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-   -   Cranberries (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/cranberries-16981/)

MattD 11-27-2006 05:22 PM

I bought a pound of fresh cranberries while they were on sale for turkey day. They will go into beer. I have no earthly idea what to do with them. Cranberry lambic rocks my face off, but I have no way to fool with making a lambic currently. Discuss. Suggest. Then I will make the beer you all help develop and take all the credit with my friends. Cool?


Evan! 11-27-2006 07:30 PM

Cool. Here's my thought: If you're really intent on making a lambic, then get some lambicus bacillus yeast.

Personally, I wouldn't make a lambic...just make a belgian dubbel or a wit, then add cranberries to the secondary vessel. I made a cranberry dubbel awhile back, and it's excellent. The key, I think, is using Wyeast's Abbey Ale yeast, which is magnificent stuff! So freakin' spicy, you'd think that you had put cinnamon and cloves in that bitch! I love it. Anyway, I used lots of belgian aromatic and special b, along with some other cool stuff. I'll post the recipe if you want. Also, I'd suggest using two pounds instead of just one...get the ocean spray bag from the supermarket if you have to. Otherwise all you'll get is a weird sourness, but the actual cranberry flavor will be very muted.

How to deal with the cranberries: as you want to make sure they're sanitized, you'll want to heat treat them prior to adding them to the secondary. Wait until primary fermentation is done. Take the cranberries and steam them on a stovetop double-pot steamer. Make sure to put plenty of water in the bottom, as the steaming water will also be used to boil. So, steam them for 5 minutes to get them nice and plump. Then, pull apart the steamer and pour all the cranberries into the boiling water below. Using an immersion blender, partially puree the berries so that you end up with a watery/syrupy liquid with some cranberry solids retained. You do NOT want to completely puree them! Simmer this for 10-15 minutes, cool, add to your empty (sanitized) secondary vessel. Then rack from primary on top of the cranberries. Steep like this for a week, then rack off into a tertiary vessel; the skins have alot of tannins that you want to avoid. After a week or two(or three or four if you have the patience) in tertiary, all the cranberry solids that were transferred from secondary should have settled out. Time to bottle. Based on taste testing, you could also choose to add a bit of cranberry extract at bottling, which is available from most HBS's. Austin makes a good one.

Brewtopia 11-27-2006 07:34 PM

The only problem with boiling the fruit is you will set the pectins and your beer will come out hazey. I'd just pasteurize by bringing up to 160 or so and holding for 10 minutes. Seems like 1 pound in a 5 gallon batch is also pretty light.

Evan! 11-27-2006 07:41 PM

Well, haziness isn't a problem in dubbels or wits...I guess if you wanted a clear ale, you could do what you suggest.

MattD 11-28-2006 08:03 PM

Sure thing, if nothing else I can use your recipe as a starting point.

Regarding lambics, I love the style, but I'm not in the mood to wait that long with this one :) Also, I live in an apartment, and I'm planning on waiting on any lambic adventures till I have a house where I can stick some casks down in the basement for long term aging. Not to mention I've heard that those bacteria reek :)

Yuri_Rage 12-22-2006 03:39 AM

A new twist on this thread...
I'm feeling a bit under the weather and wanted to up my vitamin C intake. The only thing in the fridge that looked promising was a bottle of Mountain Sun 100% Pure Unsweetened Cranberry Juice (not from concentrate) - something SWMBO bought out of curiosity after a co-worker mentioned it. The only ingredients are cranberry juice and vitamin C. After taking a sip and doing my own version of a "bitter beer face" commercial, I thought - wow, I could brew with this stuff!

It's bitter enough to count for a hops addition, I think (probably equivalent to well over 100 IBUs in its pure form). Like MattD, I don't really want to venture into the realm of lambics (yet), and I also don't usually like fruit beers. This seems promising, though, since it would add a complex flavor without much fruity sweetness.

Anyone care to share their thoughts on brewing up a lightly hopped, lightly flavored beer and adding a few ounces of pure cranberry juice (probably at flameout)?

Incidentally, an ounce of raspberry syrup + an ounce of vanilla syrup (the kind you'd use to flavor those girly gourmet coffees) make an 8 oz glass of this potent juice quite tasty!

hagbardceline 08-12-2008 01:04 AM

Yuri did you ever do anything with this? Sounds like a very interesting idea!!

Bearcat Brewmeister 08-12-2008 01:33 AM

About 8 years ago, I made a cranberry wit that turned out nice (and I am not typically a fan of beers with wheat in them). I don't have the recipe any more, but I think I remember it being 6 pounds of DME wheat malt and WLP400 for the yeast. I don't recall the hops but back then I used a lot of EKG. Probably a small amount of bittering hops and either limited or no finishing hops. For the cranberries, I pureed some (can't remember quantity) and added to the boil after I had cooled it to about 180F. Let them sit a bit and then cooled the wort and fermented. I added some again when I racked to secondary. I pureed them again and did like Brewtopia said - held at 160F for about 10 to 20 minutes. It came out with a nice tartness and I overcarbonated a bit, but that seemed to produce a nice slightly coarse carbonation (kind of like soda) that added a bit extra bite that really accentuated the cranberries.

I made this when I still did extract beers, but to do an all grain version, I would use 2.5 pounds of wheat malt and 7.5 pounds of pale malt.

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