Friday, April 30, 2010

A Dry Wit

A couple of weeks ago I was really in the mood for a Belgian style wit so I decided to pull out the brewing gear and work on something simple. I tend to think of beer names and design recipes around them and "A Dry Wit" spoke to me that day so I decided to do a lower finish gravity wit. Went with extract since it was already Sunday afternoon and I didn't want to be brewing late into the night. I went with the following recipe.





Size: 5 gallons (ended up with a little over 4 gallon when it hit the fermenter)
OG: 1.056
FG: 1.011
Estimated Color: 5.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 15.7 IBU
ABV: 5.87%
3lbs Wheat DME (Bavarian is all they had so it was about 70% wheat, 30% barley)
2lbs 8oz Extra Light (pils) DME
0.5 oz Cluster (7.9% AA) for 60 minutes
0.5 oz Cluster (7.9% AA) for 5 minutes
0.75 oz Coriander Seed for 5 minutes
0.75 oz Dried Bitter Orange Peel for 5 minutes

I boiled the pils DME for the full 60 minutes and added the wheat DME for the last 5 minutes.
I decided to try a Fermentis dry yeast since I'd never used their product so I pitched 1 package of SafBrew WB-06 wheat yeast dissolving in water per the directions on the Fermentis web site. I cooled and moved to a 6 gallon glass carboy for primary. Pitched a little high at 80°F since it was a little cold out and the temp was likely to drop quickly. About 12 hours later, fermentation was going well at about 70°F.

The next morning the temperature had fallen into the 60's so I decided to put a heating pad against the fermeter and wrap it in a small blanket. This held the remainder of the fermentation in the low to mid 70's. 

After a week in the fermenter, I'd hit final gravity to I bottled. I filled mostly 1L flip tops with a couple of 1qt. fliptops for tasting. I used about 6oz of the remaining DME and I pitched another packet of the WB-06 (again, using the web site directions) to ensure enough yeast for a quick carbonation.

I'm tasting the final product for the first time tonight, about 5 days after bottling.

It's fairly well carbonated but not quite as high as I'd like. Not bad for 5 days conditioning at low room temperature. The head is white with larger bubbles and nice lacing. Dissipation time is medium but it does eventually disappear completely. The color is golden with a slight brown hue and definitely cloudy.

There's a heavy banana and phenolic nose, mostly clove. There's a slight creamy or buttery character but it's barely perceptible. I'm not sure if it's a little diacetyl or if it's due to the heavy banana esters.

The taste is predominantly wheat with a distinct breadiness on the middle palette. Mouthfeel is medium and smooth, rather nice. There's a fairly long finish but the bread is gone and replaced with an astringency and slight fusel quality.

I suspect it needs to mature a little longer but beaing a wit I wouldn't want to let it sit more than another week or so before I tear into it again. A few more days should soak up any diacetyl that's present and hopefully smooth the astringency in the finish.