I had originally planned to have the three 'wedding beers' re-brewed and available for the holiday parties and gifts (alot of people have been asking for bottles), but unfortunately, I couldn't get to all three. I got a surprise day off on NYE, so I promptly made a trip to the LHBS, and grabbed some pils base malt, a vial of WLP400 then to the grocery store for some chamomile and fresh citrus. Chamomile as the 'secret spice' that makes wits pop was reinforced through pouring through some of of homebrew books, so despite my impression that chamomile tea kinda smells like dirt (not earthy...just like dirt) I figured I'd give it a go.
Since Spanish grown clementines are in season, I went with those over the unripe looking sweet navels. I chose correctly, as the zest was very aromatic and left an orange oil haze on the plate I zested on. Couldn't find the indian coriander though, had to go with the packet of Brewer's Garden stuff I already had...that change will have to wait until the next iteration.
I've found that last minute brew sessions can be pretty pricey, as compared to good ol' planning ahead.
- The pils base malt was 3 times the price as buying in bulk through the Boston homebrew club.
- There was only one selection of 100% chamomile tea at the grocery store...most are blends. $9.99 for .79 oz. You gotta be kidding me. I wish I knew of a local herb shop that sells bulk herbs, but I suspect that I could do a little better than ~$202/lb for those little flowers. Hmmm...lets see: YUP. Oh, but you might have to suffer with an ugly utilitarian plastic bag instead of the oh-so-nice aluminum tin and gimmicky tea bag fortified with paper tea pot support scaffolding.
A few other changes from the first iteration that hopefully will impact the beer in a positive way:
- 1000ml yeast starter made on a stir plate vs. swirling periodically
- mid 60F fermentation temp
- Use of rice hulls in the sparge
- Mid-primary addition of 2lbs of eatlocalhoney
The only item I can talk about now is the big impact of the 1lb of rice hulls on the sparge. It slowed a bit toward the end, but in general, the sparge went just as quickly as an all barley beer, which is a welcome departure from some of the snail-like-sparges in the past.
A few notes about this beer...the last batch of bumble was actually the only time Ive ever had true success with the witbier style. I'd say that the biggest/majority of problems I've had with brewing have actually been isolated to this one style, except for the terrible attenuation I had with my quad. I've been plagued by stuck sparges, hot ferments resulting in severe off flavors, strange astringency issues, and other problems that stemmed from less than optimal (ok..it was bad) process and technique. As with most things with life, I think I've learned the most from those mistakes, as nothing is harder for the proud homebrewer than to declare defeat and dumping each bottle, one by one, down the drain. The initial sniffs from the first bubbles from the fermenter (wheaty/spicey/yeasty...no fusels) are telling me that all is well in witbier world.
|Bumble, batch 2|
Type: All Grain
Batch Size: 6.50 gal
|Boil Size: 7.44 gal||Asst Brewer:|
|Boil Time: 60 min||Equipment: My Equipment|
|Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0||Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00|
Est Original Gravity: 1.055 SG
|Measured Original Gravity: SG|
|Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG||Measured Final Gravity: SG|
|Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.49 %||Actual Alcohol by Vol: %|
|Bitterness: 39.7 IBU||Calories: cal/pint|
|Est Color: 6.0 SRM||Color: |
|Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body||Total Grain Weight: 11.75 lb|
|Sparge Water: 2.83 gal||Grain Temperature: 72.0 F|
|Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F||TunTemperature: 72.0 F|
|Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE||Mash PH: 5.4 PH|