My wonderful girlfriend Erika has been so understanding of my brewing hobby and has gone so far as to show some genuine interest. We both enjoy craft beers when we are out and about, and she prides herself on how far she has come in appreciating really good beer (she’s a reformed Bud Light drinker). I too am proud while guiding her through her beer enlightenment. But when she said she wanted to brew a beer from beginning to end herself, I was downright giddy. What a woman! She tends to like lighter ales (not too bold or hoppy) and when we were at a World of Beer a few weeks ago, she tried a Wittekerke, which is a witbier. Witbier is german for “white beer” and is essentially a belgian wheat beer brewed with coriander and orange peel. She enjoyed it, as did I. Much better than a Blue Moon. So I suggested that this may be a good style for her to tackle. I designed the recipe and we went to Southern Brewing and Winemaking in Tampa to fetch the ingredients. She weighed out and milled all the grain herself. We grabbed the hops, yeast, coriander and orange peel. On brew day, I set up the equipment and guided her through each step. She asked questions, I explained the “why” behind each stage, explained all the weird terms such as “sparge”, “hot break”, “trub” and she even took notes. Below is the recipe for the 2.5 gallon BIAB.
2.25 lbs Weyermann Light Wheat
2.25 lbs Weyermann Pilsner
0.7 lbs Flaked Oats
Strike Water: 3 gallons
Protein Rest: 20 min @ 122 F
Saccharification : 60 min @ 152 F
Sparge: 1 gallon @ 170F
Boil: 60 min
Hops: 0.5 oz Hersbrucker at 60 min and 15 min
0.5 oz Coriander seeds (cracked) @ 10 min
0.5 oz Orange Peel @ 1min
Yeast: Wyeast Belgian Witbier 3944
The wort after cooling was remarkably clear when transferred to the fermentor. This style is usually hazy like most wheat beers, so it will be seen whether the yeast will lend a haze to the end product. Here are the stats.
Original Gravity: 1.047 (Target), 1.053 (Actual)
IBU: 26.44 (tinseth, calculated)
SRM: 3.46 (morey, calculated)
Target ABV: 4.5%
She did a great job and she’s done with the hard part, because bottling a batch this small will be a cinch. Then again, the hardest part is always the waiting.