River Rat Beer

Our annual summer river trip is fast approaching. Could it hurry up and get here sooner? I asked the ladies what they wanted me to brew up for it this year (I already brewed my Haus Pale Ale for the guys), and they asked for a Blue Moon Clone which Mrs. G has named River Rat Beer.

I did some research and found a guy named Wayne on HomeBrewTalk who claims he’s an ex-employee of Coor’s and helped to develop the original Blue Moon. I have no reason to doubt him and it sounded like a solid recipe, so I thought I’d give it a try.

According to Wayne, Blue Moon is an Americanized Witbier, not a Belgium Witbier. The difference being that sweet orange peels are used instead of bitter orange peels and a yeast like US-05 or US-04 instead of a more traditional Belgium yeast

Boiling the wort on my Blichman Burner

Recipe for 2.5 Gallon Batch

SG: 1.037

OG: 1.050

FG: 1.010

ABV: 5.34%

Efficiency: 75%


  • 2.5lb American Pale 2-Row
  • 2lb American Wheat
  • 0.5lb Flaked Oats


  • 15.31g Hallertau Mittlefruh 4.1AA 60min boil (IBU 17.2)

Other Ingredients (last10  minutes of the boil)

  • 14.17g McCormick’s Valencia Orange Peel
  • 9.92g McCormick’s Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient


7.7g US-05, rehydrated

Mash one hour at 154F

Boil one hour

Sweet orange peel, ground coriander and yeast nutrient added for the last 10 minutes of the boil

The mash and the boil all went as planned

Chilling the wort

Before the can pitch the yeast, you must chill the wort. I used to just use an immersion chiller, but the ground water here in Texas can become pretty warm. Last summer, I purchased a submersible pond pump from Harbor Freight. Now I chill the wort down to about 100F, collecting the warm water to use for cleaning my equipment or to water the lawn. When it reaches about 100F, I switch the line over to the pump and recirculate the water through the ice chest filled with ice and cold water. Doing this I was able to get my wort down to 67F in no time.

Brew day went pretty smoothly. Instead of a SG of 1.037, I hit 1.038 and instead of a OF of 1.050, I hit 1.051. You couldn’t get any closer. The beer might be a tad higher than 5.34% ABV, but I think the girls won’t care. Or notice.

It’s fermenting away now at 63F. In a few days, once its calmed down a bit, I’ll bump it to 65, then slowly raise it to 70. I generally let it ferment for about 3 weeks so the yeast can do their job and clean up after themselves. After it’s done fermenting, I’ll bottle it up. Still trying to figure out how many volumes of CO2 to prime it to. Blegium Witbiers generally are 2.5-3.0, so I’ll probably just aim for middle of the road and go 2.75.

Fermenting away almost 48 hours later. You can see the yeast has formed a nice krausen, or foamy layer, on the top, indicating that fermentation is going well.


I’ll make sure and update you in about 6 weeks and let you know how it turns out.


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