Very Smoky Belgian Wit

I just kegged a Belgian Wit that I fermented with dry grapefruit peel. The Beer has a very smoky flavor. I mean it is like a Rauchbier. Is it possible the yeast or grapefruit caused this, or did NB accidentally add smoked malt to my order? The beer taste fine, just not like a wit should taste.

Mistakes do happen. That beer should have ZERO smoky flavors.

I am going to assume Phenolic due to the smoky flavor. Assuming that your sanitation was good, the yeas was pure and healthy, I can only think of one thing: Chlorophenols in the water

I know Wits are extremely susceptible to this type of off flavor due to the grain bill. Did you charcoal filter your water or use Campden by chance?

If not, I am sure your beer is safe and fine, just has an off flavor.

I had a Wit that I did earlier this Summer that had the “melted Army Man” flavor to it from the Chlorophenol concentration. I used Campden on my next Wit and the recipe and method were nearly identical and the off-flavor was gone.

However, it is entirely possible that NB added some smoked malt.

Did not filter or use a campden tablet. I have been all grain brewing for 2 years and have never had a problem with phenols but this is the first wheat beer I ever brewed.

Hi Matt,

Do you recall your grain bill by chance? High Wheat percentages may be the culprit.

It was about 50% Wheat Malt.

I would look there as the culprit. If you haven’t had your water tested, now may be a good time. If you do not feel like shelling out the $$, at a minimum, I would contact your local municipality’s water provider and see if they can give you some basic figures on the mineral/ion content of your water.

I would suspect that a little Campden can avoid this going forward. Most beers you may brew won’t even pick this off flavor up, but those that are delicate like a light lager or those with a high wheat base could pick it up.

I never heard of the “smoky” flavor per se, but I would be willing to bet that phenolics are behind this flavor.