The weather is getting warmer (finally) and lighter beers seem to go well with sitting on the porch, going to the beach, and backyard BBQs. My brother and I recently brewed a Belgian witbier together with the idea of having it ready to drink in time for the warm weather. The recipe is pretty straight forward, mixing barley malt with wheat and adding lemon and orange zest to give a subtle citrus fruit flavor to the final beer. Here is the recipe:
1.25 lb. CaraPils malt
1lb. Flaked Wheat
3.3 lbs. Breiss Pilsen light liquid malt extract
2 lb. Wheat dry malt extract
1 oz. East Kent Goldings hops (60 min)
0.5 oz. Saaz (15 min)
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (10 min)
0.5 oz. Saaz (5 min)
White Labs 400: Belgian Witbier yeast
Steep malts 30 min at 120-150 F. Add extracts and bring to a boil. Add hops at times shown. Ferment for 7 days, then rack into the secondary container and ferment for 7 more days. One note: the temperature was a little cooler than I would have liked for fermenting an ale, I think the yeast contributions would have been a little stronger with higher fermentation temperatures.
Hoppy Boston Witbier pours a deep orange, cloudy with a large white head (the beer is slightly overcarbonated). The smell starts with some citrus fruit, along with notes of wheat and some esters from the yeast. The beer is light, crisp and easy to drink. The wheat malts add some spicy flavors while the hops give a touch of woodsy pine. The Belgian yeast is present, contributing some mild fruit and pepper . The lemon and orange are also mild, adding some complexity to the overall flavor. The finish is clean with a little lingering spiciness and citrus flavor in the tongue. The beer is perfect for spring and summer, light bodied and easy to drink but still flavorful.