Darwin's Beard!

With all of my brews I like to try something new, a new technique a new style or a new ingredient. Tonight I am doing all three.  It’s one thing to do tons of research, to do everything by the book and follow someone else’s recipe – and way that will absolutely get you results, most of the time, but I prefer to just jump in, get my hands dirty and try different things. I learn more that way and even if it means my beer ends up off style I still end up with something uniquely mine.

This month’s brew will be a Witbier, a new style for me, inspired by the classics like Hoegaarden and Blue Moon.  To start with I’ll be including some oats in the mash, just a couple of hundred grams or so, to give it a bit of creamyness. I haven’t had much luck with oats in the past, but that’s probably because I’ve overdone it. I’ll also be acidifying the mash with a little citric acid, this should help reduce the bitterness by inhibiting any tannins coming from the malt as well as adding a little citrus bite.

The Belgium Wit beers are well known for their spicy, orange flavors, so I’ll be adding a pinch of coriander (just 3 grams, as I really don’t want it to be overpowering) and 30g of dried orange peel. Depending on how this brew turns out I might play with adding some fresh orange zest as well in following batches.

As this is a wheat beer I don’t want to get too crazy with the hop editions, so apart from the pre-hopped extract I’ll just add an additional 100g of citra at the end. I’ve had a lot of good success with citra in the past, it gives a nice fresh lemony aroma, which should match this brew quite nicely.

For the yeast I’ll just be using a fairly simply Bavarian blend (Wyeast 3056) rather than a Belgian strain because I don’t want too many phenolic or estery characters coming through. I’ll also try collecting this yeast after fermentation is complete for use in future projects, so again I’d prefer a more versatile strain.

This is, of course, just the plan for tonight, let’s see how things go – tasting notes to follow!