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A starchtastic Wit

Well, this is mostly to share my experience, though any comments as to what is likely to happen to all that starch are certainly more than welcome.

I went wit.

I decided to try a wit that would include some sumac juice that I froze this fall. For those who don’t know sumac, it’s a small, tropical-looking tree that grows in the northeast and has clumps of red berries (in a fuzzy cone) sticking up above the foliage. As long as you’ve chosen the right species, the berry juice is edible and quite lemony and spicy. You can use it for such things as sumac-ade and sumac meringue pie. Seemed like a natural for a wit.

Since the juice is a bright red (staining, even), I figured I’d try to get my wit absolutely as pale as possible. (Some of you may feel a tingling. That would be your spidey senses.)

My grain bill was 3 lbs pils, 3 lbs malted wheat, 1 lb quick oats, 1 lb white rice. I’d like you to meet my new friend, Stuck Sparge.

I had tried to crush the rice in my malt mil before boiling it, but it went through unscathed. I soaked it overnight then boiled the snot out of it and chucked in the quick oats.

I infused my pils and grains in 8 L water then added my oats and rice at my infusion temp. I made it a very thin mash because I was hoping to suspend all those starches and have them accessible to the enzymes. I mashed for 2 full hours and did not mashout, because I wanted the enzymes to continue munching on the starches.

If I were to do this again, I would cut the oats in half and blend the rice after cooking it to reduce it to an absolutely liquid consistency. I would also increase the pils by a pound and include some rice hulls.

As it was, my sparge stuck about 3 times, and what came through was very starchy.

Is there such a thing as too starchy for a wit?

I previously made a pumpkin beer and the starches just kept settling and settling and settling during secondary. Is that what I can expect out of this?

Oh, btw, when primary is slowing down I’ll be adding some honey to make up some gravity. (That was part of the plan).

Oh, and it didn’t turn out pink, as hoped. Beige.

I think you’ll be fine, my guess is that some of the starch will drop out with the yeast. Not sure why you’d have so much starch anyway, it should’ve converted to a large extent. I would have skipped the rice, using wheat and pils with some oats will give you a very pale result as it is. So how does it taste?

A bad sign for a beer - I had no desire to taste my gravity sample…
It looked a little like what you get after washing paint brushes.

We’ll see what the yeast can do with it. Ridiculous head on the carboy. Even at 1 bubble per 10 s I had a 6 inch krausen. Had to put a blowoff in fermenting at 61 F. (I’ll be warming it up as the fermentation progresses.)

That weird, something definitely went awry with your mash. You could aways get a lambic blend and pitch it. In a year you’d have a fine lambic.

I don’t know how much of the problem was the mash - I think it was mostly the lauter. Usually I set up a decent bed that filters all that particulate stuff out, but this one set up hard as a rock so that I had to break it up to get flow. It was cloudy and floury as a result. I recirculated at first but when I saw it was going to set I just gave up on “clear” wort.
I hit my numbers spot on - I was actually a point or two better than expected, (I guess because I calculated 70% efficiency and I’m sure I got more than that out of the rice).

The lambic is a great idea. If I didn’t have a kriek going already in the basement I would give it some serious thought. I suppose I could keep it in mind depending on how much this thing clears.

I’ve never used them, but I’ve read that rice hulls in the mash work nicely in this sort of situation.

It’s funny - I emptied the bucket from the blowoff tube the other day and the bottom was full of pink starch. (I’m sure there was plenty of yeast in there too, but it was really thick and gluey). Still chugging away, now at 71 F.

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