Wit Minus Minus Tasting Notes

Here’s a stab at tasting the Gluten Free wit I talk about here.

Poured at room temperature into a pint glass.

Appearance: Golden color – should be a tad paler to be closer to a true wit.  I swirled the bottom of the bottle (these were bottle conditioned) to add a douse of yeast to my pour.  A couple of inches of foam built up but disappate rapidly.  The head is not even remotely close to what a normal barley or wheat-based beer produces – these are fluffy with large bubbles that pop easily.  Within seconds there is nothing visible except for scant bubbly lacing on the outer rim at the liquid level.

Aroma:  orange, orange, and more orange.  Kind of smells like the crappy orange juice from concentrate you’d find at a crappy hotel continental breakfast.  I clearly went overboard with the orange marmalade on this one.

Mouthfeel: Carbonate does not persist.  This is a real bummer.  I can see how sorghum is not a simple drop-in replacement for malted barley extract.  No head retention and funny behaving carbonation.  This has been in the bottle for around a month now, so it has had plenty of time to carb up.  A true wit would be refreshingly carbonic here.

Taste: Too orangey.  Way too orangey.  I feared that I overdid the chamomile and coriander, but those are dwarfed by the orange here.  Sucks.  I think it kind of ruins the experience.  The orange tastes mildly syrupy too, even though the fermentation left a fairly low amount of residual sugars (1.012 FG – within the range for this style.)  Slightly sour tang to each sip (something I was warned amount with sorghum.)  Aftertaste is not so clean.  For comparison’s sake, last night after my Fishtown Beer Runners 5.5 mile run, I had a Long Trail Belgian White, which was the most coriander-filled beer I have ever had – but the finish was immensely clean and refreshing – leading me to want to take another sip each time.  This beer?  Not so much.

Overall:  Eh.  I won’t dump this pint, but it is probably my weakest beer since the plastic debacles I experienced early on (before I learned about chloramines and how abundant they are in Philly water… and how much yeast love to feast on them, creating some vicious off-flavors.)  Too syrupy and too undercarbonated to truly enjoy it.  Personally reminds me of the unauthenticness/artificial-ness I get from a Blue Moon.  Beth seemed to like it, as did Brett and Jaime, but the true test will be Keith, whom this beer was designed for and whom I can always count on to give me unbiased critiques of my beer.

What I would change in the future:

  • Much less orange marmalade.  Probably 1/3 of the amount I used.
  • Some more buckwheat flour.  Beer was not hazy enough until I swirled the yeast in.
  • Use Brewferm Blanch yeast instead of Safale T-58.  No complaints about the yeast flavor, but I think this flocculated a little too well.
  • Force carbonate it with co2.  Not sure if the yeast just was not healthy enough from the sorghum, or what, but I expected a more carbonated final product.  Force carbonating with co2 is pretty foolproof.
  • Figure out how to get better head retention.  I used 8 oz of maltodextrin here but that was not enough.  Adding GF quick oats or oatmeal would be helpful, but I am pretty sure they need to be converted with a base malt – which won’t exactly work here.