Batch #2 & #3 – Witbier & Raspberry 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.
The raspberry version was only decided upon once brewing had started. More information below.
- 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.
As expected, this had a huge krausen so I made a blow-off tube into a bottle of sanitiser.
I transferred half the beer into a second fermenter, primed with 90g of table sugar that I had dissolved in some of the beer in a pan. I then bottled and got 19x 500ml bottles. I left them to carbonate and condition for a few weeks.
Adding the Raspberry
With the remaining beer, I transferred it off the yeast trub into a second fermenter, and added 700g of frozen raspberries that I had defrosted / refrozen twice. The raspberries went into a sanitised muslin bag.
My notes here are a bit sparse: I think I left the raspberries in the fermenter for a week. After a week, I removed the muslin bag.
I primed the raspberry beer with 86g of table sugar, dissolved into some of the beer. I then bottled directly from this second fermenter. Unfortunately, some of the raspberries had escaped the muslin bag and began to clog the bottling wand. Eventually I filtered the beer through a mesh strainer and bottled using a jug. If I was doing this again, I’d filter and transfer into another bottling bucket.
I ended up with 18x 500ml bottles and 1x 2l re-used Subs Torp. Unfortunately, due to the hot weather and the poor seal on the torp, this exploded all over the spare bedroom leaving a nice pink residue!
I left the beer to carbonate and condition for a few weeks.
The plain Witbier was ready first, so that is what I sampled first. A nice light colour with a nice white head. Probably under carbonated for a Witbier, which I was surprised about, so the head doesn’t last long. A nice smooth and very low bitterness taste, but maybe a slight sweet finish? The F.G. was 1.010, so the final taste is surprising. I wonder if this is a slight diacetyl taste. Maybe I should have performed a diacetyl rest after fermentation (or maybe I rushed it)? I haven’t compared against Hoegaarden, which this recipe is inspired by.
The raspberry Witbier is up next. A lovely pink colour with a white and slightly pinkish head. Much more head that the plain beer, and better carbonation. I primed with less sugar than the witbier, so maybe the raspberries have done something. Very drinkable, and a slight sourness from the raspberries. Not a strong raspberry flavour, may add some raspberry syrup next time too.
Both beers are very refreshing to drink cold on a hot day. I’d definitely make the raspberry beer again, but maybe not the plain.