Monthly Archives: May 2012

Belgian Wit Brewday


Belgian Wit near boil

After finally drinking a Blue Moon (Coors product), I found that I really enjoyed it quite a bit.  It was a warm, sunny day and it went down pretty well.  I had held off on trying Blue Moon over the years because it was a Coors product, and I guess I should not be so snobbish when it comes to trying beer.
With the warm weather approaching, I decided I wanted to give a Belgian Wit a try.  I had intended to start with the recipe from Jamil’s book, but wound up at the homebrew store without my ingredient list, so I opted to use the homebrew shops recipe.  Why not?
So here it is.
I am two days into the fermenter as I write this, and as expected, the krausen is huge with the Wyeast 3944, and I’ve read elsewhere it may not fall even when I reach terminal gravity.  Pretty cool, and quite a different yeast.  I made a 1L starter with a 1.030 wort, and had activity within 4 hours of pitching.  I love starters!

There was a nice citrus and honey smell with the wort, which I loved.  I am pretty sure though that the fermentation process will carry away a lot of that aroma.  Before bottling, I will take a small sample, and if necessary infuse some more spices.


Download File

Belgian Wit

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G):           5.5
Total Grain (lb):         10.000
Total Hops (oz):          0.75
Original Gravity (OG):    1.042  (°P): 10.5
Final Gravity (FG):       1.011  (°P): 2.8
Alcohol by Volume (ABV):  4.13 %
Colour (SRM):             4.1   (EBC): 8.1
Bitterness (IBU):         16.9   (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 63
Boil Time (Minutes):      60

Grain Bill
5.000 lb Pale Ale Malt (50%)
2.500 lb Flaked Wheat (25%)
2.500 lb Torrified Wheat (25%)

Hop Bill
0.75 oz Liberty Pellet (5.4% Alpha) @ 75 Minutes (Boil) (0.1 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill
0.03 oz Chamomile @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
0.40 oz Coriander Seed @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
1.50 oz Orange Peel @ 5 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 154°F for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 64°F with Wyeast 3944 – Belgian Witbier


Mash at 122F for 15 minutes, then raise to 154F for 60 minutes.
Boil for 90 minutes to drive off any DMS precursors
Ideally start fermentation at 68F and then raise to 72F for the last 1/3 of fermentation.

5 gallon mash.  122F for 15 minutes, then raised to 154F for 60 minutes.
4 gallons after mash and at 13B.

Placed grain bag in 2.5 gallons of 170F water and 4B when finished.

Total was 6.5 gallons at 10B

Pitched 1L starter of Wyeast 3944, Belgian Wit.  Had this in the 1L 1.030 wort for ~28 hours.

Activity started in 4 hours in primary after pitching.

Hop Starts


After approximately four weeks from planting my centennial rhizome in my large pot, I am finally seeing some activity.  I will say, my location has not been too warm until recently, at least not steadily.  We had a 90F day yesterday after having several mid 80’s days’, but the hottest days are done for now.  Back to low 80’s and 70’s tomorrow.
But, I will relax a little now, knowing that the rhizome was not just a dead stick that I put into the soil.
I had read many online instructions for planting hop rhizomes and they ranged on planting depth from 1″ to 6″ deep.  I ended up with mine being planted around 5″ deep.  After my wife had 60-90 bulbs taken by the little wretched creatures known as squirrels, this year, I wanted to keep this rhizome on the deep end.  I doubt very much squirrels would want to dig up a root for a hop plant, but you never know!
The picture above isn’t too impressive, I’ve already seen pictures of hop cones in Arkansas from this year, but for me just getting this late start, in cool wet Portland, I’m pretty happy.
Next planned beer (I already have the ingredients) Belgian Wit



Hops In Pots

I’ve taken some initiative finally and have decided to grow a hop plant.  One hop plant this year just for a test, and to gauge results.  Yep, just one.
I am currently renting a house in a decent part of town and plan to move into my own house (our own house since I’ll include my wife with this move) in the next 3 to 4 years.  With that in mind, I didn’t want to plant the hops permanently, nor did I want to have 20 feet of hops growing somewhere where my land lord, who lives next door, would have a concern about.


My plan was to copy what Chris Colby, editor of BYO, had done at his house in Bastrop, TX.  He wrote an article covering the container trellis method in BYO, as well as had an interview with James Spencer on Basic Brewing Video about this method.
The basic idea is to get a 8′ tall 2″x2″ and place it inside the large container.  Place a eyelet on the top of the 2″x2″ and run some twine through it.  As the hop grows up the twine and reaches near the top, let out slack on the twine so that the hop plant drops down slightly, giving it again more room to grow ‘up’ the twine towards the top of the 2″x2″.

If all goes well, by the end of the growing season, I should have 15-20 feet of hop plant (probably less the first year) on a twine, of which a good portion is coiled around the container, but off the ground.  I can then easily harvest the cones when they are ready.


You can see here to the left my finished container hop trellis.  I failed to take any decent close up pictures, but there isn’t much to take a picture of yet.  I’ll update the method as the growing season goes by.

It’s been about two weeks since I planted the rhizome (pictured above) and I haven’t seen any growth yet.  We’ve had mostly cool wet days since planting, up until three days ago.  Now we’ve had some upper 70F days and I’m hoping for a shoot or two to appear in the next week.

So, for this project I just purchased a $5 rhizome from my local homebrew store, Centennial, I purchased two bags of potting soil, mixed in some of my own sandy soil with it, and placed all of that in a large black plastic pot.  I placed that inside a 1/2 whiskey barrel since it was sitting around unused.  I place my 2″x2″ in the pot, filled it up with soil, and placed my rhizome in it about 4″ deep.  I’ve watered just a couple of times since we’ve had cool wet weather until just recently.

Check out the Chris Colby article, he has a picture of some of his container hops growing up the twine, as well as a good video representation of this on James Spencer’s Basic Brewing Video.