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Old 07-20-2010, 01:05 PM   #1
ircmaxell
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Default Blueberry Ale Recipe - Sanity Check

Hello all. I'm relatively new to brewing (5th batch is in the fermenter now), and sticking to extract brewing for now (Going to make the switch to AG later on in the year). We've done a few kits and one recipe that I put together myself so far (a cherry-wheat, that came out AMAZING). Since a friend of the family has a blueberry patch that opens this weekend, we want to due a blueberry ale next week (Not a wheat beer, but a pale ale).

I've searched the Internet, and really have not found much in terms of Extract recipes (well, that had any kind of positive comments from the brewer). So I think I'm going to tweak my own. What we're looking for is a relatively light ale with a recognizable but subtle blueberry flavor and aroma. I've based this recipe off of: this recipe.

Fermentables:
3.0 lbs Amber DME
3.3 lbs Light LME
1 lbs Crystal 10L
0.5 lbs CaraPils

Hops:
Northern Brewer 1 oz - 60 mins
Fuggles 1 oz - 10 mins

Yeast:
Whitbread WYeast #1099

Other:
Whirlfloc Tablet added at 15 minutes in boil
4.5 lbs Fresh Blueberries added to secondary

My recipe program (QBrew on Linux) shows the following with it:
OG: 1.051
FG: 1.013
ABV: 5.0%
Bitterness: 30 IBU
Color: 11* SRM

Now, I'm planning on doing exactly what I did with the cherries with the blueberries. Basically, wash them well, cut them open (I pitted the cherries), and then freeze them for 24 - 48 hours. Then add to a muslin bag and pasteurize at about 155* for 30 minutes prior to adding to the secondary. It worked really well with the cherries, so hopefully it'll work here as well...

I know the blueberries will add some fermentable sugars, and also increase the color. So I'm guessing an adjusted OG of around 1.060 or so for the sugars, and a final color of around 15* or so.

Here are my reservations (and primary reason I'm posting this here):

1. Hops amount. The linked recipe used 2oz of the Northern Brewer. When I put that in, it gave me 57 IBU. That seemed really high, so is there some other reason that I shouldn't reduce it to 1oz?

2. Hops type. The profile of the Northern Brewer is listed as aggressive. Since we don't want the bitterness or aroma to overpower the blueberry, do you think that we should try substituting a slightly milder hop variety for the bittering hops (Such as Willamette or perhaps Perle)?

3. Acidity. I know the blueberries will impart both a tartness and some acid to the final brew. I'm just wondering if there will be enough other flavors to balance this out (Yet another reason --unless I'm miss-understanding-- to possibly tone down the hops).

Obviously the only way to know for sure is to try it (and we will). I just would like some insight from people with far more experience than me to see if my reservations are justified (or if I'm just over thinking it). Either way, we'll brew it and see what needs to be tweaked later on.

Thanks!

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Old 07-20-2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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1. 57 IBUs isn't high for a Pale, but reducing the amount to let the fruit come through is a good idea.
2. Willamette would be a better choice for the same reason.
3. 4.5 lbs of blueberries will dominate the flavor. I used 3 lbs in a wheat and it's like blueberry soda.

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Old 07-20-2010, 01:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
1. 57 IBUs isn't high for a Pale, but reducing the amount to let the fruit come through is a good idea.
2. Willamette would be a better choice for the same reason.
Perfect. Thanks!
Quote:
3. 4.5 lbs of blueberries will dominate the flavor. I used 3 lbs in a wheat and it's like blueberry soda.
Well, I've seen both sides. Some people say they've used 6+ lbs with a very subtle flavor, and others who say they've used 2 lbs and had your experience. I have a feeling it comes down to how it was added. Did you crush or juice them at all? Did you pasteurize first, or just add directly to the beer? I used 5 lbs of cherries in my cherry wheat and there's barely a cherry flavor (You can tell it's there, but it's not pronounced). All I did was pit them, cut in half, freeze and pasteurize at 155* for 30 minutes prior to adding to the secondary.

I THINK that so long as I don't juice or smash the berries, the result shouldn't be too bad. Perhaps I'll reduce it a bit, or perhaps try doing a split secondary (1 lbs of berries in 2.5 gallons in one fermenter, 2.5 lbs of berries in 2.5 gallons in another fermenter) to try to see which gives a better result...

Anyway, thanks for the reply!
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:47 PM   #4
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Guess it depends on the Blueberries.

