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Grain Belt Blu replication

So, my brother-in-law really liked the Grain Belt Blu he had at the MN State Fair. I would like to whip something up for his birthday. I am limited to extracts, so no full mash. I have a very simple setup. I was thinking about either the cream ale or american wheat beer and throwing in some frozen blueberries in the primary fermenter. Maybe? I really have not worked with fruit before.

Grain belt blu is a their lager with blue berry juice added to it. Look at you grocery store for 2 quarts of blueberry juice that has no preservative add to it. Its Its normally near the fruits and vegetables. Add it either to secondary after primary fermentation if you dont have a secondary add to primary again after fermentation has completed and let it set two weeks then bottle or keg as normal.

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I’ve not seen a blueberry juice… There may be some you can order in… How long have you been brewing?
I thought experimental brewing just talked about blueberries… Shooting from the hip here… never done this… 3lbs per gallon seems to be what was “recommended”…
I tried some a bit back, was really sweet… Sneezles61

I have been home brewing beer 20 years now and wine for 25 years of my life . I agree if you want to use fresh 1/2 lb to 3 lbs per gallon is a good starting point The seeds and the skins are kind a pain when racking and getting clear beer.

I have been doing this for a while yet I am still sort of in the shallow end. I have a limited time and space for this hobby, and I have been brewing basic everyday beers. So coloring within the lines.

Straight blueberry juice seems rather unsophisticated - but we are talking about Grain Belt here. Not knocking Grain Belt - well, maybe a little.

I see that Amazon sells organic Blueberry juice - what don’t they sell? I was thinking something more natural or authentic - like using frozen blueberries or puree. Or should I be thinking along the lines of a summer shandy here?

3 lbs per gallon that sounds obsessive. I’d stay closer to the half actually actually personally I would use .00 lbs per gallon. Having never tasted that particular beer but have tasted others I’d just use the blueberry extract. The shandy may work not sure how to do it though unless you’re kegging

Our host does sell. Vintner harvest blue berry purree. For 3 gallon i would use. 1 can. Let it stand. 7 days. Take a sample. If not happy add a other can of puree. I do use the cherry purree for 5.5 gall i do use 2 can of puree. Sample after 2 weeks. Add 1 can more nice product

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I will admit it does seem alittle obsessive i thought the same thing. That is the max i would go 3 lb per gallon. A lighter beer could use alittle the lesser amount. Styles like stouts porters use upper range. In the lighter styles of beer the upper ranger is more like a shandy type beer.

I’m not a big fan of shandy beer I believe it to be an abomination. That said I think it should be mixed in the glass.

How about brewing a nice pale ale bottle 1/2 for yourself and those for the broinlaw just add an eye dropper of extract at bottling. No sense wasting a whole batch. After a six or so of blueberry beer he’ll move on

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Brew Cat, but I don’t think I am going to go down your route. My brother-in-law is a great guy and does go through a couple of cases of Leinenkugel’s summer shandy over the summer. Kegging is not really a option. Its will be his beer and he lives a few hours away. And I have had horrible luck with extracts. The in-laws once ordered up a batch of dark cherry stout and it had an artificial taste to it.

Damian Winter, I have a follow up question. Any particular reason to use fresh over frozen berries? If I understand correctly I will still need to freeze the fresh berries since it helps to break down the cell walls. I would seem to save a step by going straight to the frozen ones - or am I missing something?

The frozen ones will work fine too sometimes they are cheaper

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Everybody, a quick update.

I used a cream ale kit. After 1 week I ran 8 pounds of frozen Sam’s clubs blueberry through a blender and dropped them into the primary fermenter. So about 1.5 pounds of fruit per gallon. A little secondary action.

After I week I bottled. This did not go smoothly. Even after racking the bottling wand got jammed up after a single bottle. So it went from the spigot in the bottling bucket straight into the bottle. Some eyeballing was required, However, everything considering, it went well.

The beer was good, but it lacked the blueberry depthness that Grain Belt Blu had.

Any advice for either problem would be welcomed. I am thinking about upping the frozen blueberries to 12 pounds, or adding some blueberry flavoring, or maybe both. I have no idea for the bottling issue.

Thanks again for all of the advice.

Just to make sure im reading your post right. You added the blueberries to primary fermentation? If thats what you have done you most likely didnt get the flavor you were looking for. They need to be added to the secondary vessel for fermentation and giving at least 2 weeks in secondary. That will help alot on the flavor alot. I wouldnt run them threw the blender just gently smash them next time and add to secondary. That will help you get more clear beer and less bottle problems. Also cold crash for few days before bottling the beer. All the blueberries and stuff will drop out of suspension to the bottom of your fermenter. Helping you get more clear beer.

I suspect your looking for that somewhat sweet blueberry flavor… It won’t happen unless you pasteurize your brew… What little bit sugars available will get used by the yeast. Sneezles61

damian_winter, yes, you are reading that correctly. Just to understand what you are saying, the Cream Ale recipe states 2 weeks in the primary fermentator. This is what I did, adding the Blueberries after 7 days. You are saying that you would modify that. 2 weeks in the primary, rack into the secondary with the blueberries for 2 weeks, then bottle? Do I have that correct?

I have never heard of cold crash before. Where can I find some good info on how to do it.

sneezles61, how does one pasteurize one’s beer? And if you do that, how does one get bottle carbonation?

Yes let the beer ferment for two weeks or untill final gravity has been reached. Then transfer it to secondary with the blueberries for two weeks. To cold crash you will need to drop the temperature of the beer down to like 30 degrees for few days this will cause the yeast and blueberries to drop to the bottom of the fermenter. I have a chest freezer and a temperature controller to cold crash with. If you dont you can use a cooler and ice and water to crash yours. Check out How to brew by John Palmer its online and free and is a great source of info on brewing and helpfull things. Now if your looking for the sweet blueberry taste you will need to add lactose as a sweetener its unfermentable sugar. That will add some sweetness to the beer and blueberries.

I’ve not pasteurized a brew… yet.
Keg your beer, carbonate it to your liking… then add your sweet flavoring… Bottle, cap. Have a pot on a heat source you can control to 170*… Put the bottles in the heated water, leave it there for 20 minutes, remove, let it cool to room temp.
I do have an idea that will require this treatment for a Christmas ale… Next years experiment… I’ll call it … Santa suds! Sneezles61

damian_winter4 & sneezles61

Thank you both for your replies. For my next attempt - and there will be one - I think I will go with damian_winter’s suggestion of lactose and cold crashing. That lines up better with the equipment that I have.

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