The inspiration for this take on a white ale comes from Saint Archer Brewery – for their white ale. This is one of my favorite white ales – because of the way the brew is generously spiced with add-ins. In fact, I liked Saint Archer’s white ale so much, that we had it served at our wedding! For our following recipe, we mimicked the add-ins used by Saint Archer uses, but went our own way with the choice of malts.
What is a White Ale?
If you’re not familiar with what makes a wheat beer, a wheat beer – it’s the use of WHEAT. Wheat, however, is not the only grain used to brew a Hefeweizen or white ale – other names by which a wheat beer goes by. Barely is commonly used as well.
According to BeerAdvocate.com, the term white ale is derived from the color of a beer brewed with wheat. There may be several reasons for this. Firstly, the wheat malt is never roasted to the extent that barely can be roasted to – such as in a stout. Less roasting time means (in part) a lighter-colored beer. Also, wheat beers are traditionally unfiltered – unlike other beers. This means more wheat and yeast particles floating around in your beverage – producing an opaque but white coloration. (Homebrew is also commonly unfiltered.)
Our particular recipe called for equal parts wheat and barely – with a moderate amount of each. The result is a product with a conventional ABV for a wheat ale: almost 5%. This assumes a 60% efficiency – which is what we are assuming using the brew in a bag (BIAB) technique.
We used 0.1 oz. of Vons private label powdered coriander. Fun fact:
Coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant.
However, the seed is distinct from the leafy part of the plant. Coriander has a lemony aroma – something that just begs to be added to taco seasoning. I wanted to use it for taco seasoning, but Frank wouldn’t let me.
We used 1 oz. of freshly zested orange peel. Both went in at the end of the boil. Putting both add-ins (or any add-ins) just at the end of the boil should help with any contamination issues. With the wort still hot, any foreign bacteria should be killed by the temperature which is just shy of boiling.
While both the elements of the add-ins came through in the wort the final product is a different story. The addition of these add-ins were impacted by the flavors imparted by the yeast – as well as the subtle bite of alcohol from fermentation. So, as with our other brews, sampling the wort can give you an idea of how the final product may turn out – but the wort itself is by no means a replica of the final product. This is especially the case as the add-ins’s impact to the beer changes over time.
When sampling the final product, the coriander notes come out to play. The coriander is there – and it is welcome. It certainly works with the beer. Unfortunately, the beer needs more orange. The contribution made by the orange add-in is bordering on non-existent. Maybe it’s the orange, but the beer definitely feels like it’s missing something. A final touch would be some late stage hops for floral notes. I imagine that just a smidgen could add a little something extra to the brew.
American Wheat #2
Let’s consider doubling the orange contribution – and doing it at a later stage in the game. One possible idea is to keep the recipe as, but add a little bit of Citra hops and orange extract at day 14. This will contribute those notes that I found lacking in the final product.