Monday, November 12, 2012

Black Witbier


Sometimes when I am coming up with beer recipes I don't end up brewing them for months or even years. A couple summers ago I was throwing around the idea of opposite styles in one beer. By that I mean, Black IPA, East India Porter, Session Double IPA, White Stout, and the style I thought would be interesting to brew, Black Witbier. I had seen this style only one time before with The Bruery Orchard Black and enjoyed that when I had it. The idea of creating a unique new style of beer that doesn't conform to the BJCP regulations grabbed ahold of me. I just needed a time to brew it.


I looked around my home brewery this week at what malts and yeast I had and the idea of the black wit came back to me. I have an Allagash White culture that I had stepped up three times and have a big slurry waiting for some new sugar to eat. I had read somewhere previously that Allagash only uses there house yeast strain to bottle condition White and that other yeast strains are used to condition their other beers. The yeast ripped through my starters in a day or so and seems pretty strong and clean on the smell so I am going to use it.


I also have some new malt that I haven't used before including Briess Chocolate Wheat and Briess Midnight Wheat. These two malts are pretty interesting. According to the Briess website they should provide amazing dark color without the harsh tannic bitterness that roasted barley usually gives. Midnight wheat in particular has one of the darkest lovibond ratings I have ever worked with at 550 L. I found a recipe in BYO Magazine for The Bruery's Orchard White and it looked relatively simple with all of the wheat character coming from 4 pounds of flaked wheat. I actually had 8 pounds of flaked wheat sitting around from a planned lambic that I probably wont brew so it was perfect. There is also an addition of flaked oats, which should help boost mouthfeel. I am really looking forward to the final color and grain bitterness level of the final product on this one.


In most witbiers subtle spicing is usually present. In The Bruerys Orchard Black they use Chamomile, coriander and orange peel. In their version of Orchard White they use lavender, coriander and orange peel. I wanted to go with something different on this beer. I am using one zested grapefruit with the juice as well and also white peppercorns slightly crushed. I have used grapefruit zest in the past and love the results with more of a tropical and tangy flavor coming through in the final product. I have also used pepper before and with using only 20 peppercorns in a light Brett Saison I barley noticed any flavor. I decided that with a stronger flavor in is beer I would double the amount this time. White pepper is more subtle than black pepper because it has had it's skins removed which hold a lot of those stronger favors.


I tend to experiment when I brew. Why brew something that everyone else has brewed. Forget styles and forget what you think you won't like. Witbiers are typically summer beers, lets see what happens when it's turned on its head and drank in the winter.

Recipe Specs:

Anticipated O.G. 1.057
Anticipated IBUs 19.45
Anticipated SRM 51


7.5 pounds American Two Row
4 pounds Flaked Wheat
1 pound Flaked Oats
1 pound Briess Chocolate Wheat
1 pound Briess Midnight Wheat
1 pound Rice Hulls


.50 ounces German Magnum 13.1 aau @ 60 mins. = 19.45 IBUs

1 ounces Grapefruit Zest and Juice @ 10 mins.
.5 ounces Crushed White Peppercorns @ 10 mins.

Allagash White yeast stepped up three times


11/12/12 mashed in with 5.75 gallons of 161 degree water to hold mash at 150 degrees for 90 mins. Collected 8 gallons of 1.052 S.G. wort pre-boil. Boiled for 60 mins, chilled and aerated for 30 mins.

Black Witbier 1.055 O.G. 19.45 IBUs

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