Beer Style: Witbier (16A)
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5 US gallons
Flaked wheat is available from homebrew shops, but can also be found in health food stores or natural food sections of supermarkets. I MUCH prefer flaked wheat to raw wheat berries. The flaked wheat is already gelatinized. The raw wheat berries should be boiled and gelatinized, and that's a mess. Also, there are different wheats available, and it's not clear to me that what's available in the health food stores is the same wheat as the Belgians use. The wheat malt in the above grain bill was a hedge, and in retrospect could have been flaked wheat.
Flaked oats are available from homebrew shops, but rolled oats (such as Quaker oats) could be used.
Somewhere in Michael Jackson's writings, I'm pretty sure he says that Hoegaarden Wit has a grain bill as follows:
50 parts barley malt
45 parts wheat
5 parts oats
While my grain bill used a bit more barley malt than these proportions would suggest, I was nervous about conversion and my starting gravity. Not to worry -- the deliberate low temperature rests and long rest times did the trick, and I got about a 1.050 beer.
Ground coriander is a great spice, and I thought that 20 gms would not be too heavy-handed. Incidentally, there are different types of coriander seeds available. Instead of going to the spice rack of your favorite grocer, go to a spice specialty store to seek out the larger coriander seed that is more "noble" -- that is, aromatic and flavorful.
Ideally, the orange peel should be from the curacao orange. Here's a thought -- use a dash of orange curacao liquor in the beer. I used McCormick dried orange peel to no apparent bad effect. If I were to do things again, I might up the amount a bit, or substitute something fresher.
Cardamom is a very elegant spice with a lemon-citrusy aroma and flavor. I use it lightly for background flavor and character.
Wyeast Belgian is a strong-gravity performer, but I used it here in a conventional-gravity beer. It did contribute a bit of its own flavor, though somewhat muted. I racked onto the yeast cake from a just-racked beer, and maybe that contributed a bit of pleasant dryness to the beer. I'd love to get my hands on Hoegaarden or Celis yeast, and failing that, might use Wyeast "London."
The suggestion in HBD to add a dash of lactic acid for some tartness sounds like something to try. As the acid is quite concentrated, it shouldn't take much.
Process was an upward step infusion mash:
110 degrees F for 45 minutes
122 degrees F for 45 minutes
144 degrees F for 30 minutes
150 degrees F for 90 minutes
Spices were added in the last 10 minutes of the boil.
Source: Tony Babinec