Betty, My Blueberry Blonde, has ~4 lbs of berries in it and only hints at berry flavor.

But I did get them in the off-season so the ones now might be more potent.


Oh and here's a chart for you about sugar content in fruits. I don't think you'll get as much as you think with 4lbs of berries
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B5l9-5KEVne9MzM5NjUxZjItNTlmYy00YTk5LTg4NTMtNjc5YTBlMTB hYWYy&hl=en
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B5l9-5KEVne9M2ZmMmMwM2ItZmRhMy00MDRhLTkwNTQtNzNhZTE5ZDY 2NGUy&hl=en

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:06 PM   #5
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Yeah my comment was to increase the berries as well, but that's not from first hand experience, just from books I've read. Extreme Brewing recommends 10lbs of blueberries for a 5gal batch.

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Old 07-20-2010, 04:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayInJersey View Post
Guess it depends on the Blueberries.

Betty, My Blueberry Blonde, has ~4 lbs of berries in it and only hints at berry flavor.

But I did get them in the off-season so the ones now might be more potent.


Oh and here's a chart for you about sugar content in fruits. I don't think you'll get as much as you think with 4lbs of berries
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B5l9-5KEVne9MzM5NjUxZjItNTlmYy00YTk5LTg4NTMtNjc5YTBlMTB hYWYy&hl=en
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B5l9-5KEVne9M2ZmMmMwM2ItZmRhMy00MDRhLTkwNTQtNzNhZTE5ZDY 2NGUy&hl=en
Now that's interesting... So, based on those charts, with 100% extraction I can estimate around 4.5 grams of Sucrose, 79 grams of Glucose and 79 grams of Fructose. I only found conversion factors for Sucrose, and that 4.5 grams will yield 0.02* Brix or about 0.0005 rise in SG. (Estimated at least). So either way, we're only looking at maybe a 0.001 or 0.002 rise in SG due to the fruit...

You say you used 4 lbs and only had a hint of flavor. Can I ask how you prepare and add them? Did you just toss them in? Pasteurize first? Did you juice them? Crush them? etc?

Thanks again!
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Old 07-20-2010, 06:12 PM   #7
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5G Batch...think I have he BMW recipe for it (link) Basically a Blonde Recipe I got off here (or at least I think it was here...)

I just blended them to puree and dumped them in about 5 days from pitching...I don't secondary unless its months...and then only if I feel like it.

Granted I washed them up nicely...but didn't really worry about pasteurization.


I'll probably do more next year...but I like this one enough that I'm considering bottling it next time and giving out some summer samplers

It's how I hook people on the homebrew drug...well the OTHER, legal homebrew drug

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Old 08-07-2010, 02:01 AM   #8
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Well, we just racked off of the blueberries tonight (it only spent 1 week on the berries). We racked a double IPA tonight, so we decided to try the blueberry ale. And it seemed ready to come off the berries (so we racked that as well)...

So we went with the recipe as posted. The berries were pasteurized at 155* for 30 minutes prior to adding to the secondary (whole berries, no crushing or cutting). As I said, we planned on leaving the beer on the berries for 2 weeks, but it was ready now.

Thoughts:

The base beer (after the primary, before the berries) was amazing. A really nice mild pale ale (still a pale ale, but nice and light)... I was debating leaving 2 gallons of it on the side and letting it age without beer, but we'll do another batch in the spring.

Tonights tasting was interesting... The blueberry flavor is spot on the money. It's nice and mild, but distinctly blueberry. The problem is the tartness. It's overly tart. Almost too tart. I hope this levels out with some aging...

We came out with about 1/2 gallon too much for the tertiary carboy, so we're going to let that sit for a few more months before bottling...

One interesting thing. We took the two hydrometer samples (from the double IPA and the blueberry ale) and used them for tasting. We mixed the two, and I gotta say, it tasted REALLY good. So when we bottle in a few weeks, we're going to try a 1:1 mix of the blueberry ale and double IPA for about 6 bottles or so. Just as an experiment...

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Old 08-07-2010, 02:08 AM   #9
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I tried a blueberry ale up in Ely Mn last week at a brewpub called "The Boathouse" I usually dont like fruit in beer, but it was very faint and made a very nice tap beer.

I bet yours mellows out with conditioning time.

Good luck.

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Old 09-24-2010, 03:31 AM   #10
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Any update on this beer?

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