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BIAB Witbier / Blanche / Belgian wheat beer

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Hez

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After having brew a hefe-weizen / weissbier I wanted to try to make a belgian style wheat beer, I love both.

This will be our (I brew with my girlfriend) 5th beer ever.

Like the last two ones, I've been studying a lot about this style of beer, I've read several articles and forums... I put everything together and here it is my "recipe proposal". (I will make all the exact calculations once I have decided on everything)

As usual, I could use your help... Please, your advice is very welcome and much appreciated.
What would you change? Which things do you agree with and which ones you don't ? Why?


Water:

Sydney water (Mosman).
Final batch size: 10L

No extra chemicals added. I haven't done it so far and I think there's no need. I asked my brewing-stuff-supplier, who lives very close to my place, and he told me he has been brewing for a long time with this water directly from the tap and he doesn't know about any brewery around where they use other thing than tap water (no campden tablets, metabisulfites or anything).


Grain:

Est. OG 1.050
Color 2-5 SRM

50% flaked wheat
45% Pilsner malt (Weyerman floor malted)
5% flaked oats

I'm Brewing In A Bag, I think there's no point on using rice hulls.
Do you recommend this proportion or...
- 50% flaked wheat, 42.5% pilsner and 7.5% flaked oats?
- 50% flaked wheat, 40% pilsner and 10% flaked oats?


Mash:

30' at 48.8º (protein rest)
50' at 66.6º (saccharification)
10' at 75.5º (mash out)
Sparge at 75.5º


Hops:

15 IBU
60' 32.6g Tettnanger 1.7% alpha acid

I have a low alpha (1.7%) Tettnanger from the Weissbier and I think it will be perfect for this one too. Do you think 15 IBU is ok? The range for this style is suposed to be from 10 to 20, so... middle point.

Tettnanger info (https://bsgcraftbrewing.com/german-tettnang): "
-Origin: Germany. The major landrace variety in the region of the same name in far southern Germany, Tettnanger has common ancestry with Saaz but a unique profile due to its provenance. It is a classic European noble hop.
-Usage: Aroma. Tettnanger’s complex and delicate flavors make it ideal for traditional German lagers, particularly Bavarian styles, Weissbiers, and German or Belgian ales.
-Aroma & Flavor Characteristics: Shifting and evolving mix of floral, fruity, herbal and spicy - fresh herbs, grass, dried flowers, citrus peel, black tea. Can have a bit more intensity than Hallertau but with as much balance. "



Spices:

5' 10g fresh sweet orange peel (no white part at all)
5' 5g fresh grapefruit peel (no white part at all)
5' 15g chinese coriander (crushed)

I didn't find the dried bitter orange peel, I didn't like the look of the chinese dried tangerine peel (Miracle asian supermarket) and I've read that a combination of fresh sweet orange (2/3) and grapefruit (1/3) peel is a good substitute. Some people say it's even better than the dried curaçao bitter orange peel, I don't know.
I already have the chinese coriander (the round one). They say the indian one (oval shape) it's way better than the chinese one that has 1/2 of the fragance, so the original calculation was 10g (1g/L) but I'm cautious, that's why I propose 15g instead of the double (20g). Same for the orange/grapefruit peel, the good proportion is suposed to be 1g/L of dried curaçao peel but apparently it gives you double the aroma. I've read a typical beginner's error is adding too much spices and if you do so you end up with a ham/celery off flavour/aroma. I prefer to drink a good beer while eating jamón ibérico or moules-frites than having those in my beer.

I didn't include the chamomile (1.5 teabags for 10L) because it's one of the very few things I dislike. It reminds me when I was sick and my mother gave me a chamomile infusion. I puked most of the times. I don't care about the balance or other magic it makes to the beer...


Yeast:


Belgian Wit Ale Yeast WLP400
or
WB06 dry yeast ?

Aerate thoroughly and pitch at 20º


Carbonation:

3vol.

