There are a few styles that I really want to brew right. Witbier is one that I have brew a few times and I have not been satisfied with any of my efforts.
Last Saturday, I gave it a try again. I bought a kit from Northern Brewer because it was there and it was an easy click to put in my online shopping cart. Unfortunately, I bought the wrong yeast so I had the awesome idea of cultivating yeast from commercial beers.
I bought three different versions of witbiers and made starters with the dregs of each. 2 of the 3 showed some activity so I used those two in my beer.
The kit itself had simple instructions. They were definitely written for the experienced homebrewer.
I am guessing since the recipe had oats in it, the mash included a protein rest. I had never done one before but I went ahead and held the mash at 122°F for 20 minutes before the 60 minutes at 152°F. No big deal.
More coriander and orange peel in this beer too. I write “more” because the saison kit I brewed had those ingredients in it too.
To keep the white beer cloudier for longer, I added a cup of wheat flour in the boil with fifteen minutes to go. I read this tip in a few different places so I felt it would help me get the look I want. In the past, my witbiers have cleared up way too quickly and it has affected my scores in competitions. We’ll see how that works out.
The big thing about white beers is keeping the fermentation temperatures cool so the funky flavors of the yeast don’t get too funky. Since it is still summer and the air temps are still warm in the house and outside, I put my fermentor in a water bath. This version of a swamp cooler should keep my carboy’s temperature in the 60 to 70°F. The cold water coming out of the tap is around 56°F so the vessel is well insulated here.
I have some high hopes for this brew. If I can get that smooth, refreshing taste that I like so much in the commercial versions. Maybe some cultivated yeast is the way to go.