2010: Leuven witbier - an attempt
An attempt at Leuven white beer
What follows is an account of an attempt at brewing a Leuven white beer by an American homebrewer (whose name is unknown at this stage).
It doesn't sound all that successful.
M1 - mash tun
CK – clarification kettle
K1 – Kettle 1 (Flour Kettle)
K2 – Kettle 2
4 lbs Biscuit
6 lbs Belgian Aromatic
10 lbs Unmalted Wheat
2 lbs Oats
3 Oz Target 5.8% AA
1 lb Unmalted Wheat
9 lbs Biscuit/Belgian Aromatic Mix
2 lbs Oats
9 lbs Wheat
1 lb Biscuit/Belgian Aromatic Mix
1) Mash 60% of grain bill with 4 gallons cold water in mash tun (M1)
The 4 gallons of strike water was based on one gallon of absorption after a one hour mash. The mash temp was 60 degrees.
a) After 1 hour add stuykmands to the mash
In reality the manifold in my mash tun drew pretty much all the liquid off and compacted the grain bed so there was no liquid left and no chance for stuykmands.
b) Extract liquid to kettle 1/flour kettle (K1)
First running gravity was 1.032 at 60 degrees
2) Mash a second time with 3 gallons cold water for 30 min
Loss was assumed to be half a gallon for the remaining mashing. The mash temp was 58 degrees
a) Drain to K1
First runnings were 1.018 at 58 degrees
3) Mash a third but with 3 gallons boiling water from kettle 2 (K2) for 30 min
The mash temp was 150 degrees. First runnings were 1.010 at 70 degrees
a) Drain half to K1
b) Drain half to clarification kettle (CK)
4) Heat K1 and add remaining grain bill
Intent was to have 6.75 gallons pre boil, ended up about 6.75 gallons. Pre grain addition gravity was 1.014 at 60 degrees
5) Mash M1 for a fourth time with 3 gallons boiling water for 30 min
The mash temp was 140 degrees
a) Drain to CK
First runnings were 1.026 at 78 degrees
6) Mash M1 for a fifth time with 3 gallons boiling water for 30 min
The mash temp was 160 degrees
a) Drain to CK
First runnings 1.030 at 82 degrees
7) Mash M1 for a sixth time with 3 gallons boiling water for 1 hr
The mash temp was 170 degrees
a) Mash longer then fourth and fifth mash
b) Drain to underback
First runnings were 1.026 at 58 degrees
8) Bring CK to a boil
a) Add all hops
b) Boil for 1.25 hours
Post boil gravity was 1.040 at 58 degrees
9) Redistribute spent grains in M1
This was a mid brew day change when I realized that step 8 originally had me transferring from CK to K2 to free up CK for mashing. Since I was using kegs for all the kettles I just redistributed the grains in the mash tun so they weren’t compacted.
a) Spread as lightly as possible to prevent compacting
b) Place board w/ holes in it over top of grains
10) Increase heat on K1 stirring constantly to avoid scorching
a) Boil for 1 hr
This is where the day went bad. Boiling 9 lbs of unmalted wheat in 6.75 gallons of wort creates a gelatin like substance think is incredibly thick. It did appear to have an incredibly high sugar content as any surface liquid quickly skimmed up as soon as the boil was stopped. This mash was incredibly thick and scorched within what was probably the first few minutes of the actual boil despite constant stirring. The direct heat of a propane burner on a keg made it nearly impossible to avoid and still boil the thick goo.
11) After boil in K1 is complete let it settle for 20-30 minutes for solid matter to settle out
a) Decant the upper part of the liquid to CK until nothing can be removed without solid matter
There really was no liquid on top. The kettle was almost 100% grain. I managed about five ladles of liquid and realized this wasn’t going to get me very far.
b) Add stuyk manden and continue to remove liquid to CK
Finally I thought I would get to use the stuykmands! I managed another few ladles full of liquid but it was just too slow going. As the goo (technical term?) in the kettle was cooling it was becoming more gelatinized and nothing was seeping into the baskets. I could not put enough downward pressure to make it move faster and nothing was coming out the ball valve of the kettle either (this is the beginning of desperation). At this point the boil in K2 was complete and this mess looked to be a loss because I could not extract any liquid in the traditional method. The boiled wort in K2 wasn’t really usable in any real fashion so in order to try and salvage something I transferred the hot wort from K2 into K1 to try and loosen the gelatin substance. This didn’t work, still no flow. From there I began scooping the grain out of K1 with a colander and transferring it into another colander suspended over K2 and squishing it with the back of a spoon to extract liquid. This worked and I was able to get a good amount of incredibly cloudy, hazy, slightly greenish liquid. Because of the amount of particulate matter ( chunks) in suspension I thought I would try and get back on track with the original procedures and filter it through the grain bed that was in my mash tun. I cut through the grain bed to make sure it wasn’t compacted and added the wort from K2 to filter some of the particulate and hopefully the greenish color. This didn’t work. My conclusion is that there was so much of gelatinized liquid even after cutting it with the hopped wort that is would not filter thorough. In desperation I stirred up the grain and liquid to see it would flow and nothing happened. To ensure that my manifold wasn’t clogged, again out of desperation, I put a piece of hose on the valve in the mash tun and blew through it which confirmed via bubbles in the mash tun that the manifold wasn’t clogged and still no flow. At that point I threw in the towel poured another beer and started cleaning up.