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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2004 * April 13, 2004 * Witbier spices < Previous Next >

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Paul Hayslett (64.252.41.115)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 03:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My next-but-one batch will be my first Wit and I'd like to start collecting the spices I'll need. I've combed the standard recipe sources and come up with the following list of possibilities. What do you folks use and in what amounts (for 5 gal batch)? I'm looking for something more complex than Hoegaarden but not overpoweringly spicy.

coriander seed
dried bitter orange peel
dried sweet orange peel
grated fresh orange peel
grains of paradise
cumin
anise
camomile
cardomon

A normally unimpeachable source insists that fresh orange peel, even from standard navel oranges, is vastly preferable to any dried peel and that the paradise seeds will be overpowering in any but the tiniest amount. She also says that Wyeast Forbidden Fruit is preferable to Wyeast Witbier yeast. Is she right?
 

Beerboy (81.134.87.11)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 03:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Don't know about the yeast but I know a little about spices in cooking.

Coriander seed gives the orangey flavour you get in a wit, not the peel. The orange peel gives some bitterness and a herbal type flavour. The fresh peel will give some orange flavour if added late.

I can't comment on Grains of paradise.

Cumin has an earthy flavour so I imagine would blend quite nicely.

Anise, well it has an aniseedy flavour, IMO quite overpowering, (personally I'd steer clear of it if I were you).

Camomile seems an odd choice, if has a flavour that's hard to describe. Sort of flowery and herby...odd!

I love cardomom, a very assertive spice, which again I would think would be a bit overpowering in a beer. If you use it use a light hand.

I'm thinking of making a Wit soon So I'll be very interested in what you do, and your results.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 04:13 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I don't know of a wit that doesn't use coriander. For best results, grind the whole seeds to powder and add them in the last 15 minutes of the boil.

Most wits use bitter orange peel, largely to replace the bittering hops, although it is added in the last 5-15 minutes of the boil. It does have some flavor of its own. Some people use the fresh zest of seville oranges in its place. I have only used the dried bitter (curacao) orange peel.

Grains of paradise are indeed strong; I recommend using them sparingly. They have a distinct peppery character. Some saisons use grains of paradise, and they are not unheard of in wits in tiny amounts.

A few wits use sweet orange peel, but I would call it untraditional. It is not very bitter. If you use fresh orange peel, use only the grated outer orange skin (the zest). Using the white inner pith will contribute an undesirable ham-like flavor.

I have only used Wyeast 3944 in wits, but I would be interested in hearing the results of a wit fermented with Wyeast 3463.
 

Jake Isaacs (160.129.126.219)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 05:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I put 2-4 oz of fresh grated ginger root (last 5-15 min of boil) in my Wits. It meshes really well with the tangyness from the unmalted wheat, IMHO.

I've tried lemongrass and lime zest, but didn't seem to use enough to get the flavor I wanted.

I haven't tried chamomile in a wit, but I once made a chamomile blonde ale that was pretty tasty. I used 1 oz of flowers, which was probably a bit over the top. Incidentally, it was the clearest extract beer I ever made.

I typically use 3522 for wits, fermented in the low 70's. I've been wanting to try 3463, though.
 

fob (199.184.119.58)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 05:37 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's a review of a corriander-free wit: www.ratebeer.com
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 05:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I put an oz. or so of dried chamomille in the last wit I made and from now on it's going in every one! Added a lovely herbal presence to it.
 

Bill Pierce (24.141.129.137)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 05:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

That's interesting, fob. I stand corrected in that there is a witbier without coriander. To my knowledge, however, it's a minority of one.
 

Chris Colby (66.25.196.39)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 06:47 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've added lavender to a wit before; it's not a traditional (or common) wit spice, but it works. Go easy, though.

Chris Colby
Bastrop, TX
 

Denny Conn (140.211.82.4)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 07:11 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Colby, you're a madman...and I mean that in the best possible way!
 

Doug J (24.145.193.125)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 10:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey there! Todd Ashman, formerly of Flossmoor and now of Titletown Brewing in Green Bay, WI, recently shared some his thoughts on Wit. He adds a whole cornucopia of spices outside the normal, including rose hips, heather tips, and other wacked-out stuff I never would have thought of. Be creative!
 

Chris Colby (66.25.196.39)
Posted on Friday, March 26, 2004 - 11:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Denny. I just like trying new things when I brew.

Just today I had an idea for what to do next with my evolving schwartz wit recipe. I want to brew a normal wit alongside a slightly lower gravity schwartz wit, then make a "schwartz und wit" (like a black and tan) from them when I serve the brews.

The cool thing (to me at least) is that, unlike a normal black and tan, you wouldn't switch gears in beer flavor. (Going from a creamy, flavorful stout to a light lager never made much sense to me, flavorwise.) For the most part, you'd just be tasting wit throughout. However, a transition in the spices might add a little flair . . . or maybe the "white wit" could be more flavorful than the "black wit," reversing the usual flavor profile of a black and tan. Something to try after my upcoming "lamb-pagne" (Champagne-style sparkling lambic) experiment, I guess. Or would it be, "plamb-ppagne?"


Chris Colby
Bastrop, TX
 

Sand (216.201.45.28)
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 01:22 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just made a wit this week and put in fresh orange peel for the first time. One of the spices I have always put in my wit is a few ground cardamon pods.

Sand
 

Mark Zgarrick (68.252.225.211)
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 02:37 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've used dried galangal & coriander in a Grand Cru with great success. Galangal is a relative of ginger and is used in Thai cooking. Amounts were .2 oz dried galangal, .5 oz coriander seed (course grind), and .7 oz bitter orange peel all for 5-10 minutes (end of the boil).

(BTW, not affiliated with Penzeys, just a satisfied customer)
 

Paul Hayslett (64.252.36.92)
Posted on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 05:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, all. This is great! Ginger is probably out -- I love it but I'm making a ginger beer later in the spring. But all the rest sound good.

It's going to be hard to decide. It would be too easy to throw in too many flavors and end up with a mess. I can see that I'm going to have to make up some infusions of different combinations to get a feel for how the flavors mesh. Luckily my wife has a well-stocked spice cabinet (including galangal, no less) which I can raid. Chamomile-cumin-rose-hip tea anyone?
 

Beerboy (81.134.87.11)
Posted on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 08:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chris, how are you going to make your schwartz wit?

I had a thought on that a couple of years ago but forgot all about it. On the black and tan thread if you mixed them together you could call it a mixed race beer ;)

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