Beer
Homebrewers Association
Homebrewers Association
Homebrew Recipes

The Bruery’s Black Orchard Wit

In 2008, homebrewer-turned-pro Patrick Rue opened The Bruery in Orange County, CA. He started to play around with witbier recipes, and created a classic style wit, as well as this opaque and rich Black Orchard Wit. This recipe was featured in the May/June 2009 Zymurgy article, “Seeing the Light: Belgian Session Beers.”

Witbiers are a brewer’s playground. For one, fruits and spices pop from its sweet, bready profile. Also, the beer descends from gruit ales—an old herb mixture used to bitter and flavor beer. Now, your spice collection suddenly has a little more purpose. For example, clove, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon will give a numbing sensation that cuts sweetness. Try using spelt or other grains for some of the wheat to play with the flavor profile.

In the end, a witbier should bring the full experience of Belgium and still allow you coherently hold a conversation. So, when the mid-week beer craving hits or you’re planning out a brew day, oft for a refreshing, light witbier ale instead.

The Bruery’s Black Orchard Wit | Belgian Specialty Ale

Ingredients

  • For 5 Gallons (19 L)
    • 4.5 lb (2.0 kg) Domestic Two-Row malt
    • 5.0 lb (2.3 kg) Flaked Wheat
    • 1.0 lb (0.5 kg) Flaked Oats
    • 1.0 lb (0.5 kg) Franco-Belges Munich Malt II
    • 0.75 lb (0.3 kg) Carafa (cold steeped)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) Magnum pellets hops, 12.0% a.a. (First wort hops)
    • 1.0 oz (28 g) Curacao Orange Peel (5 min)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) Coriander (5 min)
    • 0.5 oz (14 g) Chamomile (5 min)
    • The Bruery's Yeast (culture from a bottle) or use your favorite Belgian Ale strain

    Specifications

    • Original Gravity: 1.056
    • IBU: 14
    • SRM: 26

    Directions

    To brew Black Orchard Wit, mash grains (except carafa) for 60 minutes at 146°F (63°C). Steep carafa malt in 0.5 liter of cold water for 20 minutes and strain. Add to the boil kettle and repeat with another liter of water. Add hops and bring to a boil.

    Boil 60 minutes, adding spices to the last 5 minutes of the boil.

    Chill to 66°F (19°C) and transfer to fermenter. Add yeast and aerate well.

    Ferment one week, allowing temperature to rise into the low 70s °F (21-23°C), then rack to secondary. Age two weeks then bottle or keg.


    Extract Option

    Substitute 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) of wheat malt extract for two-row malt and flaked wheat, and increase Magnum hops to 0.67 oz (19 g).

    Mash Munich malt and flaked oats in 0.75 gallons (2.8 L) of water at 146°F (63°C) for 60 minutes. Strain and sparge into brew kettle with 0.75 gallons (2.8 L) of 170°F (77°C) water. While you are mashing, steep carafa malt in 0.5 liter of cold water for 20 minutes then strain into the boil kettle.

    Repeat with another liter of water. Stir in extract and top up with water to make 2.5 gallons (9.5 L). Add first wort hops and bring to a boil. Boil 60 minutes, adding spices to the last 5 minutes of the boil.

    Strain into a fermenter with enough cold water to make 5 gallons (19 L). When temperature drops to 66°F (19°C), pitch yeast and aerate well.

    Ferment one week, allowing temperature to rise into the low 70s °F (21-23°C), then rack to secondary. Age two weeks then bottle or keg.