Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Here's a quick home-brew recipe for our favorite Belgian Wit made with locally foraged Paw Paws. This is an incredibly unique beer and one of the most rewarding things you can brew when everything goes well. There's tons of information out there on Paw Paws and we're not going to attempt to cover everything here, so please do your homework before attempting this brew this beer!
DISCLAIMER*** AGAIN, PLEASE BE SURE TO READ-UP ON THE USE OF PAW PAWS AS PARTS OF THE PLANT ARE REPORTED TO BE TOXIC! DO NOT USE THE TREE, BARK, SEEDS, OR SKIN. ALSO, COOK OR FEEZE THE FRUIT UNLESS YOU WANT TO INTRODUCE WILD YEAST AND A WHOLE SLEW OF RANDOM BACTERIA!!
So where exactly do you find the elusive Paw Paw tree?
While I'm not giving up my personal patches, I will tell you that Paw Paws literally grow almost everywhere across the state of Missouri. Once you find one tree you're bound to find hundreds of them. What makes it harder is that very few of the trees actually get pollinated and bare fruit, so it really takes some searching to find enough fruit to make brewing this recipe worthwhile. Don't be too discouraged by this, I've found at least 50lbs within a 100 yard radius when you find the "sweet spot".
Look around dry creek beds and in rocky "hollers". The Big Piney River is a great place to spot them from your canoe or kayak. Always be sure to always check local laws about foraging and be respectful of private property or you may find yourself in hot water!
Enough disclaimers already....bring on the recipe!
BELGIAN WIT w/ MISSOURI PAW PAWS
Batch Size : 5.5 gallons Boil Volume: 7.5 gallons Boil Time: 90 Minutes
Original Gravity: 1.051 Final Gravity: 1.013 ABV: 5.05% IBU: 18.86 SRM: 3.69
6 lb - Belgian Pilsner - 52.2%
2.5 lb - American White Wheat - 21.7%
2 lb - Flaked Wheat - 17.4%
1 lb - Rice Hulls - 8.7%
1.25 oz Domestic Hallertau
Imperial B44 Whiteout or Wyeast Belgian Witbier 3944
0.5 - 1.5oz Fresh Citrus Zest (optional)
0.25 - 0.5oz Crushed Coriander Seed (optional)
5 lbs - Paw Paw Flesh in secondary. (Frozen or Gently Pan Roasted and carmelized)
Heat 4.5 gallons of soft water to 160-162 and mash in to hit 150-152F (personal preference here) for 60 minutes. Mash out at 168 for 10 minutes. Sparge with 7.7 gallons of 168-170 F water and collect 7.5 gallons. Boil for 90 minutes. (Always use a recipe helper like Brewer's friend or BeerSmith to determine exact volumes for your system.) GOOD LUCK!