Burnt Orange Belgian Wheat Recipe

Written by Damon on January 5, 2009

I found a food-blog post extolling the virtues of burnt citrus fruit when I was doing research for my duck breast prosciutto.

Unfortunately I can’t find the blog recommending burnt citrus fruit so no link, but basically they said burning citrus fruit causes a chemical reaction that radically changes some of the flavour compounds and and kills the oils.

Being the adventurous little brewer that I am, I instantly recognised the potential for new potential brewing ingredient. I had some Belgian Witbier on so when I went to bottle it, I siphoned off a portion and let it sit on some freshly burnt oranges for a couple of extra weeks.

Tasting Notes

It’s hard to describe the flavour of burnt orange. It retains some orange flavour without the tang, but it doesn’t taste burnt.

The colour is a rich, dark, brownish-orange with a nice beautiful head that unfortunately doesn’t last very long.

Orange and caramel aromas dominate the scent slipping between subtle and bold. Maybe it’s just me but sometimes I totally miss the aroma and other times it seems plain as the snow on my porch.

The burnt orange flavours dominate, but it still retains some beer characteristics. I think the coriander in the original recipe really support the burnt orange well. The mix of orange with the bright carbonation makes this beer seem almost a little spicy. The aftertaste is rich and changes from caramelly to bitter and citric before fading gracefully over a couple of minutes.

Brewing Notes for Future Recipes

This was an excellent first recipe. So good that I’ve already started my next burnt orange beer (or citrus I haven’t decided).

So what is it? a Belgian tripel.

Burnt orange is quite robust. So I’m upping the spice a little, upping the gravity and making the beer a lot more phenolic than I normally like. I think a hint more spice would be nice and the phenols will get balanced out by the burnt orange. If you’re not a regular visitor to Life With Beer, I’m not a lover of the rubbing alcohol-like flavours imparted by phenols.

Burning Orange Belgian Wheat Recipe


Weight (lbs) Weight (kgs) Grain
5.5 lbs 2.5 kgs Pilsner Malt
2.75 lbs 1.25 kgs Wheat Malt
2.75 lbs 1.25 kgs Wheat Flakes

Hops and Adjuncts

Weight (oz) Weight (g) Ingredient Time
0.95 oz 27 g Perle 5.7%, whole 90 min
10 oranges Burnt Valencia Oranges secondary


Wyeast 3944: Belgian Witbier harvested from lees

Brewing Schedule

Brewed: 10/07/2008
Racked: 10/30/2008
Racked Oranges:  11/14/2008
Bottled: 11/28/2008


No water adjustments to local Pilsen-like water.

Brewing Stats

Stage Time / Temp
Mash In Temperature 140°F 60°C
Mash In Time 80 mins
1st Rest Temperature 156°F 69°C
1st Rest Time 40 mins
Mash-Out Teperature 172°F 78°C
Mash-Out Time 20 mins
Sparge Time 80 mins
Boil Time 80 mins

OG: 1.048
IBU: approx. 17
Ferment Temp: 71°F 22°C
FG: 1.007
ABV: 4.9%