all, but hey, ya never know.  Good luck!  😀

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6 hours ago, AnthonyC said:

Been meaning to share this with you, Nick.  Last spring I made 2 batches of Belgian Blanc.  In one I used Brewers Best dried orange peel (not the sweet one) and in the other I used fresh orange peel (sans pith).  The recipes were identical; conditions were damn near identical too, made one week apart.  The one with the dried peel came out as expected and although not my preference of style, people really liked it.  The one with fresh peel was deemed "mediciny" by those who tried it.  I have no rhyme or reason why this happened.  Only thing I thought was that maybe it was the vodka that the zest was soaking in prior to adding?? I'm not sure if this will help you at all, but hey, ya never know.  Good luck!  😀

Thanks for the feedback.

If I am using fresh peel, I just grate the zest from the outside with the biggest X's on the grater and put it in at the end of boil for maybe 5 min boil. I do not put it in vodka or anything. Never had any medicinal taste just a gentle orangey-ness.

 

I just got more fresh bitter oranges so I think I will peel them and dry the peel for future. But that is WHOLE peel not zest.

Of the ones I started though, 2  are using the bitter orange zest and one the dried whole peel. So hopefully I will see the difference, although I have yeast and coriander variables too.

 

Where I got the bitter oranges I also say sweet limes. I may get some of those to see what taste they have.

Also a bunch of other fruits I had not seen before (oriental market - lol).

 

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I think I have enough peel for a LOT of beer here. This is only most of 3 bitter oranges.

I think if you put in the pith too, you need a lot less. Still, I will see how much it is when dry.

imageproxy.php?img=&key=c4b820ad04ea323f

peel 20161211_154451.jpg

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Big difference in fermentation between the 2 yeasts. The WLP400 still has 1/4 inch of foam on it. (in Cooper's tall style 2 gal fermenter) and the Forbidden Fruit yeast (2 fermenters) has about 1/3 the surface foam free in both. Still, the LBKs do have a larger surface area I think, but the Forbidden Fruit must ferment a lot faster - I had identical fermentables (HME + 1 pack booster) . Just the yeast was different between the behaviors.

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Belgian Witbier is an all time favorite of mine and I have been brewing/tweaking my recipe for the past 5 years. What I have found over time is that using some freshly made zest of Valencia Oranges, at a rate of about 2 ounces per 5 gallons of beer, gives a Witbier a really smooth citrus  flavor. Coriander, to me anyway, should be kept to no more than 1/4 teaspoon per 5 gallons too, especially when using freshly ground coriander. Of course using a good Belgian Witbier strain of yeast like WLP-400 will make this beer taste truly authentic too.    

 

In order to brew the best tasting version of any beer style it is necessary to match your brewing water as closely as possible to the style of beer being brewed. When asked what had made Hoegaarden the perfect location for brewing the Witbier style of beer? Pierre Celis replied “Hard water (calcium-rich water) is good for brewing a wheat beer. Also, there were abundant supplies of water in the area. I have a well at my home”.

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2 hours ago, The Screwy Brewer said:

Belgian Witbier is an all time favorite of mine and I have been brewing/tweaking my recipe for the past 5 years. What I have found over time is that using some freshly made zest of Valencia Oranges, at a rate of about 2 ounces per 5 gallons of beer, gives a Witbier a really smooth citrus  flavor. Coriander, to me anyway, should be kept to no more than 1/4 teaspoon per 5 gallons too, especially when using freshly ground coriander. Of course using a good Belgian Witbier strain of yeast like WLP-400 will make this beer taste truly authentic too.    

 

In order to brew the best tasting version of any beer style it is necessary to match your brewing water as closely as possible to the style of beer being brewed. When asked what had made Hoegaarden the perfect location for brewing the Witbier style of beer? Pierre Celis replied “Hard water (calcium-rich water) is good for brewing a wheat beer. Also, there were abundant supplies of water in the area. I have a well at my home”.

Thanks for the feedback.

Making the water harder would not be an issue. Right now it is medium. So Yes, Belgian water is a bit harder.

Since I am working from extract I suspect it may have less effect than if all grain. but I can easily add some Sodium Bicarb  or gypsum. to give those elements a boost.

