First attempt at own recipe...
Trying to put together my first recipe with the target of making a unique blackberry honey wheat type beer. I've taken some guidance from a few recipes I've found on the forums but tried to change a few things up. Still only extract brewing, but here is my working ingredient list. Criticisms are more than welcome. Additions? Subtractions?
5 gal batch.
8oz Crystal 60L
8oz Crystal 20L
3.3 lbs. Gold LME
3.3 lbs. Wheat LME
1.0 lbs. Honey
1.0oz Cluster [60min]
0.5oz US Goldings [15min]
Nottingham Ale Yeast [11g]
1 wk primary, 2 wk secondary
4oz blackberry extract @ bottling
Like I said, this is my first go on my own so be kind. Any feedback is appreciated...
Totally subjective to my current knowledge and skill level:
ignoring carapils, reduce crystals to 8 oz total (4 oz of each) to help keep residual sugars down, especially since this won't be mashed
the honey most likely won't have the affect of honey flavor/aroma, but rather will dry out the brew which might actually help with residual sugars. If you do go with honey then add at the last 5 minutes of boil, or right at flameout but make sure it's well mixed in. Another option is adding the honey at partial fermentation to help keep it's aromatics.
hops seem good
yeast should be fine for a berry wheat beer (mild fruity esters)
I would try to use real blackberrys in a nylon sack in the secondary (i.e. paint strainer bag) - I really dislike flavor extracts. But don't overdo the amount otherwise it'll give a winey aspect (a total guess would be 6-8 oz of fresh berries, and maybe they should be sulfited [this I don't know]).
Thanks I appreciate the input. Definitely still trying to figure out how to manage to sugars properly and realize the honey could pose some problems. Will look into adding during fermentation.
Lastly, had anyone ever used a combo of racking onto fresh/frozen fruit in secondary and using fruit extract at bottling? Seems like it wouldn't work well, but thought I would ask.
If you want honey flavor, try a small amount of honey malt in place of some crystal. If you choose to use honey, use a god quality and add at flameout or later in fermentation to hold some flavor and aroma. Honestly this sounds like a lot to tackle in your first recipie good luck.
I've made blackberry/raspberry melomel with frozen fruit. I brought the fruit up to 160 F to sanitize it, let it chill outside (brewed in wintertime...), and added it in the primary. If you had a smaller quantity, put it in a bag to keep the seeds etc. contained. I thought the skins added quite a bit of color and a bit of astringency, but it's good stuff.
Going into the primary may lose you a little bit of the fruit aroma, but allows you two chances to get fruit bits out before you bottle.
Remember that the sugar in the fruit is highly fermentable but the tartness is not - real fruit will make your beer a bit more tart, whereas fruit extract probably will not. The residual sweetness to balance that has to come from the caramel malts. 8 oz of caramel in 5 gallons isn't a lot...but I would not use a gross excess of fruit. 2 qts of blueberry juice in 2.5 gallons of a wheat I tried to doctor up was enough to make it quite tart (not enough caramel malt, probably too much juice) but did give it a nice berry aroma.
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