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Old 08-07-2010, 04:53 AM   #1
oregoncurtis
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Default Aged Blackberry Beer

Hello everyone. I'm new to brewing, only two batches under my belt, with a mead also currently fermenting. I'm looking for some guidance/opinions of me next brew. Living here in Oregon it's just now starting to get into blackberry season. Anyone who's been to the PNW during august knows it's like kudsu in the south except we get delicious berries.

I've been picking a crap ton to make a wine with, but would also like to make a beer with them. I've previously brewed some lower gravity beers and would like to step it up in gravity and maybe do a partial mash. Plus I would love to have something that would age well so I can look back in a 2+ years and drink one of my first batches.

I know that higher alcohol will lend to better preservation, and maybe doing a roastier beer would lend to aging as the strong flavor profiles mellow overtime. As for incorporating the blackberries I don't need and upfront presence, but a nice background would be great, plus I was hoping the sugars would lend to bringing the ABV quite a bit.

I know someone is going to say don't do it, or it will be too sour/acid or something like that and that's fine, but please tell me why so I can make an informed decision.

Thanks ya'll for any tidbits you throw my way!

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Old 08-07-2010, 05:09 AM   #2
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I've heard Blackberry Wheat Beer's are great. You can drink it right away too, so you have immediate gratification. I get the idea of heavy flavors and aging, but I think, just like wine, the fruit is one of the first flavors to dissipate.

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Old 08-07-2010, 05:19 PM   #3
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Its all about personal preference. I do a blackberry wheat once a year and load it up with blackberries. Picked about 16 lbs of berries at the end of June and after freezing them to release the juices, I dumped 8 lbs of berries in 5.5 gallon batch.

To me, blackberries have a subtle flavor, so adding it to a stronger flavored beer seems antithetical. I worked hard for those berries and want to be able to taste them in my beer. Again, just personal preference.

I'd say if you are going to add it to a porter or brown ale, try about 2 lbs per gallon. Clean and freeze your berries to release the juices, then grind up two campden tablets to your thawed out berries, stir it in, and let the berries sanitize overnight. Dump them in after primary fermentation and let the yeast do its magic for a couple of weeks. Don't think the beer will have a great shelf life though. My experience has been that fruit flavors dissipate after about six months.

I like US-05 or Notty for this beer b/c I can ferment around 60 degrees to keep the esters low.

Let us know how it works out.

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Old 08-07-2010, 05:41 PM   #4
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A big blackberry robust porter would age well.

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Old 08-08-2010, 02:48 AM   #5
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Thanks for the wheat suggestions, but I really want a beer to age, plus my first beer was a wheat beer. I'll probably go with a robust port with the berries assuming I can collect 30+ lbs. this year as I need 20 lbs. for the blackberry wine. I don't really care if the blackberry is upfront and detectable as blackberry, just that it can contribute some sort of GOOD flavor and alcohol so the beer will age better. Does anyone know how much alcohol 10 lbs. of blackberries in a 5 gal. batch would add to the beer? Also from what I've heard it seems like after primary would be the best time to add the blackberries. Is this correct?

EDIT: david 42 by big how big do you mean? What starting gravity? How many lbs. of blackberries?

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Old 08-10-2010, 04:02 PM   #6
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If the blackberries are added after primary fermentation has subsided will the yeast start up again and convert the rest of the sugars to alcohol?

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Old 08-15-2010, 01:36 PM   #7
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UncleDave, what do you think about soaking berries in a campden/water solution first prior to freezing? I'm assuming the wild yeast/bacteria would be on the outside of the berries so it shouldn't be an issue? Never used campden before.

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Old 08-16-2010, 02:59 PM   #8
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I know you just said no to a wheat beer, but I recently had dogfishhead's Black and blue on tap at my local watering hole, which is one of their rare brews. Its a wit with blueberries and blackberries @ an ABV of 10%. The blue and blackberry flavor is subtle but good. I think it is delicious, and am thinking of trying to brew it.

A blackberry porter sounds good to me too though, sorry I don't have any advice on how to make it

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