A little more than usual but nothing too crazy, I'm using regular "long-neck" brown bottles (4pines, kosciuszko, lord nelson, feral).
Dextrose or table sugar? I have both. They told me dextrose was better for enhancing the banana flavour I wanted for my german wheat beer but I don't know what's better for this one if there's any difference... maybe it's faster?
I'm only making 30 (33cl) bottles, so I'm using my modified-syringe-as-measurement-scoop method for calculating the exact priming sugar quantity for each bottle. Let's see how the weissbier turns out, but I think this way is very precise, fast (my girlfriend sanitizes and primes the bottles while I fill and cap them) and I don't need to use another container, clean and sanitize it or expose the beer to open air. If I were making a bigger batch maybe I'd buy a second container and do bulk priming but for 10l...


Cheers!
 

Hez

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Well, here it is the "final" recipe (I still haven't decided on the Yeast or the spices).
I don't think I will be able to brew this weekend, so I'll hopefully do it next one.


Grain:
2820g Total Grain
1410g Flaked Wheat (50%)
1270g Weyermann Pilsner malt. 3.5EBC/1.9L (45%)
140g Flaked Oats (5%)

Water plan:
15.00l mash
02.50l sparge (over the bag)
15.75l preboil wort
02.50l boiling water 30' into the boil (my kettle is small)
11.00l postboil wort (1l trub)

Mash:
30' at 48.8º (protein rest)
50' at 66.6º (saccharification)
10' at 75.5º (mash out)
Sparge at 75.5º

Boil 90':
60' 32.6g Tettnanger 1.7% alpha acid
10' 1/2 tablet Deltafloc
05' 10g fresh sweet orange peel (no white part at all) ?????
05' 5g fresh grapefruit peel (no white part at all) ?????
05' 15g chinese coriander (crushed) ?????

Estimated Gravity / ABV: OG: 1.050 SG - FG: 1.014 SG - ABV: 4.68%

Yeast:

- Belgian Wit II Ale WLP410: "Less phenolic than WLP400, and more spicy. Will leave a bit more sweetness, and flocculation is higher than WLP400. Use to produce Belgian Wit, Spiced Ales, Wheat Ales, and Specialty Beers. Available May/June $15.00"
Belgian Wit II Ale Yeast WLP410 70-75% Low-Med 67-74 °F Medium
or
- Belgian Ale Yeast WLP550: "Saisons, Belgian Ales, Belgian Reds, Belgian Browns, and White beers are just a few of the classic Belgian beer styles that can be created with this yeast strain. Phenolic and spicy flavors dominate the profile, with less fruitiness then WLP500. $15.00"
Belgian Ale Yeast WLP550 78-85% Medium 68-78 °F Med-High
or
- Belgian Wit Ale Yeast WLP400: "Slightly phenolic and tart, this is the original yeast used to produce Wit in Belgium. $15.00"
Belgian Wit Ale Yeast WLP400 74-78% Low-Med 67-74 °F Medium
or
- Safale WB-06: "A Dry wheat yeast that produces subtle ester & phenol flavour notes typical of wheat beers. Replaces Safale K-97. $6.00"
Safbrew – Wheat Beer Yeast WB-06 Medium Low 59-75 °F Medium
?????

Primary Fermentation: 7-8 days @ 18-22°C

Priming sugar: 3.0vol CO2; 3.1g dextrose or 2.8g table sugar per 33cl bottle.

Carbonation: Rest in the bottle for 2 weeks @ 18-20°C


------------------ Water calculations:
http://www.biabcalculator.com/
Grain Bill 2800g
Grain Temp 20ºC
Batch Size 10l
Mash Temp 48,8ºC
Boil Time 90'
Kettle Size 20l
Trub 1l
BoilOff Rate 4,5l/h
Grain Absorption 0,8l/kg of grain

Total Water Needed 19.99l
Strike Water Temp 49ºC
Total Mash Volume 21.86l
PreBoil Wort 17.75l
PostBoil Wort 11.00l


