Bête Curieuse

My very first post for whatever you call this (a log of my brew-ramblings) was for a Belgian-style Witbier I brewed called Hermine. Hermine turned out pretty damn tasty, and the contribution by the Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit was amazing. It will pretty much be the only yeast I use in witbiers from now on. A few weeks later, I posted about another wheat beer, called Grodziskie, a traditional Polish beer that used pretty much only Oak-Smoked Wheat. 

Now, you may be wondering, "who the hell cares?" It is relevant, I swear!

I decided that it might be fun and interesting to blend these two beers together, so to speak. A nice, smoked witbier. So, that's what I did. 

Again, chose the use the Forbidden Fruit yeast for this batch. I am really looking forward to seeing how the tart, slightly acidic character from the yeast plays with the light smoke from the Oak-Smoked Wheat. 
The Grist was simple, 90% and 10% Oats. Also, I decided to add a bit of Gypsum to the water for this beer, just to harden it up a bit to try and accentuate the dry character. My local water is very very very soft. Despite this, I typically avoid salt additions to alter the water chemistry. I am a minimalist at heart. But, I thought I would try it, just to see. 

After Salt additions, my water read as: 
Calcium: 54.15 ppm Sulfate: 109.38 ppm
Magnesium: 7.39 ppm Chloride: 57.40 ppm
Sodium: 49.17 ppm Bicarbonate: 52.50 ppm
PH: 7.40
Enough of this bullshit, let's see the damn recipe!


Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal   
Bottling Volume: 5.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.035 SG
Estimated Color: 2.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 16.0 IBUs

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4 lbs 14.1 oz         Oak-Smoked Wheat (2.4 SRM)               Grain         1        60.9 %        
1 lbs 14.1 oz         Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM)               Grain         2        23.5 %        
12.0 oz               Oats, Flaked (Briess) (1.4 SRM)          Grain         3        9.4 %         
1.00 oz               Crystal [4.20 %] - First Wort 60.0 min   Hop           4        16.0 IBUs     
8.0 oz                Dextrose (Briess) (1.0 SRM)              Sugar         5        6.2 %         
1.1 pkg               Forbidden Fruit (Wyeast Labs #3463) [124 Yeast         6        -             

Mash Schedule: Witbier Mash 
Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 0.2 oz
Name              Description                                Step Temperat Step Time     
Protein Rest      Add 9.04 qt of water at 134.2 F            126.0 F       30 min        
Sacchar           Add 9.00 qt of water at 173.5 F            148.0 F       45 min        
Mash Out          Decoct 6.37 qt of mash and boil it         168.0 F       15 min 

July 17, 2014: Brew day 

I undershot my estimated efficiency a bit, which is why I added 8oz of dextrose. The beer is projected to finish around 1.007, which is right where I like it to be. I know dextrose in a wit isn't traditional, but to hell with it. Pitched a 1.5L starter Wyeast 3463 at 65F. I will ramp up the temperature to 72F in 24 hours, and then to 75F 24 hours after that, and ride the 75F for the rest of fermentation. I am really liking this Oak-Smoked Wheat the more I use it. It has such a distinct smoke character to it. It's definitely present, but not so overpowering. I do not have anything crazy planned for this beer beyond Primary Fermentation, but who knows, maybe I'll rack a few gallons onto some Nectarines or something. 




Rather than go back and try to recollect a bunch of details from a previous project/brew, I thought it would be better suited to make my first post on a current project, where all the details are fresh in my mind.
Hermine is a Belgian-inspired Witbier. My initial intent was to try a new yeast (Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit), but soon I decided that I wanted to start playing with ginger in some of my brews. Then, not long after, I thought it might be interesting to add some juniper with the ginger. For whatever reason, I always want to brew with juniper, though I rarely do, so here was a chance to incorporate some into a beer.
The Plan : 
Brew a total of 5.5 gals of a base witbier (recipe below). Pitch my starter of the Forbidden Fruit, and implore my fermentation regime (69 F for 24 hrs, increase to 72 F for 24 hrs, and then increase to 75 F for remainder of fermentation). After a two week primary, three gallons will be racked into a secondary fermenter, on top of 0.5oz Crystallized Ginger, 0.5 Juniper Berries, and 0.5oz Bitter Orange Peel.  The rest of the volume from primary will be bottled at this point (for a control and get a true sense of the yeast, which I have not yet used). The volume being aged with ginger, juniper and orange peel, will sit for approx 2-3 weeks more before being bottled.
Recipe Specifications

Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal   

Estimated OG: 1.040 SG
Estimated Color: 3.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 15.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
3 lbs                 Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM)               Grain         1        37.5 %        
3 lbs                 White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)               Grain         2        37.5 %        
8.0 oz                Oats, Flaked (Briess) (1.4 SRM)          Grain         3        6.3 %         
1.00 oz               Sonnet [3.80 %] - First Wort 60.0 min    Hop           4        15.4 IBUs     
1 lbs 8.0 oz          Candi Syrup, Golden (5.0 SRM)            Extract       5        18.8 %        
1.0 pkg               Forbidden Fruit (Wyeast Labs #3463) [124 Yeast         6        -             
0.50 oz               Ginger      (Secondary 7.0 days)         Herb          7        -             
0.50 oz               Juniper Berries (Secondary 7.0 days)     Herb          8        -             
0.50 oz               Orange Peel, Bitter (Secondary 7.0 days) Spice         9        -  

Created with BeerSmith 2 - http://www.beersmith.com

Brewed Feb 19, 2014 -
Step Mash Schedule
Protein Rest at 121 F for 30 min.
Infusion of 7 qts water at 210 F to bring Sacchrification rest to 158 F, held for 45 min. 

OG - 1.043 - 
Pitched starter of Wyeast 3463 (Starter from wyeast smack pack). 
Fermentation started within a few hours at 69 F. 
After 24 hours, temperature increased to 72 F 
After 48 hours, temperature increased to 75 F

March 6, 2014
Gravity down to 1.010                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Racked 2.75 gal into secondary fermenter with 0.5 oz Crystallized ginger, 0.5 oz Bitter Orange Peel, and 0.5 oz 
crushed Juniper berries. Remaining ~2.5 gallons were bottled with 3.0 oz dextrose for approx 3.0 vols CO2. Tasting sample: Yeast produces a rather astounding array of black pepper spiciness and a sharp tart character. I think I am really going to enjoy this yeast for the foreseeable future.  

Will report back in a few weeks with tasting notes from the bottled portion, and an update on the portion in secondary.