The process of brewing this beer was discussed a few weeks ago – the cultivating of yeast from a six pack of Hoegaarden. If I believed what I read online, I would have not tried this experiment.

“Probably not the same yeast they use for fermentation.”, they said.

“The brewery pasteurizes the bottles before shipping them out.”, they said.

Sometimes, and for my homebrewing life most times, you just have to see for yourself. That’s why we brewed us this Hoegaarden White Beer using the bottle dregs for fermentation.

How Did It Taste?

It sounds like hyperbole but it’s really a fact: this beer is the best Belgian White Ale I have ever brewed. Without question, the dregs gave my recipe something that the other witbiers just didn’t have. There was a silkiness to the mouthfeel, a rockiness to the head, and a yeast-derived flavor component that I haven’t been able to get from commercial examples of the same yeast profile.

Now the first two components on my mini-review above didn’t come from the dregs. No – it came from the flaked wheat that made up 50% of the grain bill. Never again will I use malted wheat for a witbier. I have seen the light and it is clear that this style needs to use flaked wheat.

Mike says I should try to brew this beer again using the dregs from the keg. That is an idea I’d like to try and instead of coriander and bitter orange peel, I’d like to brew it with some chamomile and fresh orange zest. I don’t have a direct line to fresh oranges but maybe with enough time, I can zest a bunch of oranges while the brew kettle is boiling away.