Any idea which creates the most effect on taste?

 

Antwerp Water

Antwerp, Belgium

Calcium(Ca): 90.0 ppm
Magnesium(Mg): 11.0 ppm
Sodium(Na): 37.0 ppm
Sulfate(SO4): 84.0 ppm
Bicarbonate(HCO3): 76.0 ppm
PH: 8.0 PH

 

My water

Ca+2

Mg+2

Na+

Cl-

SO4-2

Alkalinity

pH

23

6

23

38

25

51 (HCO3)

8

 

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It would be very helpful had you included your grain bill and batch size in with your water properties, but here goes.

 

A Witbier grain bill for 10 gallons of packaged beer is as follows.

 

15.00 pounds Weyerman Pilsener Malt (German) (66.7%)
06.00 pounds Muntons Torrified Wheat (Belgian) (26.7%)
01.00 pounds Flaked Oats (Briess) (4.4%)
00.50 pounds Briess Munich Malt (German) (2.2%)

--------

22.50 pounds total (average pH DI = 5.82)

 

Starting out with RO water for a Witbier profile the Sulfate to Chloride ratio is 2:1, the hardness indicator range is 'Very Hard' and the mash pH is 5.56, as shown in the image below.

 

Witbier test.jpg

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ezBrewingWater-RO©  by Vince Feminella
     
RO or Distilled Water Source    
Mash Water Volume: 5.00 gallons
Total Water Treated: 5.00 gallons
     
Mash Water Adjustments    
(Gypsum) CaSO4: 4.00 grams
(Calcium Chloride) CaCl2: 3.00 grams
(Epsom Salt) MgSO4: 2.00 grams
(Baking Soda) NaHCO3: 0.00 grams
Lactic Acid (88%): 1.00 ml
Acidulated Malt (2%): 0.00 oz
     
Overall Water Profile    
Ca+2   91.20 ppm
Mg+2   9.72 ppm
Na+   0.00 ppm
Cl-   76.48 ppm
SO4-2   159.12 ppm
Sulfate To Chloride Ratio: 2:1  
Chloride / Sulfate Ratio: 0.48  
Indicator: Bitter / Drier  
     
Alkalinity (ppm as CaCO3):    
Total Alkalinity: 267.56 -62
Residual Alkalinity: 196.69 (RA = 8)
Neutralized Alkalinity: 188.82  
Final Adjusted Alkalinity: 78.74  
     
Hardness (ppm as CaCO3):    
Total Hardness: 267.79  
Indicator: Very Hard  
Total HCO3-: 326.42  
Final HCO3- 96.06  
     
Estimated pH @ 77F: 5.43  

Witbier test.jpg

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OK I Bottled the Wits.

I can correlate differences in taste and look and ABV

I used Northern Brewer  Refractometer calculator. http://www.northernbrewer.com/learn/resources/refractometer-calculator/

The 2 Forbidden Fruit brews were:

-  sweeter tasting than the WLP400. That correlated with final BRIX readings of 6.9, 6.9 and 5.6  Original BRIX of 13.3 for all 3.

- more fruit tasting (they had fresh peel zest)

The Forbidden Fruit with  Supermarket Coriander was darker and tasted a bit more of anise and spice (middle glass)

The WLP400 tasted much drier. (less residual sugar  higher ABV.  (Right hand glass)

 

As to which will be more "Belgian" after carbonation and 4 weeks, I am not sure.

I was so taken with the Refractometer that I forgot to Hydrometer it as well . oh.................

.

 

wits 2 3 and tall.png

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39 minutes ago, Nickfixit said:

OK I Bottled the Wits.

I can correlate differences in taste and look and ABV

I used Northern Brewer  Refractometer calculator. http://www.northernbrewer.com/learn/resources/refractometer-calculator/

The 2 Forbidden Fruit brews were:

-  sweeter tasting than the WLP400. That correlated with final BRIX readings of 6.9, 6.9 and 5.6  Original BRIX of 13.3 for all 3.

