Author Topic: Red Witbier?  (Read 2293 times)

Offline skyler

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Red Witbier?
« on: May 01, 2011, 10:51:26 AM »
So I have been asked to provide a witbier for my club's booth at the Davis Beerfest this June. I'm a little burned out on the style, and I believe there will also be a saison and an American Hefeweizen pouring out of our jockey box, so I was hoping to make this one a little different. What do you guys think about adding 1.5% Carafa Special III at sparge to an otherwise classic witbier recipe? I understand the Bruery makes a "black" witbier... but would a "red" one still taste summery and nice?

Offline denny

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2011, 11:54:07 AM »
If all you want is color, Sinamar would be easier.  You can just add a bit at a time til yo get the color you want.
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Offline skyler

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2011, 01:59:34 PM »
Sinamar requires an online order of a 45 min drive for me... Do you think the flavor contribution of a little de-husked Carafa would clash? Also, do you think a 12 SRM witbier would be pretty, or would it look muddy/ugly? If I could get it red or orange or even pink, that would really be great. I have also thought about color/flavor adjustment by using a pinch of Special B. It wouldn't be a witbier then, but do you think it would still taste nice and summery? Keep in mind the Davis beerfest is typically held on a 95-100 degree day.

Offline denny

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2011, 02:05:57 PM »
I don't think using a "pinch" of either (1-2 oz.) will have much, if any, impact on flavor.  My comment was based on the fact that I find Sinamar easier to control than guessing at the right amount of a dark malt.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2011, 09:39:18 PM »
Try beet juice if you want a really red beer.  Get some canned beets, and add the juice until you like the color.  Dose it in a glass first, to check the color and make sure the beer doesn't taste too beety.  I think in a wit you'll be able to get a nice color with minor/no noticeable flavor impact, it depends on the spice level and yeast character of the beer.
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Offline ryang

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2011, 08:28:31 AM »
or try adding hibiscus.  that would give a nice pink/red hue.  it would also contribute flavor though, so I'm not sure if that's of interest to this beer of yours.  hibiscus would go quite well in a wit however.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2011, 08:45:19 AM »
Yes, using a tiny bit of something black will get you red color.  Carafa is a good choice since it won't give you much flavor.

Rather than adding it to the mash as part of the sparge, why don't you do something where you can see the color more directly?  You could either steep the carafa in the sparge water directly, or in the wort after it's in the kettle.  Put it in a mesh bag and just dunk it in there until you get the color you want. 

You can repeat this process if it's hard to tell the color directly.  Dunk, remove, stir, sample, repeat.  If you are going to evaluate the color, it's hard to eyeball it in one of the brewing vessels.  Take it out and put it in a pint glass so you can tell what the drinker will see.
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2011, 09:58:06 AM »
or try adding hibiscus.  that would give a nice pink/red hue.  it would also contribute flavor though, so I'm not sure if that's of interest to this beer of yours.  hibiscus would go quite well in a wit however.

I just tried the Jolly Pumpkin bouldelaire saison the other night, brewed with hibiscus, rose hips and rose petels. it had a nice pink head and deep rosy color. there was a flavour of citrus which could have been the hibiscus or the rose hips or both. but it was really nice and I imagine would be good in a wit.
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Offline johnf

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2011, 10:13:56 AM »
or try adding hibiscus.  that would give a nice pink/red hue.  it would also contribute flavor though, so I'm not sure if that's of interest to this beer of yours.  hibiscus would go quite well in a wit however.

I just tried the Jolly Pumpkin bouldelaire saison the other night, brewed with hibiscus, rose hips and rose petels. it had a nice pink head and deep rosy color. there was a flavour of citrus which could have been the hibiscus or the rose hips or both. but it was really nice and I imagine would be good in a wit.

I had an excellent homebrewed hibiscus and rose hip a few years ago. Since the OP is burned out on wit this might be a bigger twist than just adjusting the color. Or forget the red thing and just mix up the spices. Boulevard uses lavendar in their double wit, which is very popular and definitely sets it apart from a coriander/bitter orange/chamomile beer.

For the color thing, Sinamar does work well (and if you load up on it the flavor is pleasant as well). On the other hand it is expensive and out of stock intermittently. I try to keep a few bottles around for adjusting small quantities of beer but for a whole batch I think Gordon's method sounds good since the Carafa is probably easier to get and certainly cheaper.

Offline skyler

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2011, 12:18:19 PM »
I don't think using a "pinch" of either (1-2 oz.) will have much, if any, impact on flavor.  My comment was based on the fact that I find Sinamar easier to control than guessing at the right amount of a dark malt.

Well, if I were going the Special B route of red-making, I would go for probably 8 ounces (for a 10 gal batch). If I were using Carafa Special III, it would be 6 ounces added at sparge. The goal would be to get it to 10-12 SRM..... but, if I could make it light red or pink that would be great, because 5 gal of this batch will be served at my girlfriend's mother's wedding. As far as using hibiscus... what kind of flavor would that give off? I want this beer to taste fruity and approachable, as it will be served to the general public.

Offline ryang

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2011, 03:20:50 PM »
As far as using hibiscus... what kind of flavor would that give off?

I want this beer to taste fruity and approachable,

That.  Most grocery stores carry some sort of hibiscus tea or hibiscus juice cooler.  It's very refreshingly fruity (tropical).  I drink hibiscus tea pretty much every morning. 

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2011, 08:15:01 AM »
I don't think using a "pinch" of either (1-2 oz.) will have much, if any, impact on flavor.  My comment was based on the fact that I find Sinamar easier to control than guessing at the right amount of a dark malt.

Well, if I were going the Special B route of red-making, I would go for probably 8 ounces (for a 10 gal batch). If I were using Carafa Special III, it would be 6 ounces added at sparge. The goal would be to get it to 10-12 SRM..... but, if I could make it light red or pink that would be great, because 5 gal of this batch will be served at my girlfriend's mother's wedding. As far as using hibiscus... what kind of flavor would that give off? I want this beer to taste fruity and approachable, as it will be served to the general public.

have you had jamaica at a taqueria? The closest thing I can think of to describe it is cranberry juice. Red Zinger tea from Celestial Seasonings gets it's red and it's zing from hibiscus.
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Offline skyler

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2011, 02:02:15 PM »
Well, the benefit of the hibiscus is that I can add it after the beer has been finished. That would also allow me to spare one keg if the first one comes out looking funny. But pictures I have found on the internet of hibiscus beers don't quite look right. And I don't find Jamaica from a taqueria to be particularly delicious... still not sure if I should stick to the original plan of carafa special II or if I should go with the hibiscus tea idea. Is there a way to make hibiscus tea that would limit its flavor impact and enhance the color impact?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2011, 08:09:42 PM »
A "red" witbier??? I think you mean a Rotbier. ;)
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Offline skyler

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Re: Red Witbier?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2011, 01:58:55 AM »
A "red" witbier??? I think you mean a Rotbier. ;)

red is rood in Flemish. so it is rood bier.