As a beginning homebrewer, I got lucky and struck gold. Literally: my improvised recipe for an imperial spiced witbier won a gold medal at the 2010 National Homebrew Competition.
This is my fifth rebrewing of that recipe, tinkering with it each time. I don’t often repeat in my brewing schedule, but I enjoy learning from iterations of this recipe.
I won a bag of Weyermann’s Floor-Malted Bohemian Pilsner malt in the Michigan Beer Cup and used it in this brew, replacing all of the typical pilsner malt. Compared to previous batches, I added a small amount of rye malt (10%) and slightly reduced the amount of table sugar. The rye addition was inspired by Short’s Ginger in the Rye, a rye + ginger + Munich ale. And I used lemon zest instead of my usual orange peel as that’s what I had on hand.
I used locally-grown Michigan ginger (!) from Argus Farm Stop:
Brewed October 01, 2016:
Uneventful brewday. Standard water adjustments, then added lactic acid to mash to adjust pH. Mashed around 149F. Yield was about 11.5 gallons of 1.069 wort. I missed my target OG of 1.074, but that’s fine for this beer.
Started fermentation at basement temperature (~66F), then brought fermenters upstairs to hit much warmer temps later in fermentation (mid 70s).
November 2016: Kegged 5 gallons that finished around 1.012 (7.5% ABV). Added half a jar of old Chambord Deluxe Orange Marmalade to the other fermenter, dissolving it in warm water and microwaving. I’d wanted to add more citrus to the beer, and had this sitting around. At only about 6 oz. of marmalade, this will have a minimal impact.
Bottled the marmalade batch on November 20th, aiming for 2.7 vol CO2. It finished at 1.009 (7.9% ABV).
March 2017: this has been a hit; the consensus is that it is not as good as the original 2010 effort, but the closest I’ve come. I entered the Chambord version into this year’s Nat’l Homebrew Competition. The rye is subtle; I’ll omit it next time, the roughness clashes with the otherwise smooth, floral, fruity beer.
Here’s the recipe. The 1.0 units of chamomile refers to a single tea bag, the other units are ounces. I sliced the ginger, ground the coriander, and added all the spices in a nylon steeping bag. This is for a 12 gallon batch, adjust the spices accordingly for a smaller batch.
|Batch Size||Boil Time||IBU||SRM||Est. OG||Est. FG||ABV|
|12 gal||60 min|
|Red Wheat (US)||11 lbs||36.91|
|Floor-Malted Bohemian Dark Pilsner (DE)||10 lbs||33.56|
|Oats, Flaked||3 lbs||10.07|
|Rye (US)||3 lbs||10.07|
|Sugar, Table (Sucrose)||2.5 lbs||8.39|
|Rice Hulls||4.8 oz||1.01|
|Magnum (US)||1.5 oz||70 min||Boil||Pellet||12.4|
|Whirlfloc Tablet||1.0||10 min||Boil|
|Lemon Peel (Dried)||0.1||5 min||Boil|
|Chamomile (Dried)||1.0||5 min||Boil|
|Ginger Root (Fresh)||2.9||5 min||Boil|
|Coriander Seed||0.5||5 min||Boil|
|Belgian Witbier||Wyeast||74%||32°F - 32°F|
|Download this recipe's BeerXML file|