------------------ Efficiency/Grain calculations:
https://www.brewersfriend.com/allgrain-ogfg/
Wort Collected (pre-boil): 17.7l
Batch Size (after boil): 11l
Efficiency: 65%
Yeast Alcohol Tolerance *: Medium attenuation 72%
Grain
1.41kg Flaked Wheat
1.26kg Bohemian Pilsnet
0.14kg Flaked Oats
Estimated Pre Boil OG: 1.031
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.050
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.014
Estimated Alcohol By Volume:4.68%

Yeast Alcohol Tolerance *: High attenuation 74%
Grain
1.41kg Flaked Wheat
1.26kg Bohemian Pilsnet
0.14kg Flaked Oats
Estimated Pre Boil OG: 1.031
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.050
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.011
Estimated Alcohol By Volume:5.01%


------------------ IBU calculations:
https://www.brewersfriend.com/ibu-calculator/
Boil Size: 17.7l
Batch Size: 11l (1l of turb)
Target Original Gravity (OG): 1.050

Tettnanger hops pellets average alpha acid 1.7%, 60', 32.27g
Estimated Boil Gravity: 1.031
Total IBU: 15.00


------------------ Priming sugar calculations:
https://www.brewersfriend.com/beer-priming-calculator/
Amount Being Packaged: 0.33l
Volumes of CO2: 3Vol.
Temperature of Beer: 20ºC

CO2 in Beer: 0.86 volumes
Table sugar: 2.8g
Dextrose: 3.1g

------------------ Color calculations:
https://www.brewersfriend.com/srm-calculator/
Batch Size (after boil): 11l
Grain
1.41kg Flaked Wheat
1.26kg Bohemian Pilsnet
0.14kg Flaked Oats
SRM: 3.92
EBC: 7.73
 

Hez

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Still can't decide if I love or hate wheat beers. My only suggestion is cut all spices and let the yeast you choose do its thing. Work on it from there.
Apparently everyone here hates them...
Thank you for your help
 

MHB

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For me overdoing the spice is pretty common, well regarded commercial clones of Hoegaarden use less than 15g of Coriander and Curacao / HL(100L) , a lot of home brewers use more in 20L.
Probably a better choice for summer drinking, but I'm one of those who do love it.
Mark
 

Hez

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Your nose and your palate. Brew it, if you like it, do it again. If you find it may not be up to your expectation, then try a Belgian Saison.
Thanks! I'll do a belgian saison Next. I'll tell you how this goes anyway... But you'll have to wait three weeks jejeje
 

Hez

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For me overdoing the spice is pretty common, well regarded commercial clones of Hoegaarden use less than 15g of Coriander and Curacao / HL(100L) , a lot of home brewers use more in 20L.
Probably a better choice for summer drinking, but I'm one of those who do love it.
Mark
I used to work as an ski instructor in the French Pyrenees some years ago (before becoming a dull software engineer) and we used to drink a lot of a Blanche on tap from northern france they had back then. I loved it. Lots of good memories..

So, what do you think? Should I cut down to 10g of coriander and 10g of the mixed fresh orange sweet/grapefruit peel ? Should I do 5 or 10% on the oats?
Last time, with the weissbier I didn't use the Munich malt and I got a bland beer. I don't want this to go the same way...
 

manticle

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Sorry if I missed it - what yeast?

For coriander - very fresh indian or home grown, crushed and dry toasted, added to the boil in very small amounts. It has a delicate citrus character.

Tett is a fine choice, styrian goldings are also great
 

Hez

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Sorry if I missed it - what yeast?

For coriander - very fresh indian or home grown, crushed and dry toasted, added to the boil in very small amounts. It has a delicate citrus character.

Tett is a fine choice, styrian goldings are also great
I decided to use the " Belgian Wit Ale Yeast WLP400" eventually but I still have doubts about the % of the flaked oats and the amount of spices to use...

Before coming here to Sydney I used to have all the aromatic plants outside my kitchen's window so when I was cooking I could grab some fresh parsley, thyme, rosemary, coriander... But here I don't have a window in my kitchen or the plants, what I have is cheap chinese coriander seeds.
I will do as you tell in the future though. Thanks for the advice!
 
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manticle

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Underdo, rather than overdo the spice.
Yeast choice sounds good.

