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Old 04-20-2006, 01:43 PM   #1
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Default Advice on Blueberry Ale?

My girlfriend is brewing her second beer this weekend and wants to combine the hoppiness of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and blueberries. She doesn' care for wheat beers, so a blueberry wheat is out. I know there are some good blueberry ales out there, but I've never tried any of them.

Here's what we came up with:
~~~~~
Kelly's Hopped-Up Blueberry Ale
Recipe 2006 by Mark Pannell & Kelly Westphal

OG: 1.053; FG: 1.012; IBU = 59.4%; SRM = 6.4; ABV = 5.4%

Extracts:
5 lbs. Munton's plain extra light DME

Grains:
0.5 lbs. British crystal malt (30-L)
1 lb. Belgian CaraPils malt, 2-row (5.9-L)

Bittering hops:
2 oz. Perle [6.0% AAU] (50 mins.)

Finishing hops:
0.5 oz. Horizon [10.2% AAU] (15 mins.)
0.5 oz. Horizon [10.2% AAU] (5 mins.)

Dry hop:
0.5 oz. Cascade [6.0% AAU] (15 mins.)

Fining agent:
1 tsp. Irish Moss (15 mins.)

Misc. Flavorings:
5 lbs. frozen blueberry puree (add to primary fermenter)

Yeast:
White Labs WLP029 German Ale/Kolsch Yeast (from starter)

Primary:
7 days at 68o-70o F

Secondary:
14 days at 68o-70o F

Total boil: 90 minutes

In a separate, shallow pan, add water to just cover the fruit puree and heat to no more than 175oF for 20 mins., stirring occasionally. Cover and let cool.
Crack the grains and place in muslin grain bag. Add grains to 1.5 gal. water along with ~1 cup of the DME. Bring slowly to 155°F and hold for 30 mins. Remove grains and perform a mini-sparge with .5 gallons of 170oF water. Increase heat to a boil. Add Irish Moss and hops to schedule above.
Cool wort to 70oF - 80oF, top off with ~ 4.5 gallons of water and add fruit puree. Aerate well and pitch yeast . Prime with 1-1/4 cups plain DME.
~~~~~
This will be the first fruit beer for me, as well as her! So, I decided to ramp up the CaraPils to add more non-fermentable sugar to counterbalance any possible dryness that the fruit will add. I'm using Horizon hops since I've read that Sierra Nevada started using Magnums. Horizon is a good substitute for Magnums and I have them on hand.

I'm curious as to if/how much the puree will add to the gravity. Any thoughts?

Any suggestions, warnings, tips, etc., are very welcome. Thanks!

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Old 04-20-2006, 03:09 PM   #2
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That looks pretty good. I did an extract pale ale with 2.2lbs each of peaches and raspberries and it's matureing into a really nice beer. The fruityness isnt overpowering, it's just a presence really, aroma and aftertaste. Racking was a bit of a PITA. I used a bucket for my primary and to rack through the sludge I pushed a conical strainer down into the quagmire and syphoned from inside it, worked great! Good luck, on a hot day you'll convert a bunch of your friends to sissy girl-beer drinkers, guaranteed!

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Old 04-20-2006, 04:15 PM   #3
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I would think that 5lbs of blueberries would add significantly to the gravity. I am not going to try and estiamte a number because I'm not exactly sure....There's definitely a lot of fermentable sugars in there, however. I would consider doubling your flavor hops...but that is just my preference. The added hops might counterbalance any alcohol nose you may develop if the blueberries do, in fact, add to the gravity significantly.

It looks like it will be a good one.

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Old 04-20-2006, 05:00 PM   #4
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I have a Blueberry Ale that is really coming into its own about now. The recipe is similar, but with a couple of differences. It was on that mega-thread on fruit beers, but that now seems to have been archived.

Off the top of my head (I'm on my lunch time at work), the key differences were that I did use a very light color steeping grain, wich I think will help with head retention and flavor, although it will tend to also darken the brew a bit, so I did not leave it in long.

