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Scorched Mash?

I’m brewing a Belgian Wit, and as I was raising the temp from 122 for the protein rest, I stepped away for too long and the temp shot up to about 178 (should have been saach rest at 154). Is this batch going to be ruined?

How soon did you catch it and cool it down?

About 1 - 3 minutes after it reached that temp. I uncovered, stirred and brought it down to about 170. It gradually decreased over about 30 minutes, and has been steady at 154 for the last 20 or so.

I fear it might have mashed out, i.e., the enzymes were destroyed. If you had added cold water to reduce the temperature to the 150s immediately, you’d be alright. But if it stayed in the upper 160s for several minutes, you might be hosed. You’ll probably still make beer, but it might be very thin, lifeless, low gravity. You could supplement with extract though and still probably make an alright beer if you wanted – no need to dump it. Well… I could be wrong, too. Check gravity. If it’s sweet and looks to be good efficiency, maybe you’ll be alright. It’s really hard to say.

Crap, that was what I feared. Thankfully I do have 3lb bag of Extra Pale DME. Any thoughts on how much to add? I’m bringing it up to boil now.

Update: I decided to just let it ride and not add any additional DME. To my surprise the OG came in at around 1.048 and the wort tasted nice and sweet. I pitched two packages of yeast, and fermentation seems to be off and running.

I’m a bit concerned about the color though. It seems unusually “green” from the hop solids. Usually at this time I start to see some separation of the hop solids, or at least some signs that the trub is starting to settle out to the bottom, but this one doesn’t seem to be. Does this look normal, or is something off?

Based on the gravity, I’d say this beer has a good chance of turning out alright. But yeah… awfully green. How much hops did you use?! Belgian wit is not a style known for having a lot of hops, although it’s your beer, you can do what you want with it… I really still cannot say for certain how this one is going to turn out. However there is certainly hope, and I do wish you the best of luck.

Saint Pats day is over WOW is that green.

I just used 2 oz of Hersbrucker at 60 min. per the NB Witbier recipe. Aside from the misstep with the mashing process, I followed everything else to a tee, and didn’t alter the recipe in any way. I’m not sure if I’ve used Hersbrucker before, but I did notice when I was adding them to the wort at the beginning of the boil that they were a much brighter green than any hops I’ve used before. Almost like a bright Kelly Green. Is this typical? Anyway, I hope I’m not screwed. When I tested the OG last night I let the sample sit in the hydrometer for a while to allow the trub to settle out to the bottom, which it did. Hoping the rest of my batch will do the same!

It’s been 14 days in the primary, the hop solids settled out nicely, and the beer is a nice pale yellow. I took a gravity reading and it was only at 1.021. I figured it just needs a good swirl to stir up the yeast and a little more time to finish attenuating, but I took a taste and it was incredibly tart; far more than I would expect from a Witbier. I haven’t brewed this style before, so I’m not sure if this is common at this stage (perhaps from the bitter orange peel additions?). If so, hopefully, the flavors will mellow out a bit. But I also couldn’t help but wonder if this could be attributed to the mistake I made when mashing (see top post), or, God forbid, and infected batch. Any thoughts on this? I’d hate to think that I completely screwed up 2 of my 3 Spring batches!

Some tartness is expected in a witbier, but not a lot. It wouldn’t be from orange peels, but rather it’s some of the character you’re getting from the yeast and the wheat. If it were contaminated, you probably would not find out in just 2 weeks, as it takes a longer time to develop. But I guess it is possible. Swirl the yeast back in there, and warm it up by a few degrees if you can, to get the yeast as active as possible.

As far as the high final gravity, it may not come down, it’s just possible it was at 160 too long, and that may be why the final will be high. If so it may be on the sweeter side. Give it some more time, stirring up the yeast and wait a week. If that is the case it should still be drinkable. Also if that green stuff is solids, it’s could be undisolved hop material, just strain thru a paint strainer bag soaked in star san, when you go from ferm vessel to bottling bucket or keg. Let us know how it turns out.

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