Abita Strawberry Clone Help

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Scrane

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Hello, I am pretty new to homebrewing and new to the forums. I am looking to make something similar to Abita Strawberry Lager but with an added orange twist. I think I want to have the strong strawberry taste but with a hint of orange also (Is this even a good idea?).

Anyway, I am looking to order most of the ingredients separately but I am having trouble figuring out what to buy. I have a pamphlet from the Abita brewery that gives info about the beer:
Color: Light Gold
Hops: Vangaurd
Yeast: German lager yeast
Malt: Pilsner and Wheat

I have the means to lager but I don't think I want to actually lager quite yet, so I was thinking of trying to go with a golden ale or wheat beer and then transfer to secondary on top of fresh strawberries and oranges.

So if anyone could point me in the direction of what speciality grains to use / what malt extract to use, or if there is an already made kit that I could buy to do this, I would much appreciate it.
 

Fuzzymittenbrewing

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Id say two row and maybe Wiermann wheat but also this beer is pretty sweet on the strawberry side. It does say they use strawberry juice but I have a hard time believing its added to secondary and fermented. I would almost think they add and pasturise for as sweet as it is. Remember, fruit is sweet but fermented fruit is not. It may have some in secondary but I definately pick up a sweeter flavor.
 

reed1911

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+1 To mimic it you will need to back sweeten and force carb. Matching the base flavor should be easy even with ale yeast.
 
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Scrane

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Thanks for the responses. After further thought, I think I am going to attempt to lager this beer. And after more research I have come up with a "recipe". I have never done this before, so if you or anyone could give me some tips or tell me if this even works or what not, I would greatly appreciate it.

5 Gallon Batch
2.5 Gallon Boil

Steeping Grains:
.75 lb Bohemian Pilsner Malt
.25 lb Pale Wheat Malt

Extract:
6 lb Pilsen Light LME
1.5 lb Bavarian Wheat LME

Hops:
.5 oz Vanguard hops @ 60 min.
.5 oz German Perle hops @ 15 min.

Yeast:
German Lager Yeast

Also, I am not able to keg, so I will be bottling this after all is said and done.
 

reed1911

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The base looks good, how do you plan to add the strawberry flavor? Or are you not planning on adding it? You could try a strawberry flavor agent, but I've not had a whole lot of good experience with any fruit flavor other than the real thing. They always taste 'off' for one reason or another. Real fruit on the other hand always works out very well. Even if you add the fruit and let it ferment out, it will lend a wonderful strawberry flavor and aroma to the beer, it just won't be as sweet. Often times it tastes much better that way.
 

Fuzzymittenbrewing

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Agreed. Beer is one of those things I strongly feel is use real fruit or don't bother. I would add in secondary and bottling to back sweeten and pasturize. Just don't have any illusions its gonna be golden color like the Abita version.
 
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Scrane

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Yeah, I know it isn't going to be just like Abita.

I am planning on racking on top of maybe 2 pounds of strawberries for maybe a week? And I believe I've read that if I keep it at a cold enough temperature, that it wont ferment any more or at least very little. Is this correct?
I then am thinking of racking to a 3rd vessel and adding fresh strawberry juice from about 5 pounds of strawberries and letting that sit just for a day or two. Then putting in bottling bucket and bottling.
 

Nashbrewer

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Abita doesn't ferment the strawberry juice. The last bottle I saw said they pasteurize the beer then add the strawberry juice, which is why it has such a strong flavor. This would be extremely difficult to copy with out a kegging setup. Though if you do allow it to ferment out it would be a similar style. I would probably go with 4lbs of strawberries that have been frozen and possibly pasteurized as well. We have them at our local Publix 4lbs for about 9$ already frozen. I don't think the second addition of strawberry would be needed unless you are able to add it after stabilizing the yeast in the beer. Stawberry flavoring isn't a bad idea to try. I've got some and have been meaning to use it. I don't see the point in steeping base malt in this recipe, I also wouldn't have the 5 min addition of hops since the original is very low hop aroma, so as to let the strawberry out. I'd go with just the extract, and the 60 min addition up to the IBU you are looking for. I'd say about 15 so it would depend on the AA % of the vanguard hops as to how much to use. And a HUGE STARTER. The size should be checked with mrmalty.com.
 

Fuzzymittenbrewing

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Pasturizing wouldn't be "extremely difficult" it would be a little time consuming but that's about it.
 
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Scrane

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I was going to steep just because I enjoy doing it haha. By "stabilizing the yeast" do you mean adding campden tablets, etc? If I did this, would I still be able to bottle? Also, I was going to do the strawberry juice addition because I know that is what Abita does to this beer. Do you think just racking on top of 4lbs of pasteurized strawberries would give enough of that flavor off to the beer?

As far as fermenting times, would 3 wks in primary and 2 wks on the strawberries be good? And when I secondary, should I keep it just as cold as when it was in the primary?

