White Rascal is a popular Belgian-style witbier brewed by Avery Brewing Co. out of Boulder, CO. Witbier makes for a great summer beer. Refreshing, smooth, a little sweet, with mildly spicy citrus notes. If you’re looking for a great beer to get you through the warmer months…this could be it!
Witbier literally translates to “white beer.” The reason witbier is white is because of the high proportion of wheat in the grain bill. In the case of this beer recipe, it calls for 50% wheat malt. Wheat has much more protein than barley and gives beer body and a sweet wheat flavor, but also makes the beer cloudy. The cloudiness gives the beer a very pale appearance. Since the protein in wheat can sometimes contribute to a stuck sparge, I recommend adding rice hulls to the mash to improve filterability.
Paired with the sweet wheat flavor is a low hop bitterness and an intriguing flavor and aroma. Witbiers are made with coriander and orange peel (and sometimes other spices) which give the beer a delightfully refreshing citrus flavor. This is a beer you can drink all day while hanging out in the sun!
The final key component to brewing a good witbier is using an authentic Belgian witbier yeast. This beer recipe calls for Wyeast 3944, but 3942 would work very will, also.
The beer recipe below is from the Avery website, where they share homebrew recipes for more than a dozen of their beers (including Maharaja Imperial IPA). The ingredient weights might look a little funny (0.07 oz. of hops?), but keep in mind these are scaled down from a much larger system. At Avery, that hop addition is probably a pound or more – not so awkward at that scale.
Avery White Rascal Clone Recipe (All-Grain)
5 lbs. pale two-row malt
5 lbs. white wheat malt
1 lb. rice hulls (do not crush)
0.4 oz. Bravo hops at :60 (6.2 AAUs)
0.07 oz. Bravo hops at :30 (1.1 AAUs)
0.27 oz. Sterling hops at :0
0.18 oz. Hersbrucker hops at :0
0.31 oz. coriander at :0
0.25 oz. sweet orange peel at :0
0.06 oz. bitter orange peel at :0
Wyeast 3942 – Belgian Wheat yeast
Add the crushed malts and the rice hulls (not crushed) to about 3.75 gallons of water at 170˚F. Hold the mash temperature at 152˚F for one hour, then sparge with 170˚F water to collect 7 gallons of wort. Bring wort to a boil, then add hops and spices according to schedule above. Chill wort to 66˚F and transfer to a clean, sanitized fermenter. Ferment at 66˚F for about 5 days, then let fermentation temperature climb to room temperature to complete fermentation. When fermentation is complete, bottle or keg for 2.5 to 3 volumes of CO2.
Have you brewed an Avery White Rascal clone before? What’s your favorite witbier recipe?
David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.