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Adding Berries to Wheat

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Hop Head

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:47 am

Adding Berries to Wheat

So, I have a wheat happily fermenting away this morning. I brewed last night and pitched a starter (my first) and I am very glad I decided to use a blow-off tube!

But I digress... I plan to add 3 lbs. of frozen blueberries when I rack to my secondary fermenter. My question is, will the berries discolor my beer? I have a feeling they will, but I am hoping they won't. I am not a fan of berry wheat beers that are predominantly fruity and purple in color. I'm hoping for a subtle blueberry flavor and no purple color. I was inspired by a local brew pub that made a killer blueberry wheat as I just described. I asked the bartender and he told me that they used fresh blueberries... so we'll see.
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jcoons

Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:09 am

Hop Head...

How ironic, I just brewed up NB's American Wheat extract kit, adding an extra 1Lb of Wheat DME, last night. And I plan to do the same thing, make a blueberry wheat ale for SWMBO as she fell in love with the Blueberry Ale of Wachusett Brewing. Unfortauntely, the good folks at Wachusett wouldn't give any information or hints at all about their receipe.

Did late extract at 20 minutes to try and keep the color as light as I could.
Pitched a starter on Wednesday, and added the 650ml to the wort at 65 deg F, and ended up with an OG of 1.048

I was listening to The Jamil Show podcast on fruit beers, and he did a taste test with extract, fresh berries and Oregon puree, although he didn't test blueberry specifically. They heavily endorsed the puree as havnig the best all around flavor quality and balance, so I may go that route. But I'm worried as well about discoloration of the beer - I don't want "purple haze"!
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rougeale

Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:39 am

In my experience the yeast will breakdown some of the color compounds as time goes on in the fermentor and the bottle. With the purees the color will be quite intense when you first add it but it will mellow with time. The only time I use fresh fruit is for my chocolate raspberry stout. For wheat beers and lambics I stick to the puree it works great.
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jcoons

Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:52 am

Rogue, when you say it will "mellow" with time, does the color largely dissipate? Or, as in the case of blueberries, will there always be a purplish-blue tint to the beer? I'm planning to add the extract to the secondary.
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Hop Head

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:53 am

Thanks for all the responses guys! Very informative... We'll have to agree to post results. My OG was 1.052.

I'm also going to follow up with the brew pub (Ellicottville Brewing Company - Ellicottville, NY) the next time I travel there on business. Will post any information then...
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jcoons

Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:06 am

Hop head... what did you use for fermentables to get an improved OG? Are you AG or extract?

I did 6 lbs of LME-wheat and 1 lb of wheat DME and hoped to come out at around 1.053/54, but ended up quite a but under.
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Hop Head

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:16 am

I used 3 lbs of wheat DME and 3 lbs of light DME. I'm surprised to see that big of a difference between LME and DME. Considering you used 7 lbs of fermentables while I used 6. I didn't use any steeping grains for this one... just trying to keep it simple. I took my hydrometer reading at 70 degrees before pitching my yeast.

What temp was your wort when you took your gravity reading?
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Denny

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:45 am

I recommend using at least 1 lb. of blueberries per gal. of beer. They're very subtle, and if you use much less it'll be hard to taste them. IME, the give the beer a purple color and pink head....
Life begins at 60....1.060, that is.

www.dennybrew.com
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Hop Head

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:57 pm

Thanks for your input Denny. I guess the only way to keep the beer from getting discolored is to use an extract as opposed to the actual fruit. Oh well, I'm going to go for it anyway. I'll pick up some extra blueberries before racking to the secondary. Should I boil them first to sanitize?
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Denny

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:04 pm

NO! NEVER! I use frozen, thawed blueberries I pick myself from our own patch. The freezing/thawing breaks down cells walls to help extract the juice. By the time the beer is in secondary, the alcohol content and low pH make it pretty resistant to infection, so the berries go in the secondary and the beer gets racked onto them. Boiling the berries will not only destroy the flavor, it will also set the pectin in them and turn them into blueberry jelly!
Life begins at 60....1.060, that is.

www.dennybrew.com
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jcoons

Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:19 pm

Denny, thanks for your comments - what is your opinion of whole berries (be they fresh or frozen) versus using the Oregon puree? Is one better than another in your opinion? Is one more likely to impact color than the other one?

As for my OG measurement, it was at 65 degrees. I also did partial boil, ending up with just about 3 gallons of wort, and added to a little less than 2.5 gallons in primary. I'm assuming by donig this that I'm loosing some to traub and in the racking that will happen.
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Denny

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 1:28 pm

Since I have my own berries to use, I haven't used the puree, so no comment.....
Life begins at 60....1.060, that is.

www.dennybrew.com
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oblivious

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Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 6:55 pm

Hmm, what happened to the "man law" -- don't fruit the beer??? :D This is one of those that I agree with, fruit is better without the beer, and vice versa...
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rougeale

Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:44 pm

There will always be a tint but it definitely decreases. I have a raspberry lambic that is edging 3 years and it has gone from a secondary color of bright red to a mahoganny hue, no color to speak of in the head.

As for fresh vs puree both work well but as Denny says freeze the fresh fruit first otherwise flavor extraction will be low.
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AngryIrishbrew14

Post Sat Dec 30, 2006 7:56 pm

i have been reading up on fruit beers, mostly cranberry style, and i have read some recipes that you add the berries to the wort 5-10 minutes before the end of the boiling process then strain....but as im new to brewing i could be talking junk, but thats one of the recipes i have read...

none the less, any one have a good cranberry recipe to share?

also im new to the board, and "pitching a starter" is...?
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