Thanks for the advice everyone.
 

reed1911

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I am planning on racking on top of maybe 2 pounds of strawberries for maybe a week? And I believe I've read that if I keep it at a cold enough temperature, that it wont ferment any more or at least very little. Is this correct?
Yes/no/maybe. If you can keep it cold enough ALL the time to prevent any yeast activity then yes this is true. However, you will then be in the same issue of not being able to carbonate since the yeast needs to be active to produce the CO2. If you do let it get warm enough to all that process to happen, then the yeast will continue to consume the sugar leading to both drying out of the sweetness as well as the possibility of bottle bombs from too much pressure.
 

Nashbrewer

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The reason I said extremely difficult is that when you add the bottling sugar and the strawberries, then wait for it to carb up the yeast may eat the bottling sugar or the strawberry juice for the carbing process and will affect the final flavor so it would not be the same as it would be if it was stabilized or pasteurized, kegged, and forced carbed. There is a common method used by the cider group to use a plastic bottle (20 or 16oz) and to do a feel test on it until it is rock hard and then know that is when to pasteurize the beer at that point and will work, but may not give the strawberry flavor that you are looking for depending on what the yeast decide to do.
 
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Scrane

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Well then, I guess what I'll go with is racking on top of pasteurized strawberries in the secondary and try to keep the fermentation of the juice down. Then bottle and just see how it goes.

Thanks for all the info guys.
 

Fuzzymittenbrewing

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Well then, I guess what I'll go with is racking on top of pasteurized strawberries in the secondary and try to keep the fermentation of the juice down. Then bottle and just see how it goes.

Thanks for all the info guys.
Once you bottle this are you going to be able to keep them all cold at the same time?
 
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Scrane

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I should be able to. Should I just let the juice ferment out to be safe?
 

Fuzzymittenbrewing

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I would just say this is going to be something your going to have to pasturise if you want it as sweet as the original. Some would say fridge temp would be fine to stabilize but I would never trust it as I've seen bottle bombs dessimate glass shelves in a refrigerator before. Also I would puree the strawberries in a blender before adding. Probably not super critical but that's how I've always be taught to do fruit beers.
 
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Scrane

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You mean pasteurize the beer? How exactly would I go about doing that?

EDIT: I read that I could bottle the beer and let carbonate for a few days / a week. Then add the carbonated bottles to a hot water bath at 190 degrees for 10 minutes. Would this be okay?
 

Fuzzymittenbrewing

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reed1911

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I agree, I would either let it ferment completely out or pasteurize. Even if you are able to keep it from making bottle bombs you still run the risk of opening a bottle with high carbonation and ending up with 1/2 the bottle completely foaming out of the bottle.
 

wes350x

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Any update to this? I would love to do something like an Abita or Covington strawberry beer...
 
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Scrane

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The beer turned out great. Its been about a year since I brewed it and I am actually drinking one of the last two right now. A lot of the beers were a little over carbonated and I had to pour them into a glass and wait for the head to go down. Only one of the bottles had beer burst out of it when I opened it.

The recipe was:

Grain:
Light LME: 6lb
Pilsner Malt: 1.5lb
Wheat DME: 1lb
White Wheat Malt: 0.25lb

Hops:
Vanguard: 0.6oz - 60min
Vanguard: 0.4oz - 40min

German Lager Yeast

Fermentation:
14 days @ 52F
Racked to secondary with 3lbs of fresh chopped strawberries and lagered at 40F for 30 days.
 

stegtheoriginal

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ok so dumb not so newb question (more like scaredy-cat due to unfortunate try last go) here, Stegs StrawberryClone BIAB ver1.4

Is the above recipe suggesting to boil for 100min? or is the Hops addition suggesting a 60min boil with additions at the 40 min and the end? (100 sounds so long and edging into the hoppy northern brews)

Also, What's the Specific Gravity?(thinking 1.048, 1.02~primary ) but at the time of bottling I'm having issues with the thought process. I know I'm overanalyzing but with thoughts of bottle bombs dancing in my head(beeen there done that and Merry Christmas my loving bride, I still love you) If adding a puree for the flavoring at the very end(thanks to my brewstore) I'm using an "Amoretti Artisan Wild Strawberry" Natural Wild Strawberry Artisan Flavor – Amoretti....

Should I use less bottling sugar because of the sweetness of the flavoring? What SG should I shoot for prior to bottling? or is getting it really dry and leaving headspace in my bottles just the shoot from the hip best practice answer??


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GoodTruble

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Yeah, the Amoretti has sugar (it's mostly sugar). So the yeast will eat it and produce CO2. There is no way to know from the label info how much sugar is there or how much CO2 will result. So to be safe, just add it to primary or secondary and wait for gravity to stabilize. Then prime as usual.
 
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