Belgian Wit

Belgian Wit

(5 gallons/19 L, partial mash)
OG = 1.049 FG = 1.010
IBU = 19  SRM =  ABV =

0.5 lb. light crystal malt (20°L)
0.5 lb. flaked wheat
0.5 lb. flaked oats
0.5 lb. malted wheat
0.5 lb.Belgian pilsner malt
4 lbs. Laaglander unhopped weizen malt extract syrup
2 cups light honey
4 AAU Brewer’s Gold hops (0.5 oz. of 8% alpha acid)
2 AAU Styrian Goldings hops (0.5 oz. of 4% alpha acid)
0.5 oz. crushed coriander seed
0.5 oz. grated dried bitter
orange peel (curacáo)
Belgian witbier yeast (Wyeast 3944, White Labs WLP-400 or equivalent)
1 cup Munton’s light DME (for priming)

Step by Step
Steep the crystal, wheat and pilsner malts, plus the oats and flaked wheat, in a grain bag in 2.5 gallons water at 150° F for 45 minutes. Remove the grains and rinse back into the brew kettle (through a colander) with an additional quart of hot tap water.

Add malt extract syrup and honey to kettle, bring to a boil. Add Brewer’s Gold hops, boil 30 minutes. Add Styrian Goldings hops, boil 15 minutes, remove from heat. Add coriander and orange peel, steep 30 minutes. Top up in fermenter to 5.25 gallons, cool to 68° F and pitch yeast. Ferment one week at 68° F, rack to secondary and condition two weeks at 55° F. Prime with DME, bottle and age three weeks at 50° F.

All-grain option:

Heat 12 qts. water to 161° F. Crush together 3 lbs. malted wheat, 4 lbs. Belgian pilsner malt and 0.5 lb. light crystal malt. Add with 0.5 lb. flaked oats and 0.5 lb. flaked wheat to water, hold at 150° F for 75 minutes. Runoff, sparge with 14 qts. at 167° F. Bring to a boil, follow hop and spice schedule as above. Final boiling volume should be 5.25 gal.

Issue: September 2000

Belgian wit had all but disappeared when Pierre Celis began his brewing career in the 1950s. Celis is credited for reviving the style in Belgium during his stint at the Hoegaarden brewery; then he moved to Texas, launched his own Belgian brewery and kick-started the style in the United States.