Brewer's Blog

The Holy Sprit

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Last but certainly not least in the Holy Trinity series is the Holy Spirit.

I love brewing wit beers. There's something about coming into the brewery in the morning and knowing that on that day, you'll be creating something akin to history in your mash tun.

Given that the style was all but dead little more than 50 years ago, it's a testament to the will of micro brewers, beer lovers, and the concept of flavour over technology.

Having brewed a spicier version of wit in the past at the Bushwakker, I decided that our wit should have a citrus forward flavour. The traditional spices are curacao orange peel and coriander (which the Spirit has in spades) but our little twist is Kaffir Lime Leaves, which are normally used in Thai cooking. They give the beer a distinctly cheeky citrus note that's hard to nail down if you weren't told the "secret ingredient".

We used a mash of flaked wheat, pale malt, and oats - which would normally be very problematic, but for some reason ran like a dream that day. The mix of grains gives the beer a complex fruity/grainy and dry body, making this the perfect appetizer beer. It's also great with fish (try poaching a citrus stuffed rainbow trout in it).

The beer is holding it's haze well - which is traditional for a brew with this much raw, unmalted wheat. The proteins in suspension help give the beer great head retention, too. The real trick with wit bier is to get it in your glass ASAP after fermentation, because that's when it tastes best. Most, if not all the wits we have available to us in Canada have gone through considerable abuse before they hit your glass. They are best when fresh, not after a three week boat ride on a container ship.

Above all else, this is the first brew where I actually had a "helper" of sorts. Many of you may know Chris as our delivery driver and all around nice guy at Half Pints. Turns out he's got some interest in brewing, and over the next year, we'll be training him as such. Chris got to grind up the coriander on brew day, and see the entire process start to finish. He also got first taste from the tank.

I guess working in the brewery can have it's advantages.