So the Witbier has been in the primary for a week. It is approaching its final gravity, so it looks like we’re on target. Thie wort collected did not hit the target OG, 1.052. It fell way short at 1.040, so it looks like this is going to be a Witbier Mild weighing in at an approximate 3.8 ABV. Given the difficulty of this first all-grain batch, I’m very much OK with that (although I’ll be researching what specifically happened). In addition, the style should lend itself well to that. I imagine being very happy to be able to throw back a couple of these on a hot day without the alcohol hit were it a typical beer at twice the ABV. I’m not sure what happened, and am going to be investigating as I go.
I took a grav reading, and it is at 1.011 (just north of where I think it should end up: 1.010 or 1.009). Time to transfer. I popped the lid, and saw something that I hadn’t seen before in previous brews. It was a 1/4″ layer of proteinaceous gunk on top that I assume came from the huge amount of wheat in the grist. The color was right on target as a beautiful, cloudy, pale yellow, and the smell is a fruity, spicy, somewhat funky aroma that is awesome. There is a bit of a faint bready character in the aroma that I hope will dissipate with the lower temperature conditioning that I plan on putting the secondary through. Can’t wait to see what it does when it’s carbonated.
I plan on putting the carboy next to a floor air conditioning vent with a box over it to try and push the temp of the beer down a bit in an attempt to drop some crap out of the beer and smooth out the flavor. I just got my fermentation refrigerator hooked up, but don’t yet have a break-out thermostat to keep the temperature higher than the refrigerator’s high of 45 degrees. If I can find a thermostat solution soon, I’ll transfer the carboy to the refrigerator. For now, however, the cardboard box over the AC vent is as much energy as I’m willing to put into trying to get the temp down. We’ll see how it goes.