Rye Wit

So, those lovely, lovely gentlemen at Basic Brewing Radio┬árecently produced a recipe for a session Witbier called Rye Wit. It’s basically a low alcohol and low calorie Witbier comprised of 75% wheat malt and 25% rye malt, with the majority of the hop flavour and aroma coming from a late addition of citra. It sounded kinda intriguing to me as witbier’s pretty much my standard summer brew.

Given the sticky nature of wheat and rye, I thought I’d add some rice hulls as I’d be brewing in the Grainfather, rather than with Basic Brewing’s recommended BIAB method. Wasn’t sure how it was going to go, given the tiny volume of mash water, but the rice hulls certainly seemed to do the trick. I did up the grain bill a little to try and compensate for the reduction in efficiency of not doing a brew-in-a-bag setup. The recipe is:


  • 1,500g Wheat Malt
  • 500g Rye Malt
  • 90g Rice Hulls

I performed a 60 Minute mash at 65 degrees in 9.5 litres of water. I calculated the strike temperature at 72 degrees but this was a little high as the grain addition only took it down to 68 degrees. Maybe 70 degrees next time.

I sparged with 19 litres of water at 75 degrees to give me a pre-boil volume of 28 litres. The sparge went absolutely fine, thanks to the rice hulls. A little bit of encouragement towards the end by pressing down the top-plate of the grain basket left me with a pretty dry grain bed. The Grainfather was recirculating what looked like crystal clear wort.

For the boil, we have:

  • 18g Fuggles at 60 minutes
  • 5g Irish Moss at 15 minutes
  • 28g Citra at flameout with a 20 minute steep. I don’t intend to dry hop.

Note: thanks to our lovely soft Scottish water, I’m not doing any water treatment other than dropping in a camden tablet to get rid of the chlorine.

Anyhoo, once the boil was complete, the original gravity worked out at 1.024 – bang on target. Assuming a final gravity of 1.008 (time will tell), that would produce a very quaffable 2.2% abv – a perfect ‘barbecue beer’. I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out. In 25 years of brewing, I haven’t brewed with rye before so it’s all very exciting ­čÖé

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