The stawberries are in and plentiful this year. Was wondering if anyone has had much success brewing with strawberries and if so would you care to share your recipe ? I was thinking maybe a strawberry blonde or wheat ale. I do realize that brewing with this fruit can be difficult and it’s easy to get an astringent off flavor but i’m up for the challenge. Thanks !
I did a strawberry wheat that turned out well. Was just a simple wheat recipe which was 45% 2 row, 45% flaked wheat, 7% munich and 3% honey malt (can’t recall why I used that recipe or why the munich was there) and the OG was 1.046. Only bittered it to 25 IBU’s. 10 lbs of strawberry was added in secondary (used a 6 gallon carboy even in secondary due to all the strawberries) and let it sit for a week or so. For winging it I was quite pleased, even what felt like a lot of strawberries is was pretty subtle in the finished beer but it made for a great summer beer.
Hope you have a way to cold crash since that was the only way I got the strawberries to settle out so I could transfer to the keg.
Not the “official” way to add the flavor, but last summer I brewed a Cream Ale and added the strawberry extract flavoring you can find on NB or most homebrew stores. I used a whole bottle for my 5 gallon batch and the flavor turned out great. Didn’t taste artificial at all and was a huge hit. Even after many brews my friends still talk about that one as being their favorite.
[quote=“Flip”]I did a strawberry wheat that turned out well. Was just a simple wheat recipe which was 45% 2 row, 45% flaked wheat, 7% munich and 3% honey malt (can’t recall why I used that recipe or why the munich was there) and the OG was 1.046. Only bittered it to 25 IBU’s. 10 lbs of strawberry was added in secondary (used a 6 gallon carboy even in secondary due to all the strawberries) and let it sit for a week or so. For winging it I was quite pleased, even what felt like a lot of strawberries is was pretty subtle in the finished beer but it made for a great summer beer.
Hope you have a way to cold crash since that was the only way I got the strawberries to settle out so I could transfer to the keg.[/quote]
Thanks for sharing. Cold crashing shouldn’t be a problem. Thinking about pasteurizing 10-15lbs of fresh strawberries cutting them up and like you said straight into the secondary for about a week
Extract all the way. Nowadays these extracts are great, and usually organic and all natural. Throw a pound of fruit in there if you need to tell your friends you used real strawberries… Real fruit is PITA to use and lots mess and wasted beer and the results are less than stellar.
I agree with you and GrizFan20 about the use of extract. The reason why i’m wanting to use real fruit in this instance is because we have a strawberry farm and having access to this much free fruit I might as well use it. We already have the wine down to a perfection. Was even thinking about trying out a Lambic but that’s well beyond my skill set at the moment.
Lambics aren’t nearly as complicated as they seem at first. They’re really quite simple if you have the patience and fermenter space to store them a long time. You can make a great lambic with extract, as well, as the non-fermentable sugars in extract will provide some food for the bacteria over the long haul.
Make yourself 5-gallons of 1.050 wort with mostly 2-row/pilsner and wheat (or an equivalent extract), hop it to less than 10-15 IBU, ferment it with any yeast you have available (although a belgian would be nice), transfer it to a secondary with a sour blend culture, and 6 months to a year later transfer it onto fruit, either fresh or frozen. While you’re at it, you can transfer another fermented batch onto the sour yeast cake and keep the process going.
OK then. I think Flip got you started. You need tons of fruit. 2-4lbs per G from what I’ve read. I assume you have access to a press from the winemaking, that’s what I would use. I think one of main reasons guys fail with strawberries is because they puree and open up all those tiny seeds in the fruit. They are wicked haze and astringency makers. A tomato press/food mill might work. Get as much fruit off of those seeds and then you got something to add to secondary. Even then, I think you might need a bit of extract to make the impression one expects from a strawberry beer. A different approach might be to not even ferment it all and just add strawberry juice to a finished beer in a keg to preserving the magic.
If you make wine with it, then you know that strawberries are a difficult fruit to ferment without loosing the character of the fresh fruit. But if you got the wine down, maybe you are looking at this backwards. Instead of designing a beer and adding strawberries, maybe you need to take your wine recipe and replace the sugar and water you normally add with wort that is about 1/2 your normal starting Brix, then proceed normally. A 50/50 mix of wheat and 2-row would probably be a good place to start for your grain bill, and bitter it with about 2 IBU per Brix.
As a wine maker who has struggled with making decent strawberry wine, I’d be interested if you could provide some tips. Off topic I know, so you could PM me if you prefer.
To zwiller’s point I only sliced up the strawberries which I had to in order to get them into the carboy. That brings up another point, will be way easier to clean up and get in if you use a bucket vs. trying to get that sludge out of a carboy which I learned the hard way. :lol: I used 2 lbs per gallon and the strawberry wasn’t super prominent, it was there but not smack you in the face obvious.
Thanks for the input everyone ! Great information. @Porkchop looks like I may be trying out a Lambic in my near future after that description …much appreciated. @rebuiltcellars never thought about it that way but that’s how i am going to approach it now. I’ll send you a PM
You definitely should try brewing a lambic! While you’re at it, check out “American Sour Beers” for an excellent guide on how to do these styles of beer. The only problem with the book, though, is how much money it has cost me in additional fermenters.