- more fruit tasting (they had fresh peel zest)

The Forbidden Fruit with  Supermarket Coriander was darker and tasted a bit more of anise and spice (middle glass)

The WLP400 tasted much drier. (less residual sugar  higher ABV.  (Right hand glass)

 

As to which will be more "Belgian" after carbonation and 4 weeks, I am not sure.

 

 

wits 2 3 and tall.png

great pic....

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5 hours ago, The Screwy Brewer said:

It would be very helpful had you included your grain bill and batch size in with your water properties, but here goes.

 

A Witbier grain bill for 10 gallons of packaged beer is as follows.

 

15.00 pounds Weyerman Pilsener Malt (German) (66.7%)
06.00 pounds Muntons Torrified Wheat (Belgian) (26.7%)
01.00 pounds Flaked Oats (Briess) (4.4%)
00.50 pounds Briess Munich Malt (German) (2.2%)

--------

22.50 pounds total (average pH DI = 5.82)

 

Starting out with RO water for a Witbier profile the Sulfate to Chloride ratio is 2:1, the hardness indicator range is 'Very Hard' and the mash pH is 5.56, as shown in the image below.

 

Witbier test.jpg

Screwy Brewer - Thanks for figuring this out. :lol: But sorry your images are not coming through.

 

So I need to figure if I need to mess with the water since I am using extract and not boiling hops. Probably it will have some impact but it probably is not the same as I would need to do for All Grain. The HME is probably done for German Wheat beer water. Which I think is fairly soft - softger than my tap water. So maybe I just need to  harden up my tap water appropriately.

 

My recipe was made in a Mr. Beer LBK (officially 2.13 gal.) for each of the 3 variants using Mr Beer Bavarian Weissbier as a starting ingredient. I used booster to keep the color light and the flavor also light and not very malty. I am aiming at Hoegaarden which is very light flavor.

WitBier  = Mr Beer Bavarian Weissbier HME (no additional hops)+ 1 pack Mr Beer booster (12 oz  with  8% glucose, 56% maltose, 16% maltotriose, and 20% dextrins.) + 1 TBS  Indian Coriander crushed coarsely, Bitter Orange zest (fresh + 1/2 juice)  Partial Mash 4 oz flaked Oat, 4 oz flaked raw wheat, 4 oz US 2 row barley,  at 165 for 30 min, 1/2 of Forbidden Fruit yeast smack pack.,

 

My 3 varying ingredients were Indian vs Supermarket coriander seeds/ Fresh bitter orange zest vs. Brewing store dried peel,/ Forbidden Fruit yeast smackpack vs saves WPL400 (4th generation). Everything else identical as I could. They were fermenting next to each other so same ambient temps.

 

I will use my home dried Bitter Orange peel for the next batch(es)

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On 12/11/2016 at 2:19 PM, Nickfixit said:

I think I have enough peel for a LOT of beer here. This is only most of 3 bitter oranges.

I think if you put in the pith too, you need a lot less. Still, I will see how much it is when dry.

imageproxy.php?img=&key=c4b820ad04ea323f

peel 20161211_154451.jpg

 

I don't like using the pith. It creates unwanted bitterness. That's why I zest all my oranges instead. Plus zesting/grating exposes more of the oils.

 

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1 hour ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

I don't like using the pith. It creates unwanted bitterness. That's why I zest all my oranges instead. Plus zesting/grating exposes more of the oils.

 

Indeed. The key here is "unwanted".

 

It all depends what taste you are trying to create.

I just finished off the last of my lime mandarin wheat beers,  extremely fruity because of lots of zest (no pith) and hops.  Totally un-Belgian but delicious.

 

This is part of an experiment in "Belgian-ness". For that taste, I think the pith is a "wanted" ingredient. 

More pith - less hops.

 

I do like the actual Belgian Wit beers, and as mentioned,  in some you can actually smell the pith.

 

That said, I really feel like making another batch of the lime mandarin wheat since I have 4 empty fermenters - lol. But I probably will stick to plan and make a 3 way split of Cooper's sparkling Ale.

Then another batch of wheats.
 

 

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OK I predictably  checked the 3 Wits to see how they are doing after only week and a bit.

None was like Hoegaarden - LOL, but all were nice drinks even now.

