Smart Alec Wit Beer

Back in April the Dallas Homebrew Collective had a people’s choice event where the recipe needed to contain at least 50% wheat malt. Seeing a Belgian event two months later, I thought I’d roll with a Belgian Wit and knock out two contests with a single brew day and the “Smart Alec Wit Beer” was born.

Four and a half pounds of wheat malt along with an equal portion of pilsner and a half pound of rice hulls went into the mash tun and sat for an hour at 152 degrees. When the timer buzzed, the wort was recirculated via pump for 10 minutes and the first wort was collected.

Hallertau and Saaz were used for bittering. They were complimented late in the boil with freshly ground coriander seed and bitter orange peel. Another half ounce of Saaz was tossed in at whirlpool time to help with the aroma and give the flavor a small boost.

That took care of the wheat beer part of the recipe, but for the Belgian contest to follow we needed a Belgian yeast strain. After reading several reviews on the White Labs site, we settled on the 400 – Belgian Wit Ale yeast.

This recipe was well received. My favorite wit/wheat beer hound, Harold Pulcher, claimed that it was a very quaffable ale and was ready to see a keg of it go on tap at the office. Folks at Cap & Hare said the body was a bit thin, but the flavors were spot-on, and suggested using a european pilsner for the next brew to get a bit more body. Pro-brewer friends also like the flavors and congratulated us on a brew well-made.

At the April contest we garnered a third place people’s choice finish for a 50% wheat recipe. I also entered it for the Cap & Hare Masterbrewer in April. It scored 39 of 50 points on a BJCP score sheet and despite going up against two beers which placed at Bluebonnet earned a third place ribbon. The judge liked the spice balance but suggested bumping up the carbonation level.

Forgetting about the June club meeting being for Belgian beers,  we took the Smart Alec to Brew Riot to serve with the rest of the Collective’s beers and drained the keg. A second batch of the wit was brewed on May 15th and I’ve got my fingers crossed that this batch is ready for the club meeting in June, but I’m not holding my breath.

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