Not sure about the oats - seems like a typical US type overcomplication.
Pils, unmalted wheat, good mash, good yeast, light fresh spice additions, job done.
 

Hez

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Underdo, rather than overdo the spice.
Yeast choice sounds good.

Not sure about the oats - seems like a typical US type overcomplication.
Pils, unmalted wheat, good mash, good yeast, light fresh spice additions, job done.
Does 1g/L sounds like over or under doing? I don't know!

I think I'll go with:
- 10g of coriander seeds
- 6.6g of fresh sweet orange peel
- 3.3g of fresh grapefruit peel

Yes, I've read some US forums and different articles online and all of them agree on the oats but they don't agree on the quantity some say 5 others 10%. If you don't do it and you get a fine one, maybe that's a hint, so I'll go with 5%.
It's believed to be in Pierre Cellis' original recipe... The thing is that guy never told the whole recipe to anyone but he gave some hints to some people and the oat thing was amongst them.

There are some very interesting readings about this kind of beer, detective work jeje

By the way, Feral's wit beer is really really similar to the Blanche I use to have in France, try it if you haven't yet, but pour it in a big glass first, you can't taste it properly directly from the bottle. I'm sure they put way more than 3 CO2 vol in those bottles..
 
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homebrewnewb

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Hey @Hez , how did you go on settling on the recipe?

I am looking at the BYO one. Sure you have too.


But after reading this thread i will change it based on your suggestions and use Tettnanger

I would like to try the W 400 but will probably have to settle on SafAle
I like the idea of Grapefruit and Orange zest. Might take me back to Bosco's
And i am thinking if cucumber might work... hmm.
Any thoughts on chamomile or is this going a little off kilter?
EDIT just read why you say NAY to that.

flaked wheat
Pilsner malt
flaked oats
Munich malt
227 g rice hulls or other natural filter
Tettnager hops (60 mins)
fresh citrus zest (5 mins)
crushed coriander seed (5 mins)
dried chamomile flowers (5 mins)
 
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Hez

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Hey @Hez , how did you go on settling on the recipe?

I am looking at the BYO one. Sure you have too.


But after reading this thread i will change it based on your suggestions and use Tettnanger

I would like to try the W 400 but will probably have to settle on SafAle
I like the idea of Grapefruit and Orange zest. Might take me back to Bosco's
And i am thinking if cucumber might work... hmm.
Any thoughts on chamomile or is this going a little off kilter?
EDIT just read why you say NAY to that.

flaked wheat
Pilsner malt
flaked oats
Munich malt
227 g rice hulls or other natural filter
Tettnager hops (60 mins)
fresh citrus zest (5 mins)
crushed coriander seed (5 mins)
dried chamomile flowers (5 mins)

Hi @homebrewnewb !
I think I'm all set up, yes... at last! jejeje

I will eventually do:
- 50% flaked wheat
- 45% pilsner
- 5% flaked oats
- WLP400 (wet regular belgian yeast tipe 1)
- Tettnanger hops for bitteting up to 15 IBU
- 1g/L cracked coriander seeds (5')
- 1g/L 2/3 fresh sweet orange peel, 1/3 fresh grapefruit peel (5')

I'm going to pick up the stuff this evening and I will brew it during the weekend. I'll tell you how it goes...

You know I'm a total rookie and this will be my 1st witbier, so I can only speak from my readings. Most of it was based into that article you linked which I read a couple of weeks ago, but it's a really good one! Thanks!

About the orange/grapefruit peel, I asked my supplier and he told me the dry bitter orange peel is probably impossible to import to australia being " basically untreated mouldy orange peel" and this alternative seems legit (I found the idea in a US forum where one guy quoted it from an "expert brewer").

I'm using the Tettnanger just because my last beer was a german hefe-weizen / weissbier and I have some left. I've read they come from the same family as SAAZ and Hallertauer which are the typical hops used for this kind of beer. I know "thinking all bittering hops are the same is ludicrous" (someone pointed it out when I used chinhook into my dry irish beer, which turned out to be the best beer I've made so far, by the way), but being a low-alpha hop and from the same family... yep, I supose is all right. In fact I've read in other forums it's a common substitution and some people actually prefer using this variety instead of the Saaz.

