08 – Elderflower and Lime Belgian Wit

After a long lazy winter, without brewing any beer since early December, I wanted to dust off my equipment and start the year off right with a new beer recipe. I wanted to try something new, a break from my usual IPA or stout attempts. My wife enjoys wheat beers, and I had noticed a few interesting recipes online, so it wasn’t long before I found one that I wanted to try and tackle.

Brew by Numbers is a creative beer setup across the pond, based out of London. I have seen several of their recipes and liked what they were doing. For this adventure, I am looking at their “07 | 03 – Elderflower and Lime Witbier” as my initial inspiration. I haven’t actually had the opportunity to taste this beer, but I’ll take the title and description and go trailblaze from there.

Their webpage for that beer is located here:


For this recipe, I have the following grain bill…

percentage lbs ingredient potential SG points
45.61% 5.2 raw/unmalted wheat
45.61% 5.2 pilsner malt
6.14% 0.7 oats
2.63% 0.3 munich malt
100.00% 11.4


For this recipe, I have the following brew day / timing plan…

step amount details
 strike water  8.5 gal planned loss 0.75-1.25 gallons to mash, 1.5 gallons during 90 min boil, resulting in 5.75-6 gallons of wort in bucket.
 beta glucans mash  20 mins  98-113F (105F target)
 protein rest mash  20 mins 122F target
 wheat gelatinization mash  20 mins 136-147F (137F target)
 saccharification mash  60 mins  148-156F (152F target)
 mash out  5 mins  168F target
 90 minute boil
 60 mins  2oz  hallertau hops
 10 mins  1oz  Elderflower
 5 mins  1/2  whirlfloc tablet
 5 mins  0.5oz  coriander seeds, cracked
 5 mins  0.5oz  lime zest
 pre-yeast  1 min  oxygenation
 yeast  1 smack pack  Wyeast 3944 (Belgian Witbier)
 2 weeks  2/3-2oz  Elderflower tea (1 cup water)
 2 weeks  0.5oz  lime zest
 3 weeks  bottling day


For the day-before, I had the following notes…

  • Saturday, April 2nd 2016, got the shopping done!
  • For my pilsner malt, I got Belgian Pils – Dingemans
  • They were out of flaked oats, so I got Golden Naked Oats – Simpsons 5-10L
  • For the hops, I got 2oz of pellet German Hallertau, at 2.5% alpha
  • I let the pack of  yeast get to room temperature, then smacked and towel wrapped it with a hot water bottle for the night.


For the brew day notes, here is how it went down…

  • Sunday, April 3rd 2016, made this beer!
  • 12:05pm, after cleaning, started pouring strike water.
  • 12:15pm, 8.5 gallons ready to go, 9.5″ spoon depth (my measuring tool!).
  • 12:27pm, flame on!
  • 12:42pm, reached strike temp of 112F.
  • 12:53pm, mash in, target 105F for 20 mins, still at 110F though.
  • 1:13pm, flame on to hit 122F. temp hit at 1:22pm.
  • 1:42pm, flame on to hit 137F. temp hit at 1:51pm.
  • 2:12pm, flame on to hit 154F. temp hit at 2:24pm.
  • 3:24pm, flame on to hit 168F, temp hit at 3:34pm.
  • 3:39pm, BIAB wort recovery process started, over 64oz recovered.
  • 3:49pm, flame on again.8 gallons of wort to boil (9″ spoon measurement).
  • 4:17pm, reached boil, go for 30 mins.
  • 4:47pm, 60 mins left, hops in, at 7.26 gallons volume, 1.56 gals / hour boil off rate??
  • 5:17pm, 30 mins out, have starsan bucket and sanitize everything. 6.8 gallons left.
  • 5:34pm, 15 mins out, immersion chiller added to kettle to sanitize.
  • 5:39pm, 10 mins out, elderflower addition and whirlfloc 1/2 tablet.
  • 5:44pm, 5 mins out, lime zest and coriander.
  • 5:49pm, flame out and cooling begins.
  • 5:59pm, 10 mins into cooling, reached 66 F.
  • Took gravity reading, OG 1.048.
  • approximately 6 gallons of wort in the bucket.
  • aerated wort for 1 min with oxygen stone.
  • yeast pitched, bucket capped, blow out tube attached.
  • 6:15pm, beer is done and cleanup begins.
  • 7:00pm, cleanup is done and sample is tasted!


And for secondary / bottling notes, I have…

  • Tuesday, April 26th 2016: took the lid off, the krausen finally has fully settled and the beer is doing well. Took an FG reading, seeing 1.008. OG 1.048 means we have 5.25% abv.
  • Made a tea out of 0.5oz elderflower, 0.5oz coriander seeds (crushed), 16oz water. Let it steep for about 20 minutes, then filtered and boiled for 5 minutes. Brought to room temperature and pitched into the wort.
  • Wednesday, April 27th 2016: bottled the beer. From fermentation bucket to bottling bucket, it looked like exactly 5.5 gallons of wort. I got 52 12oz bottles and 1 22oz bottle filled (2 cases plus a six pack).



A photo journey of this batch of beer…

ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (1)
The grains, ready to be mashed.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (3)
Crushing up the coriander seeds.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (5)
My adjuncts all prepared and ready. Coriander seed, elderflower and lime zest.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (2)
My first attempt at a step mash process, the wheat beer wort being made!


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (4)
My patented four-burner wort boiling process, love that ball valve option 😛


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (6)
The German hallertau pellet hops, ready to go. 2.5% alpha on these.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (8)
A close-up of the belgian wit right before flame out.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (9)
The Jaded Brewing king cobra immersion cooler, ready for action!


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (7)
Sampling the imperial vanilla stout while the belgian wit cools down!


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (10)
I was watching the wort settle for a bit, thinking the stuff would go below the ball valve…


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (11)
It got pretty low, but not low as I thought. I snapped out of it and just got moving again…


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (12)
When transferring to the fermentation bucket, I usually strain my wort to hold back any unwanted items such as the pellet hops, coriander and other items.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (13)
The belgian wit all ready for oxygenation, yeast pitching and the lid.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (15)
The original gravity hydrometer reading, looks like it’s about 1.048-ish.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (14)
A nice close up of the belgian wit wort.


ElderflowerLimeBelgianWit (16)
Another close up of the belgian wit wort, now we have to wait until secondary additions day and then bottling day!


The beer over two weeks in, still had a pretty epic krausen, so it had to wait a bit longer for the elderflower/coriander tea to be pitched.


Finally once the krausen settled, I made a tea with 0.5oz more coriander seed, 0.5oz elderflower and 16oz water. Then this got pitched into the beer the night before bottling day.


Here is the beer with the krausen settled and about to be siphoned for bottling.
The final gravity reading, coming out at 1.008.


Siphoning the wort into the priming sugar solution.


In preparation for the recently bottled batch, here is a test run of the new label!



Then once the graphic was done, cut out a 8.5 x 11 sheet of my “homemade brown paper bag paper” and gave it a test print. I think it’s ready!



Getting it done, using homemade glue (gelatin, water, hot milk).


This was our first label that covered all the natural brown paper.


There he is, our faithful “director of quality control” making sure I didn’t mess it up.


This batch was a fun adventure, now it’s just bottle conditioning for a week or two more and then we shall see how it pours!


And finally, the belgian wit poured and enjoyed!


One thought on “08 – Elderflower and Lime Belgian Wit

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