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Belgian-Style Witbier

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Location: Belgian and French
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 24A - Witbier

Style Description

This is the description of how the Belgian-Style Witbier style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Belgian-Style Witbier beer style.

Wits are brewed with malted barley, unmalted wheat and sometimes oats. They are spiced with coriander and orange peel. Coriander and light orange peel aroma may be present, sometimes as an unidentified spiciness.

  • Color: Straw to pale
  • Body: Low to medium, with a degree of creaminess from wheat starch.
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Very low to low
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Hop aroma is not present to low. Hop flavor is not present.
  • IBUs/Bitterness: Low, from noble-type hops.
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low to medium fruity esters are present. Mild phenolic spiciness and yeast flavors may be present. Mild acidity is appropriate. Diacetyl should not be present.
  • Common Ingredients: About 50% unmalted wheat and 50% pale barley malt (usually Pils malt) constitute the grist. In some versions, up to 5-10% raw oats may be used. Spices of freshly-ground coriander and Curaçao or sometimes sweet orange peel complement the sweet aroma and are quite characteristic. Other spices (e.g., chamomile, cumin, cinnamon, Grains of Paradise) may be used for complexity but are much less prominent. Ale yeast prone to the production of mild, spicy flavors is very characteristic. In some instances a very limited lactic fermentation, or the actual addition of lactic acid, is done.
  • Commercial Examples: Allagash White, Blanche de Bruxelles, Celis White, Hoegaarden Wit, Ommegang Witte, St. Bernardus Witbier, Wittekerke

Brewing Properties of Belgian-Style Witbier

These are the functional brewing properties of Belgian-Style Witbier beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.

The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
4.8 - 5.6%
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
10 - 17 IBUs
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
2 - 4 SRM
(4 - 8 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.044 - 1.050
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.006 - 1.008

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.