 

The ones with Forbidden Fruit yeast have to much citrus in them but the yeast flavors are very interesting - almost a mango/pineapple thing.

Also maybe more  malty taste in this - I can't fix that using the HME as all else I added was booster no added malt

Also too dark - can't fix that either except leave out the 2 row malt in the PM. or find a lighter color kind - maybe Pilsner malt?. All else was flaked wheat and flaked oats.

.

I did use fresh bitter orange zest AND juice so that is probably the excess Citrus thing.

They both seemed to be more acidic than Hoegaarden,

I can add some Chamomile to calm down the acidity.

 

I did not detect much difference between the 2 types of coriander.

1. Will continue to try both.

I think I liked the Supermarket round see aroma best but will still try both in next batch (3 weeks from now).

 

They were both under carbonated cf. Hoegaarden

1. Leave them longer

2. add more priming.

 

They were both lacking the Coriander in aroma from Hoegaarden.

1. Use more coriander. I used 1 TBS crushed. Online clone recipes use up to 1 oz./5 gal brew. 1 oz. is 5 TBS/15 tsp. But put some in for boil and some in after flameout.

 

More carbonation will bring out the AROMA TOO.

 

The one using WLP400 was also acidic and too citrus and not enough coriander but was better carbonated.

I used the dried bitter orange peel here. The yeast was good for citrus Wits before but I don't need citrus as much in this.

 

It appears to have  a fair kick to it although it does not taste strong.

 

Next check in about 3 weeks.

Thoughts welcome.

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Best Belgian Wit     --> ROUND 2

I made another 3 Wits today after studying all the info I gathered. Major fermentables were the Mr B. Bavarian W Bier  HME and 1 pack booster in all. (Ignoring steeping  stuff).

 

I made 2 brews with a fair amount of Peel  13g and Coriander 7g, one using store dried peel and one using home-dried peel. otherwise identical.

I included a 30 min steep of  4 oz flaked wheat, 4 oz 1 min oats, 2 oz pils malt and 1 oz aromatic malt.

 

I made the 3rd brew with less of both Peel  8 and Coriander 5g, but added 2 Chamomile Teabags to the last 5 min of the boil.

I included a 30 min steep of 4 oz flaked wheat, 4 oz 1 min oats, BUT NO pils malt and aromatic malt.

This steeping liquid was MUCH lighter in color and much more starch-gluey than the one with malts in it. I am thinking that was the result of no enzyme action. Still it does look more Wit-like.

 

So the first 2 brews are  really a test of

a) the 2 dried peels and

b ) those vs the 3rd test the use of pils and aromatic malts vs none.

The 3rd is less intense and sweetened up with the Chamomile in case the others are too harsh. I used the store dried peel here too for security B)

 

**I took all the flavoring ingredients out before putting the wort in LBK. The recipes I saw did that (strained the wort) and so does Hoegaarden.

 

The yeast in all was the saved Forbidden Fruit yeast. I had a settled 2 inches of trub in a 15 oz jam jar.  I changed the clear liquid for cold tap water, added 1/2 tsp sugar and shook it  then let it sit for an hr. Small bubbles were appearing after that. I shook it up again and used 1/3 of it for each LBK. The wort was around  68 for pitching. The room is 67 but I will bring it to warmer in a few days when it gets going.

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Added comment above

 

**I took all the flavoring ingredients out before putting the wort in LBK. The recipes I saw did that (strained the wort) and so does Hoegaarden.

 

The LBKs now have 1/4 inch of foam in them.

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Fermentation started at 67 or so  for a few days now I have it up around 73-74. I am trying to get it a bit higher in the next few days. then I will let it be cooler for the remaining 2 weeks in the LBK. The weather is cooperating and the heating system is on a lot which is was not initially.

 

This is based on Hoegaarden stating they ferment from18 deg. to 25 deg. C   - that would be 64.4 F to 77 F.

I have seen other references indicating start cool then run the temp up. But it smells SOOO good!

My understanding is that low initial temperature limits ester production and the higher later temp helps the fermentation finish and clean up.

I just hope these 3 work out well and are  not too citrousy and coriander.

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