As the list of “Beers to Brew” just keeps growing rather than getting any smaller, I hardly ever get the chance to make a second batch of a really successful or popular [among friends] beer. Therefore I figured it was about time to take one for the team and put my list on hold in order to recreate one of the best brews that I’ve crafted thus far.
Witbeard, otherwise known as the orange-coriander witbier of champions, was the second all grain beer that I’ve ever made. First brewed about 6 months ago, this concoction was designed from a commercial recipe called Merci Pierre. The original recipe was a simple American White, requiring a rather ordinary yeast strain. Yet, I decided to go the distance and use a Belgian Witbier yeast strain from Wyeast Labratories! I’m convinced that it ended up making all the difference in the final product by providing the perfect ester production to compliment the use of freshly grated orange peel. I don’t deny that my magical touch definitely helped as well!
Moreover, being 6 months ago, I had yet to purchase a mash-tun and instead brewed with a make-shift Brew-In-A-Bag (BIAB) method. With a boiling pot much too small to fit the amount of liquid needed for sparging, the brew day took me much longer during that first attempt. Ironically enough, I still managed to end up with a lower original gravity this time around! So even though my equipment and technique have improved dramatically, somewhere along the way I lost “efficiency”, which is why that will become my short term goal – improving the efficiency/starch conversion of my mashing process.
In any case, I was really excited to brew this beer again! Boiled with orange peel, along with additional peel & coriander added to the secondary, this beer marvels the senses. The main weakness of my first attempt that I tried to correct for this time, was the harshness of the coriander. Therefore, I added less to the secondary and increased the amount of orange introduced throughout the process. I really want the fruit aspects of the beer to POP; but even more than that, I want to smell & taste a marriage between the wheat and citrus flavors.
Witbeard is now in the bottle, maturing and awaiting my taste test. I plan on leaving a small portion of the batch on the side for a few months, analyzing the change that age brings.
After my original attempt, I kept six bottles of the brew for many months even after the rest of the batch had been drunk. I was surprised to find out that the taste improved dramatically (mainly since the alcohol by volume was only 5%)! The harshness of the coriander had dissipated, letting the citrus rise to greet all of the senses. The aroma was full of bready, orange peel notes, while the pallet tasted a complex mixture of acidity, sweetness and a spicy but smooth finish. Just describing those flavors again is getting making my mouth water (I guess it’s time for a beer)!
Only time will tell, but I have a feeling this beer will far outdo its former self and bring an even greater reaction from friends, family and of course, yours truly.