Regarding the chamomille and other spices, almost every recipe calls for 3 "tea-bags" of chamomille per 5gallon (=~20l) of beer, but I don't like chamomille, so I'm not using it. Let's see how it goes without it. If you want to stick to the original recipe, I think that's a must, though.
I've read in every article/forum everyone has a secret-special addition, being common: anise, cardamom, black/gren/red/pink pepper-seeds, juniper berries and even chili peppers but always very very subtle, less proportion than coriander seeds and citrus peel. I will go simple for my first time, maybe I'll go crazy next time...
I think it would be a good idea to make an infusion/tea with them in different proportions to see if you like the taste, but I guess it hasn't much sense if you haven't brewed one before.

I'm really interested in your beer, please tell me how it goes!

cheers!
 

homebrewnewb

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@powerdog69 did mention he brewed an award winning Wit, i did ask if he was feelin' generous with the recipe but i'm still waiting ;p
Good luck Hez, report back, i will be doing mine in a week or two.
 
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Hez

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@powerdog69 did mention he brewed an award winning Wit, i did ask if he was feelin' generous with the recipe but i'm still waiting ;p
Good luck Hez, report back, i will be doing mine in a week or two.
jejeje
so much secrecy with witbier! :p

ah! I forgot to say one little detail more...
I've also read people don't use irish moss / deltafloc / whirfloc in this beer! So I'm ditching it from my recipe...
 

Hez

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We did it on friday. It's in the fermenter bubbling a lot.
I finally corrected my kettle measurements. I think the other beers we've made so far turned out good because of pure luck, they were so wrong...

I improved my BIAB technique as well and so my efficiency from a terrible 65% to a pretty miserable 68%. With this one I calculated the grain for obtaining an OG of 1050 with 65% and with the correct exact water and all I got ~1052.5.
Last time the FG was suposed to be 1012 and ended up being 1010, this time it is suposed to be 1014 but after 1 day the airlock was dancing like a masai, so if it reaches 1010 I'm going to have a highly alcoholic witbier... and this one is not going to be bland, this one is going to need knife and fork. jejeje I don't know if that's good or bad, I supose is bad if you don't end up with what you planned, but... well, we'll see.
Should I have added some extra water to the fermenter?

So what did I change to get this extra 3% on efficiency? Well, the stepped mash I think is helping. I also changed the way I stir the malt into the mash, instead of moving the paddle around back and forwards for a couple of minutes I tried to do it by spinning the paddle itself and I did it when I poured the grain and while raising the temp from one step to the next one. A part from that, I found out that my kettle fits inside one of those insulated bags, so I used one to keep a constant temp in every step instead of constantly play with the burner. It also made things easier.

I also changed the way I make the sparge. I used another kettle with one of those things for steaming vegetables, moved the bag over there and did the sparge in this second pot while the big one was reaching boiling temp. On top of that, this time I used the correct temp for the sparge, I did it way slower and I got less transparent water while saving time...

But not everything was good... I decided to listen @manticle and use 0.5g/L of spices so... as my coriander is the chinese one, instead of using 5.5g I rasied it to 8g, so far so good but when I was peeling the orange and the grapefruit I saw the 5g and I thought... what the f***?! it seemed so little that I peeled a little more and suddenly I realized I had doubled the amount. It just seemed right to me, so I went with that... 6.6g of orange and 3.4g of grapefruit peel. My last beer came out a little bland and I didn't want this to be the same... I think that was a mistake. After chilling, when I transferred the wort to the fermenter all I could smell was orange. And that's what I got after tasting the wort from the hydrometer. So I did exactly what I read 215312341435 times not to do! It doesn't matter how much you read and plan, experience it's everything! jejeje

Anyway. More next week when I bottle.
 

manticle

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Good luck with it. Might be perfect for your tastes - otherwise tweak it next time.
 
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