I also substituted some rice solids for the extracts. I would have gone 50/50 between Coopers Extra Light LME and rice solids, but they did not have enough in stock at my HBS so I used the Coopers, one pound of light DME and one pound of rice solids. I used the rice to make a paler and slightly less flavorful brew in an attempt to highlight both the blueberry flavor and color.

I used a pretty light hops mix for the same reason. I don't recall exactly what I used, but the acid was only around 5% or so. I also used Nottingham dry yeast.

My blueberries (about 2 1/2 pounds of frozen, pureed and pasteurized) went into the secondary. This was the biggest weakness - I should have gotten more, but blueberries, even frozen, off season are pretty pricey.

I was happy with this approach and will be making a black raspberry ale soon using a variation of it. I will probably make a slightly bigger batch because in the racking process is messy and sludgy, so a lot was lost and my yield was low - less than two cases of 12 ounce bottles.

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Old 04-21-2006, 12:31 AM   #5
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Thanks everyone.

I upped the hops just a bit by adding a 1/2 oz. of Horizon for flavoring at 30 mins. and added another lb. of DME for 6 lbs. total. I really didn't want to go much above 70 IBU and this gets her to ~68 IBU and an OG of 1.062. I'm guessing (and that's all it is) that the OG will actually be closer to ~1.075-1.080 b/c of the berries.

She's looking exactly for what you described, Cheyco - fruityness (that) isn't overpowering, it's just a presence really, aroma and aftertaste. And she wants an ABV of at least 6%.

Well, off to make her starter. This is the only part of the process I'm doing for her. The rest is all hers; she's insisting I do nothing but watch and advise!

Here she is - Kelly the Novice Brewer:

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Old 04-21-2006, 08:50 PM   #6
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By the way - one more thing about these fruit beers. In general, they kiss like a long lost lover but kick like a mule because of all the fermentables. Better not have many plans for afterwards if you sit down to a couple, and they will sneak right up on you!

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Old 04-21-2006, 08:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveM
Better not have many plans for afterwards if you sit down to a couple, and they will sneak right up on you!
Or maybe you'd better have plans. Know what I mean guvna'?

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Old 04-21-2006, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chairman Cheyco
Or maybe you'd better have plans. Know what I mean guvna'?



By the way, one other lesson I took from doing fruit beers is (assuming you bottle instead of keg) is to put one or two into clear, untinted bottles. As long as you keep them in the dark, the clear glass shouldn't harm them but you will get a great view of the color once you get to that point, and the color can be startling.
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:42 PM   #9
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Never thought about one clear bottle. I'll pass that along to her. Thanks!

She finished with an OG of 1.055, so this should be in the 5.6% ABV range. It was a long brew session for her - about 5-1/2 hours for an extract with grains! And the blueberries splattered everwhere - on her wall, on the counter, all over her hands. Thankfully, she kept a Clorox Magic Sponge handy! She vows no more fruit beers after this!

She rigged a blow off tube, which turned out to be a good idea. She had vigorous bubbles the next morning. She called last night b/c the fermentation was accelerating and the growler being used for the blow off was getting full. She emptied it out and may have had to go with a larger vessel - I don't know yet.

It has a ruby color to it like no beer I've ever seen before! She tried the sample last night and said that the bitterness and fruit flavor was very prominent. Hoping that mellows over time.

We picked up some Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale from Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor, Maine. It was very good! The blueberry flavor is subdued. You can taste it on your lips at first, but it gives way to the malt and hops soon after. It makes for a great, easy drinking summer ale.

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Old 04-24-2006, 06:06 PM   #10
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"She" . . .

I recently brewed a fruit beer . . . and I am taking full responsibility for it. SWMBO may not even drink one . . . but I am okay with admitting that I brewed one. . .


Since coming to this board, I've always chuckled about this . . . everyone w/ questions about fruit beers seems to say they are asking for their wives/daughters or they are brewing for their wives/daughters.

C'mon guys . . .we can drink fruity beers too . . . [sips a daquiri]


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