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Help with recipe

Backstory. My special niece is getting married and I want to make a beer with her in mind which we will drink at the party. She likes wheat beer and she is getting married on cape cod. I want to do a cranberry wheat. This is what I’ve been working on.

Amount Fermentable PPG °L Bill %
5 lb German - Wheat Malt 37 2 52.6%
4 lb German - Pilsner 38 1.6 42.1%
0.5 lb American - Caramel / Crystal 40L 34 40 5.3%
9.5 lb Total
Amount Variety Type AA Use Time IBU
0.5 oz Willamette Pellet 4.5 Boil 60 min 9.52
Other Ingredients
Amount Name Type Use Time
8 oz Craisons Flavor Secondary 0 min
Wyeast - German Wheat 3333
Attenuation (avg):
Optimum Temp:
63 - 75 °F
Any and all advice would be helpfull.

If you want it to drop clear, use the yeast you specified. If you want it to be cloudy, I’d use 3068. The best German wheat yeast, IMO. I personally also like to use some flaked wheat in my wheat beers. I don’t get “wheat” flavor from malted wheat, but love what flaked wheat adds. I’ve used up to 50% of the grain bill with good success, but would recommend 15-30%. Again, if you want to the beer to be cloudy. If looking for a clear beer, don’t use flaked wheat.

I may not be the most qualified person to comment on how to make a fruit beer, since I’ve never made one, but I’m pretty sure you need to use more fruit than what you’re listing in your ingredients, and you need to use the fresh stuff. A half-pound of dried fruit in the secondary is most likely not going to have a tremendous flavor impact. I’d go with some cranberry juice for priming, and use some fresh berries in the fermenter, too. I’d go with at least a whole pound of berries to really get some good flavor, probably more if you want a more intense fruit character. If you can’t get fresh berries, use some frozen concentrate. Anything would be better than just using dried cranberries, I would have to say.

I’m not looking for a real strong cranberry flavor. I just want a hint, maybe a little tartness. If I use flaked wheat should I cut back on the malted wheat or the pilsner?

I agree with deliusism. 8 oz of dried fruit isn’t going to do anything for you. If I were you, I would brew a 4-gallon recipe and then near the end of primary fermentation I would add a full gallon of cranberry juice. That will definitely get you a little flavor and tartness and color. Then let that ferment out again. It might take a few weeks to finish fermenting, as juices often ferment a lot slower than malt sugars.

If you want to use flaked wheat, I’d trade it for a little malted wheat. I would think 10% should be plenty, of the total grist.

I don’t want the beer to be red. And I don’t want to thin it with sugar juice. Personally I don’t like fruit beers and I am going to be drinking this along with many of my brothers in law. So their will be some compromise. I’m trying to make a more manly “girl” beer. Ill put in the wheat flake and use the 3068. I was thinking "dry hopping"with the dried cranberries maybe I should use fresh crushed instead.

I would counsel, Don’t do the craisins. Use a pound of fresh or frozen cranberries instead, in the secondary for a week or maybe two.
Last Fall in my Graf I used 1 lb and it was just right- nice color, a little tartness and some flavor but not overwhelming.

May i ask how you prepared the fresh cranberries for the secondary?

I’m going to soak them in vodka. I will split a test batch into one dried one crushed and steeped for a week. I think I will put them in a hop sack and let them drain off the liquid to loose some of the redness. I’m going for a regular wheat colored beer with just a hint of something nice that you might not know what it was unless I told you. Worse comes to worse ill make a wheat and add extract to the bottling bucket but where’s the fun in that.

[quote=“James Rausch”]I would counsel, Don’t do the craisins. Use a pound of fresh or frozen cranberries instead, in the secondary for a week or maybe two.
Last Fall in my Graf I used 1 lb and it was just right- nice color, a little tartness and some flavor but not overwhelming.[/quote]

I would agree with this. Use fresh or frozen cranberries. Don’t use extract… it leaves an odd aftertaste, IMO.
Last year I experimented with a Neapolitan Stout (Chocolate/Strawberry/Vanilla). I used 4lbs of fresh strawberries and they overpowered everything else in the beer… and this was a stronger stout. In a wheat beer, I think you’d really want to be restrained with the fruit. 1lb sounds like a good starting point.

They were fresh frozen when I got them(locally produced). I let them thaw partially, crushed them with a rolling pin(still in the gallon ziplock), added them to a sanitized carboy and racked on top. I also added 1 lb honey. Fermentation kicked back in, mostly because of the honey, for about a week.
There was a little color, but not much, and just a tartness that was interesting. Unless I told people it was a Cranberry Graf, they wouldn’t have known, so I think 1 lb will be perfect for you. Of course, who the heck other than Homebrewers and Stephen King geeks even have a clue as to what a Graf is?

I used 5lbs of frozen (store-bought, Wegmans) then thawed, then slightly pureed cranberries in a 5-gallon craison I made a few years back and it had a great but subtle slightly tart flavor and an amazing pink color with a big 'ol head.

One thing I would suggest is to add them in a closed/tied-off paint strainer bag for easy removal when racking to keg/bottling bucket. Otherwise you will lose a ton of beer.

I have to admit I had to google graff. Ill have to try it. I see New Belgium makes one.

Interesting. Didn’t know anyone was making them commercially. Over on the HBT forum, ‘Brandon O.’ is the king of graf. Easy to make and vellllly interesting.
After making a straight cider 2 years ago that was as dry as a thousand year old cemetery in Nevada, I wanted a cider with some residual sweetness. Graf was the ticket.

Some would call this a graf. This is where I got the idea to throw in some cranberry juice (instead of apple juice).


Thanks Dave, I like the looks of your recipe, but don’t you think fresh crushed cranberries would be closer to fresh cider than cranberry juice. Most cranberry juice I’ve had is sweetened with a lot of sugar.

Sure, go ahead and try fresh cranberries. I think that will work better than craisins, too.

Based on an experience I once had trying to make a flavored vodka, I’ll say that a cranberry is Mother Nature’s best attempt at creating a sealed container. Do make sure you crush 'em, in other words!

There is a fly in the ointment. Can’t get fresh cranberries and I couldn’t find any frozen, so I’m back to dried or juice. I’m not going to use craisons but some naturally dried cranberries . The wheat beer has been fermenting ten days and I’m going to add 1 or 2 lbs of the cranberries in a hop sack. Its going into an American dark wheat with US-05, I was nervousness about a pink beer. Hoping for auburn. I’ll be in CO for two weeks, ill bottle when I get back.

I was able to find frozen so I used those. Checked the gravity and it was only .020 it started .051. It’s been 14 days with US-05 I would have expected it to be lower. I’m leaving tomorrow for two weeks I hope it gets down while I’m gone.

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