Batch #2 – Witbier
For this Witbier I’m using a recipe from Greg Hughes’ book Home Brew Beer. A book that is often considered the “bible” of home brewers.
This is essentially a clone of Hoegaarden. From the reading I’ve done online this is a pretty close replica. I’ll get some real Hoegaarden in to compare when the beer is ready to drink.
You can see my recipe on Brewfather.
- 2.3kg Crisp Extra Pale Malt
- 2.3kg Crisp Wheat Malt
- 60 minutes: 35g Saaz 3.8%
- 1 packet Mangrove Jack’s M21 Belgian Wit
- Water: 1 Campden Tablet
- 15 minutes: 1/2 Protofloc Tablet
- 10 minutes: 25g Coriander Seed, 25g bitter orange peel
I filled a spare fermentation bucket with water and added the Campden tablet the night before I brewed. I hoped this would get rid of all the chlorine and chloramine in the water. Who knows if it actually made any difference?
In the morning, I poured about 18.5 litres of the prepared water into the kettle and set the temperature for 71°C. When the water reached strike temperature I slowly added the grains and mixed all the time.
I learned from my last brew and set the mesh screen on top of the grain bed, rather than on top of the overflow pipe. I turned the pump on and adjusted the flow rate so that there was a decent amount of water above the grain bed, but not overflowing. I kept the recirculation pump running for the entire mash, except for when mixing the grain bed.
I set the controller to 65°C to 60 minutes. Another tip I learned from from last time: I stirred the mash approximately every 15 minutes.
After the 60 minutes, I increased the temperature to 75°C for a 10 minute mash out.
I lifted the grain basket out of the brew kettle and then I began to sparge 1 litre at a time, with the remaining water in the fermentation bucket. In total I should have added 14.76 litres of water – I began counting the number of jugs, but as I reached towards the end I used the marker inside the kettle to ensure I hit the 30 litres mark.
During the sparge I set the kettle to bring the wort to the boil. My pre-boil gravity was 1.042 (expected was 1.037, so gained 5 points), much better than last brew.
I set the kettle to 2500W, 100°C for 60 minutes. In my last batch I didn’t get the expected boil-off rate, I think this was because the power was not high enough.
When the kettle reached the boil, I added 35g of Saaz (3.8%) to a muslin batch, clipped to the rim of the kettle.
With 15 minutes to go in the boil, I added 1/2 a Protofloc tablet and the immersion chiller.
With 10 minutes to go in the boil, I added 25g coriander seed (that I had toasted in a pan, and then lightly crushed) and 25g bitter orange peel to the muslin hop bag.
I was left with 25 litres in the kettle – which is the boil off rate predicted by BrewFather.
Chill & Whirlpool
When the boil was reached, I remove the muslin bag containing the hops, coriander and orange. I tried to whirlpool using a brewers spoon, but I don’t know how effective it was. I turned on the cold water to the immersion chiller and began to chill the wort.
When the wort reached 28°C I lifted the kettle higher, and drained the wort into a clean fermentation bucket using the tap (fitted with a bazooka filter). In my last brew I used the recirculation pump to pump into the fermentation bucket – but I got a lot of trub too. Using the tap meant I had 2 litres left in the kettle, but less trub in the FV – I need to decide what’s better.
Half-way through transferring the wort, I pitched 1 packet of Mangrove Jack’s M21 Belgian Wit yeast. I got about 22 litres into the fermentation bucket – it had a huge foamy head!
My original gravity was 1.046 (expected was 1.045, so pretty much spot on).
I set the head pad to 24°C and it kept this temperature reasonably accurately for the first week. At the start of the second week was another heat-wave, where temperature rose a bit.
Bottling, conditioning and tasting to come…