Author Topic: When is a Wit not a Wit?  (Read 1791 times)

Offline brewmasternpb

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When is a Wit not a Wit?
« on: May 20, 2013, 10:11:51 PM »
Hey gang,
I want to make a beer that, for all intents and purposes, comes from a wit recipe but uses a slightly different yeast.  I want to use either WLP550 (Belgian ale) or WLP575 (Belgian Ale Blend) and not the usual Wit yeast.  I know that, by foregoing the Wit yeast(s), I am not going to get a beer that is exactly a wit.  I'm ok with this, as I probably won't enter it into a competition, I just don't want to make something awful. 
I usually think that you can combine any wort with any yeast, as long as fermentation, temperature and sanitation are good, and you'll have drinkable beer.  However, I have heard that Wits need that yeast to be good, because of the unmalted wheat.... I've settled that though, and am not using unmalted wheat.  I amusing Pilsner malt, white wheat and Oats (golden naked and flaked).
The reason I don't want to use the wit yeast is because I reuse yeast, and I want to do other styles later on, and the Wit yeast isn't great for the styles I want to do.
Any experience here, or knowledge related to the above mentioned yeast strains will be greatly appreciated.
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2013, 10:29:17 PM »
It will be fine. You won't get the clove character as much by using 550 or 575 and it will be fruitier.

Personally I'm not a huge fan of 575 so I would rather use 550 but that's just me.
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Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2013, 10:31:40 PM »
Good call. I've been brewing a long time, but have never used any "normal" Belgian strains... I've used the Wit, Saison, American Farmhouse blend and the Unibroue strain, so I will probably start with 550.
Dave Malone
The Greater Denver Yeast Infection

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2013, 06:39:49 AM »
You get lots of character from Belgian yeasts, so you might be missing a bit of what you'd expect in a wit, but IMO if you keep the % of wheat appropriate and add coriander and orange peel you'll be getting pretty much what you're hoping for.

I've not used 575, but I make a lot of beers with WY3522 (same strain as 550).  IME, it's great for the paler Belgians but it has almost a tartness that may not be what you're looking for in wit.
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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2013, 09:54:16 AM »
re you trying to make a beer that tastes like a wit?  Have you considered making another Belgian style that might be more appropriate for the yeast?
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2013, 10:26:43 AM »
You get lots of character from Belgian yeasts, so you might be missing a bit of what you'd expect in a wit, but IMO if you keep the % of wheat appropriate and add coriander and orange peel you'll be getting pretty much what you're hoping for.

I've not used 575, but I make a lot of beers with WY3522 (same strain as 550).  IME, it's great for the paler Belgians but it has almost a tartness that may not be what you're looking for in wit.

+1

This is what Ommegang does for Witte (they use their house yeast), and its listed as a commercial example in the BJCP guidelines.
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Offline gmac

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2013, 10:47:48 AM »
re you trying to make a beer that tastes like a wit?  Have you considered making another Belgian style that might be more appropriate for the yeast?
+1

Offline a10t2

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 11:16:33 AM »
The Unibroue strain would be a good choice, IMHO. It's pretty phenolic.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2013, 11:34:45 AM »
The Unibroue strain would be a good choice, IMHO. It's pretty phenolic.

I LOVE this strain. Is it still a Wyeast PC or do they carry it regularly (its not listed on the website)?
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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 11:36:24 AM »
I LOVE this strain. Is it still a Wyeast PC or do they carry it regularly (its not listed on the website)?

I'm not sure what Wyeast's plans are for it, but it's a really easy one to culture up from a bottle.
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 11:45:07 AM »
I LOVE this strain. Is it still a Wyeast PC or do they carry it regularly (its not listed on the website)?

I'm not sure what Wyeast's plans are for it, but it's a really easy one to culture up from a bottle.

Good point - and good excuse to pick up their sampler four-pack that Trader Joe's is carrying...
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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2013, 12:58:09 PM »
The Unibroue strain would be a good choice, IMHO. It's pretty phenolic.

I was going to suggest this earlier but it wasn't on his list of yeasts he wanted to use.  I'd do the Unibroue strain over 550 or 575.
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 09:21:29 PM »
re you trying to make a beer that tastes like a wit?  Have you considered making another Belgian style that might be more appropriate for the yeast?

Yes, which was how I got started with this post anyway.  I originally just wanted to to do a summer beer with wheat and oats.  When I created the recipe, it looked an awful lot like a wit, so I went from there.  The next beers I do with this yeast will be a Belgian Blonde, a dubbel and a Trippel.  Since those were to be to style, I'm ok with this one being out of style.
Dave Malone
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Offline brewmasternpb

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 10:35:12 PM »
Honestly, I may go without the spices, so as to separate it from a wit...
Dave Malone
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Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: When is a Wit not a Wit?
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2013, 04:43:42 AM »
Honestly, I may go without the spices, so as to separate it from a wit...

If you're not brewing for competition, and you don't care to put the spices in, don't!

My favorite part of brewing a summer beer with Belgian yeast is harvesting for a nice Tripel/BDS that will be ready in the fall.
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