Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wit of Baldur - Belgian Wit Recipe and Documentation

Here is the competition Documentation for my Belgian Wit:

Wit of Baldur Belgian Wit
Category: Beers
Subcategory: Top Fermented - Light
Tuesday July 06, 2010
(Recipe for 5 gallons)
Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00 Wort Size (Gal): 5.00
Anticipated SRM: 6.1
Actual OG: 1.056 Plato: 13.80
Actual FG: 1.012 Plato: 3.07
Alc by Weight: 4.53 by Volume: 5.80 From Measured Gravities.
ADF: 77.8 RDF 64.7 Apparent & Real Degree of Fermentation.
% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
80.0 6.00 lbs. Alexander LME - Wheat America 1.037 4
6.7 0.50 lbs. Aromatic Malt Belgium 1.036 25
6.7 0.50 lbs. Flaked Oats America 1.033 2
3.3 0.25 lbs. Wheat Malt Belgium 1.038 2
3.3 0.25 lbs. Rice Hulls America 1.000 0

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
0.50 oz. Styrian Goldings Pellet 5.25 11.7 60 min.
0.50 oz. Saaz Pellet 4.30 9.6 60 min.
0.50 oz. Saaz Pellet 4.30 1.6 5 min.
Amount Name Type Time
1.00 Oz Bitter Orange Peel Spice 15 Min.(boil)
1.00 Oz Corriander Seed Spice 5 Min.(boil)
White Labs WLP400 Belgian Wit Ale

Heated 2 gallons of water to 172°. Added grains (premixed) , stirred and let steep for 60 min. Strained grains. Added 1 gallon of 168° water to grains, stirred and let stand for 20 min. Strained liquid into rest of the wort. Brought 3 gallons to a boil. Added Syrian Goldings and Saaz hops. Let boil for 45 minutes. Added Bitter orange peel. Let boil for 10 minutes. Added Corriander and rest of Saaz Hops. Let boil for 5 minutes. Flameout.
Cooled wort using sanitized 2 liter bottles filled with ice in the brew bucket. Transferred wort via spigot on my converted keg brew kettle. Once converted pitched yeast at 86° with OG at 1.053 (1.056 when factoring temperature.)
Bubbling active next day for 4 days. After 4 days noticed just a few bubbles. Waited it out and bottled after 14 days.

Log Notes:
This recipe is from a kit from stein fillers. My goal at this point is to make good examples of each style in order to understand the brewing of many different styles. I knew that this beer would not have a true wit color due to using malt extract, as extracts tend to be a bit darker than their all grain counterparts.
I did encounter a couple issues with brewing this beer. Bits of orange peel kept clogging the spigot as I was draining into the fermenter. I will use a grain bag next time. This was something I didn’t even think of. I got as much as I could out through the spigot, then had to pick up the very hot brew kettle with oven mitts and pour the rest into the fermenter. It was definitely a learning experience.
This style has become one of my favorites due to its unique flavor and refreshing drinkability. When I do this style again, I will add lemon zest to increase the citrus flavor to this beer, and do an all grain version to get the color closer to style.
Historical Notes:
Tracing this recipe through history seems to be a difficult task. Reseach I’ve done leads back to weisse beers and weizens, neither of which are very recognizable as the beer presented. There are references to a weissbeir being produced in the city of Hamburg in 1410. It is noted as being made primarily from wheat instead of barley and having very low alcohol content (2-3% ABW) and a sour flavor from open fermentation. One modern example of this style is Hottenroth from The Bruery in Placentia CA, although its flavor is drastically different from above.
Although it seems a staple to this style, I could virtually no information on the origins of a style using exclusively corriander and orange peel. Using herbs and spices in making beer of course harkens back to the style of the most medievally maligned of beers, gruit ale. Both corriander and bitter orange peel have been used in beer since the ancient Egyptians, among other ingredients. However in the mid to late 1700’s coriander specifically was viewed as an adulterant to beer. Something that lower brewers would add to their beers to allow them to save substantially on the cost of malt and hops.
In The London and Country Brewer, published in 1736, we see the following on the use of coriander:
“There is another sinister Practice said to be frequently used by ill persons to
supply the full Quantity of Malt, and that is Coriander Seeds: This also is of a
heady Nature boiled in the Wort, one Pound of which will answer to a Bushel of
Malt, as was ingenuously confessed to me by a Gardener, who owned he sold a
great deal of it to Alehouse Brewers for that Purpose, at Ten-pence per Pound. ”

Although the ingredients used in this beer were being used to make beer in period, there is little to no evidence that this specific combination enjoyed any degree of success to be documented about. A period version of this beer would most likely be a Berlinner Weisse style gruit, without hops.

Designing Great Beers, Ray Daniels, Brewers publications
A History of Beer and Brewing, Ian S. Hornsey, The Royal Society of Chemistry
The London and Country Brewer

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