I am about to brew a blackberry wheat beer with NBs american wheat kit. Im going to be using blackberries that I have picked out of my back yard. My questions are how much in pounds or whatever do I need of the blackberries for a 5 gallon batch to give a nice flavor to the beer? Also do I need to be worried about natural yeasts on the berries if I have rinsed them good and frozen them? Any input is welcomed. Thanks.
1 to 1.5 lbs per gallon. More for an ascertive taste and less for a hint. Make sure to browse the forum to learn how to treat them!
I think you’ll need at least 2 lbs/gallon, so 10 pounds minimum. If you freeze them in advance it will kill some of the wild yeast and bacteria, as well as free up more of the delicious juices. If you are brewing all grain then I would mash high, around 154-155 F to provide extra sweetness to balance the acidity of the berries. If brewing with extract then no adjustments should be necessary. In either case, don’t boil them but rather add them during secondary fermentation or the end of primary, then allow the berries to ferment for an extra couple of weeks before bottling or kegging. Best of luck to you!
Thanks a lot guys. I cant wait to do this. I just starting ferminting a kolsch today with bitter orange peel and coriander! should be cool. I hope to make the blackberry wheat soon, trying to make some brews my girlfriend will enjoy too.
I have one question left…I hope.
I am going to do a BB Saison. After freezing and on secondary day. Do I mash up the BBs or what? It seems to make sense to me to crush them up in some manner.
3 times now I’ve made a Blackberry Wheat Beer using frozen blackberries. I’ve used 8# and let them sit in the secondary for 3-4 weeks. I can tell you this gives a very strong fruit flavor. In fact the finished product almost doesn’t taste like a beer. My wife and several of her friends who don’t typically prefer beer love it. It’s not what I’d typically choose for myself, although it is delicious.
I don’t know if its necessary with the frozen fruit I use, but I’ve pasteurized my berries in about 1/2 gal of water before adding them. I don’t recall the specifics, but I think its roughly 170°F for 20 minutes. During pasturization, I mashed the blackberries as well as I could. After cooling down the mashed blackberries and liquid, I opened a paint strainer bag over the fermenter and poured the whole slurry in. Then I tied the bag up and left it in the fermenter.
I’ve found that the blackberries do not add much sugar. You may notice a very short secondary fermentation after adding them.
Good question. If the freezing action does not render them soft and juicy enough, if they are bagged you could just squeeze the bag a lot before adding them to the fermenter. Or it might be crazy but you could even put them in a sanitized food processor or blender and make a sort of puree out of them if you wish. It might work really well. But I never tried it that way. When I recently used cherries, I froze them and added them whole to the fermenter. It made racking difficult when the hose plugged every few minutes due to the whole cherries in there. Might be nice to grind them all up skins and all to prevent this from happening. But I’ve not tried it yet. In theory it might also cause more haze due to the smaller particles, but I’m not sure. If you try pureeing them, let me know how it turns out. Or really let us know either way.
IMO the problem with blending them is that blenders use air, which might drive off the volatile aromatics which you want in the finished beer. Granted fermentation will do the same thing, but this just adds an extra step where the volatiles can be driven away from your beer.
So, go easy on the blending. Afterwards you can also refrigerate the fruit for 24 hours to allow time for most of the oxygen to come out of it.