When, in response to the super-fantastic brewing idea you’ve just floated, the homebrew store owner Joe, a seasoned brewer in his own right says, “You sure you want to do that?” It tends to deflate your can-do spirit; especially if, like me, you’re a
nervous novice brewer.
So what’s my big idea? We’ll get to that.
It’s been hot lately, and soon it’s going to get hotter. I wanted to brew something to keep me cool and not overwhelm me with alcohol. I’d brewed a saison this time last year (and was for once quite happy with one of my creations) but wanted to try something different.
Witbier was the answer. I love its ability to refresh. And the coriander and orange peel spicing typical to the style add to the complexity and the overall joy of the drinking experience. So I nosed around the web and ended up right back here. That is, here.
Fellow blogger (and way better brewer) Jamil Zainasheff’s witbier "Style Profile" primer is not only full of great info about the style, it includes extract, partial and all grain recipes for each type of home brewer. It’s the Cracker Jack box of articles with a prize at the bottom.
Jamil makes clear that witbier is tricky for extract brewers, so I knew I was taking a chance but my mind was made up after the first paragraph. The recipe calls for 1.5 oz of citrus zest, without defining what type of citrus fruit. I like that. It allows flexibility. I could use grapefruit or clementine or if I wanted to … kumquats.
Recently my wife came home from the grocery store with a carton of kumquats. The little orange colored nodules quickly became a big part of my family’s diet. My four year old said, “They’re like tiny oranges.” My two year old said nothing because his mouth was crammed full with as many of the juicy balls he could get in there.
If you’re not familiar with kumquats, you’re not to be blamed. They’re the runt of the citrus family. They’re only about an inch long; they really do resemble miniature oranges, and unlike the orange, have no college football game named after them.
But you overlook the kumquat at your own peril. Everything about them is delightful. You eat them whole, skin and all. The skin is surprisingly sweet while the fruit inside is sour. And they’re so miniscule they make fantastic finger food.
But back to beer.
Says I to Joe, “I’m thinking of using kumquats.”
“You sure you want to do that?” asks Joe derisively.
“Yeah, I’ve been eating a lot of them lately and really think they’ll work.”
A shrug of the shoulders and a barely perceptible “I don’t know” was all I got.
Well I don’t know either but, as they say, “nothing ventured, no beer poured down the drain.”
Alas, the witbier ingredients weren’t the only supplies I was picking up at the store. In my quest to build the best homebrewed hefeweizen ever (read: a half-decent hefe), I bought more supplies for that vain effort. Little did I know that dual purchase would come back to haunt me.Last modified on