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Old 09-03-2009, 06:27 AM   #1
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Default Watermelon Wheat...my first custom recipe

Hello everyone!

So far I have brewed 3 different Brewer's Best kits, with great results. I have decided to make my own recipe for a Watermelon Wheat beer and wanted to get some opinions on how some more experienced brewers think this will turn out before I actually brew it. Here is my recipe:


3 lbs Bries dried malt Bavarian Wheat (65% wheat/35% barley)
3.3 lbs Bries CBW Bavarian Wheat extract
1 oz Northern Brewer pellets (bittering) 8.5% AA
1 oz Perle Pellets (finishing) 7.5% AA
1 lb Honey
1 Entire Watermelon, strained into juice (approx. 4 cups of juice)
White Labs WLP380 Hefeweizen IV Ale Yeast liquid

60 minute boil of approx. 2.5 gallons. I plan add the wort to about 2.5 gallons more of ice cold water to chill it down to 70 degrees or so. fermenting for a week in a glass carboy, transferred to a food grade bucket for another week. After fermentation is done I plan to taste test, if not enough watermelon flavor is present I have 4 oz of watermelon extract...I will add accordingly. Will age in bottles approx. 2 months.

What do you guys think? Should I add some priming sugar before bottling as well?

Thanks a lot!

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Old 09-03-2009, 01:31 PM   #2
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Wheat needs to be mashed (correct time, temp, water/grain ratio) or all you are adding is starch (which is not a good thing for your beer). There is nothing wrong with skipping the steeping grain, I just did a hefe last night that had no fermentables besides wheat DME.

I would skip the finishing hops and go with a more neutral yeast (1056 for example) to let the watermellon (and honey) aroma shine through.

It is a good idea to get the wort below 70 before pitching your yeast (put the boil kettle into a cold water bath to cool it down before mixing with the cold water). A hot fermentation can lead to various off-flavors.

I'm not sure how much flavor you will get from 4 cups of watermellon juice, but I suspent you will need more. I would skip the extract and just add more juice, but that's me.

You should always add priming sugar, unless you want flat beer.

Hope that helps, good luck.

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Old 09-09-2009, 04:51 PM   #3
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OK so I have removed the 1lb of wheat grains, the extract will do for me...yeast will be added at 70 degrees, I misread the label of the liquid yeast.

Heres my question now...I'm not going to add the watermelon juice to the boil, but should I add it to the primary fermenter or the secondary? I was told if I add it to the boil it will boil out a lot of the flavor, and if I add it to the primary it will "ferment away" a lot of the flavor as well. So I think my best bet is to add it to the secondary...what does everyone think?

Finally, what will the honey do for my beer, and should that be added during the boil, primary, or secondary, or should I just skip the honey entirely?

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Old 09-09-2009, 06:47 PM   #4
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Watermelon Wheat

This worked out really well for me... Looks very similar to yours.

4 cups of juice was perfect... I added the juice when I racked to 2ndary. Enough alcohol in the beer to kill any nasties in the juice. I was sterile though with my knife, cutting board, bowl, funnel, strainer, and potato masher.

Racking WW to 2ndary pics (the pitcher shows 6 cups, which I originally did, but it was a touch too much. 4 cups is good)

The WLP320 will give you a more neutral American Wheat character than the Hefe IV... Hefe IV will give more of the banana/bubblegum/clove esters.

Honey at flameout.
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Old 09-18-2009, 02:06 AM   #5
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Hey man, thanks. I think I will try your version of the Watermelon and see how I like it. That's cool you're from Harrisburg, I'm from the Carlisle area. It's also cool that you're a graphic designer, because I just started a Web/Print Design firm in Carlisle. We should talk some business sometime.

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Old 09-19-2009, 08:07 PM   #6
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OK so I just tasted my wort...I added 9 cups of watermelon juice strained through a silk bag to the secondary. It's been in the secondary for 5 days now...I got no taste of watermelon at all. I am very confused, every recipe for watermelon that I've seen says to add 4 cups...maybe 6 cups. I added 9 and there is no watermelon taste at all...any ideas?

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Old 09-19-2009, 09:14 PM   #7
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I'm not surprised - watermelon barely has any flavor at all when you eat it! It has so much water in it (big surprise) and just enough sugar that it's a refreshing food in the summer heat. Seriously, give watermelon a thoughtful taste and you'll find that it doesn't have a lot going on there - nice texture and thirst quencher, but what else? And also, our palettes have a hard time identifying fruit flavors in the absence of sweetness. Since our yeast are so good at removing sweetness, what's left after fermenting a watermelon? That gaggy melon flavor?

I don't understand why so many brewers make watermelon beers - I had one in Boston by Opa Opa, and it smelled like parmesan cheese, but no melon taste at all. Not that great. Go for fruits with stronger flavors.

But to solve your current problem, I say you take 3 more watermelons and puree the hell out of them, dump all the juice in the secondary and see if it makes any difference! Or, just bottle it up, tell people it's a wheat beer, and never speak of the watermelons again...

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