MT Witbier Version 2 : Batch 29 : All-Grain
As I’d mentioned a while back when brewing my MT Wit #1, I was fortunate to receive a big bucket of unmalted wheat from a friend whose family owns a farm here in MT. The first round was riddled with mistakes, but ultimately turned out a decently quaffable product. For round 2, I had a few changes I wanted to make that I felt would improve upon the original. First off, I wanted to up the amount of wheat. I felt that the wheat was a little lost in the first batch, and I wanted to raise the OG a bit. Second, I had missed the orange flavor altogether in my first batch, which I would blame on using regular navel oranges and not a ‘bitter’ orange. I’d also ended up with WAY too much chamomile flavor in the first batch, which needed to be addressed.
Ingredients: MT Witbier Version 2
- 5 lb Raw Wheat
- 3 lb American 6-row
- 10 oz Oatmeal
- 3 lb American 2-row
- 1 lb Munich malt
- 1 oz Bitter Orange Peel (dried)
- 1 oz Sweet Orange Peel (dried)
- .3 oz Crushed Coriander
- .3 oz Chamomile
- .5 Northern Brewer (7.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
- 1 oz Tettanger (5.1%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
- 1 oz Tettanger (5.1%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
Safbrew T-58 – A specialty yeast selected for its estery somewhat peppery and spicy flavor development
Additional Details / Notes
- SG 1.062 / FG 1.014
- 6.24% ABV
- Brewed 06/18/11, Secondary 07/07/2011, Kegged 07/13/2011
- Fermentation temps: ~60° in Primary, ~75° Secondary
Brewing the MT Wit/Wheat
As with the original MT Wit, I did a cereal mash. As I upped the wheat and 6-row, this was a much different undertaking than the first time. 5 lbs of wheat is a bit to run through a corona mill, and took some time. Then my cereal mash was obviously a lot bigger with the extra 3 lbs of grain. I’d neglected to purchase Oats for this batch, so I opted for Quaker Oatmeal out of my cupboard. Maybe not perfect, but it worked on the fly.
I did the cereal mash with about 2.5 gallons of water (1 jug / 1.5 tap). I held the temp at 122° for 15 min, then 150° for 15 min, then raised to +185° to biol and kept that going for 15min. As the pot was boiling, I got the remaining grains to 122° in the mash tun and held that for 15 min, then added the contents of the boil pot together with them. The first time around I had 3 lbs less, so I didn’t think about how much hotter this was going to make things… it took a bit of ice to get the temps down to 156°
The recipe I used has a 90 minute hop addition, so I added the hops pretty shortly after the boil got to rolling. I added the wort chiller and Whirfloc at 10min, and the orange, coriander, and chamomile at 5min.
Cooling was interesting… I had the pot on the edge of my patio so the WC water would flow in to the lawn. Timing is everything, and my sprinklers came on. Probably added a bit of sprinkler water to the pot, but not a ton. Eventually cooled, I filtered in to my fermentation bucket and ran the oxygen for about 40 seconds. Sprinkled the yeast on top and let it soak in for a few minutes before stirring, capping, and placing in my 60° beer fridge.
Drinking the MT Wit 2
This one turned out interesting… First off, the yeast has full control of this beer. The character of this beer is highly defined by the yeast, which has a lot more of a German Wheat character than an American Wheat, which I think would generally have much less yeast character, and rely more on the ingredients used. It’s not ‘bad’, it’s just something it helps to prepare people for. My drinkers tend to be more aware of American Wheat beers than German ones.
The orange does contribute to the character of this beer, which was certainly my intention when added 2 oz of dried orange peels. Is it what I wanted? No. I really wanted a bright orange flavor, like you’d find in a shock top. I got some orange character, but it’s more of a sour, bitter orange, than sugary sweet. I have yet to determine how to create those flavors.
This beer aged poorly. A week after bottling, this beer was pretty great. As it aged, the yeast mellowed a little bit, and gave way AGAIN to the chamomile. As with my first batch, the wheat didn’t end up cloudy, but crystal clear. That’s fine, but I would have liked better cloudiness and body on this beer.
This beer was okay, but had an awkward balance of flavors. I think I’ll push the oats next time around, use an clean yeast (Wyeast 1056), and find better orange balance. Or… I may try a Dunkelweizen next. We’ll see!