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Adding Strawberries to Blonde Ale?

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Hey everyone. Long time craft beer fan/craft brewery bartender, new home brewer. I am planning to brew a strawberry blonde for my daughters birthday coming up and I was looking for some advice as to how to incorporate the strawberries. I partial mash brew, and as it stands this is what my recipe is looking like so far:

Batch size: 1 gallon
Boil size: 1.5 gallon
OG: 1.059
IBU: 23

Grain Bill:
12 oz wheat DME
8 oz light DME
12 oz Pilsner malt
1.5 oz flaked oat

Hop schedule:
5g Hallertau mittelfruh at 60 min
5g Hallertau mittelfruh at 30 min

Strawberries:
2 lb quartered and frozen (?)

Yeast:
Safale US-05

Infusion mash for 60 minutes with grains. Add DME and boil for 60 minutes. Ferment for 2 weeks primary. Rack to keg with strawberries in grain bag and force carb.

Does this seem like an appropriate amount and process for the strawberries? Recipe seem ok? I am looking for a nice light blonde with some sweet strawberry flavor and maybe some color if able.

Thanks!
 

cubalz

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Here is the thing: the problem with strawberries is that you need more than you would think in any recipe for any color and/or flavor to remain after fermentation and packaging. Prior to introducing the strawberries to the keg: Puree the strawberries, strain to remove the seeds and freeze in a new ice cube tray. This will remove most detritus and burst any wild yeast or microbe cell walls.
 

Dgallo

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In a one gallon recipe your going to make sure you have about 1.5 gallons of wort volume In the fermenter so you’ll actually yeild 1 gallon of beer after the loss. this is what I would do;

strawberries are lighter in color than raspberries so you’ll need roughly 1.5lbs of puréed or very well mashed (can achieve this by letting it freeze then thaw and mash. Do the process 2 times of freezing and thawing). Add the strawberry purée at the tail end of fermentation so the yeast can easily consume the sugars but the fermentation will be slow enough to not blow off too much aroma. Then rack to a co2 purged keg and carbonate.

if you don’t pure or mash them up really well your not going to get goo extraction. Also don’t put unfermented fruit in your kegs. Yeast can still work at colder temps but just much slower and you’ll run the risk of clogging your poppets
 
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Ok thanks for the suggestions guys! Since I am purée-ing is the grain bag even necessary then? How would you all recommend keeping the sediment low with transfer out of primary?
 

Dgallo

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Ok thanks for the suggestions guys! Since I am purée-ing is the grain bag even necessary then? How would you all recommend keeping the sediment low with transfer out of primary?
Cold crash the beer in a fridge for 36 hours. Everything should drop to the bottom
 
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Cold crash the beer in a fridge for 36 hours. Everything should drop to the bottom
Biggest issue I have with cold crashing is I’m just using a standard glass carboy with a 3 piece airlock. So I can’t really control the “suck back.” My first beer oxidized I think as a result of that and extensive time spent with bottling. So I’ve been paranoid about cold crashing..
 

Dgallo

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Biggest issue I have with cold crashing is I’m just using a standard glass carboy with a 3 piece airlock. So I can’t really control the “suck back.” My first beer oxidized I think as a result of that and extensive time spent with bottling. So I’ve been paranoid about cold crashing..
You have a co2 tank right? Take off the ball lock connector and push the gas line through the bung of the carboy or the airlock (where ever it fits snug) and set it to 2 psi. That way when suckback starts the regulator will kick on and co2 will run into the headspace
 
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You have a co2 tank right? Take off the ball lock connector and push the gas line through the bung of the carboy or the airlock (where ever it fits snug) and set it to 2 psi. That way when suckback starts the regulator will kick on and co2 will run into the headspace
Great idea, thanks!
 
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You have a co2 tank right? Take off the ball lock connector and push the gas line through the bung of the carboy or the airlock (where ever it fits snug) and set it to 2 psi. That way when suckback starts the regulator will kick on and co2 will run into the headspace
Just had a vision of an exploding carboy lol. Do you think adding positive pressure to the inside of a carboy might cause it to burst?
 

Dgallo

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Just had a vision of an exploding carboy lol. Do you think adding positive pressure to the inside of a carboy might cause it to burst?
2 psi? That’s less than resting your hand on the inside of the glass lol
 

day_trippr

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Be very, very careful using a standard CO2 regulator for such a low pressure app as simply back filling the contracting head space.
I used to do that, regulators get tetchy and drift, and it bothered me enough I outfitted my carboy caps with balloons to act as pneumatic fuses, just in case...

CO2_crash_03.jpg


Then I figured out I could insert a barbecue gas regulator (fixed 11" WC/~0.4 psi output) in the feed line to the manifold (using PTC fittings with EVAbarrier makes that easy). I then set the primary to anything above 5 psi and let the fixed reg do its thing.

ferm_chambers_CO2_03sm.jpg


Still have the balloons - it's now like belts with suspenders - but it's comforting :)

Cheers!
 
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Be very, very careful using a standard CO2 regulator for such a low pressure app as simply back filling the contracting head space.
I used to do that, regulators get tetchy and drift, and it bothered me enough I outfitted my carboy caps with balloons to act as pneumatic fuses, just in case...

View attachment 687462

Then I figured out I could insert a barbecue gas regulator (fixed 11" WC/~0.4 psi output) in the feed line to the manifold (using PTC fittings with EVAbarrier makes that easy). I then set the primary to anything above 5 psi and let the fixed reg do its thing.

View attachment 687463

Still have the balloons - it's now like belts with suspenders - but it's comforting :)

Cheers!
I’m liking the balloon set up. Seems simple enough. Thought I had read that balloons can allow O2 through their walls tho, was that ever a concern for you? How did you go about filling them up before attaching them to the primary?
 

day_trippr

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They get filled by the low pressure CO2, just enough to stand up as shown, so while the balloons are permeable at an unknown rate the surface area is small.
I keep the crash to two days (that's only a bit more than the fridge takes to drop 10 gallons to 34 degrees) to minimize the issue.

Empirically it works well: I have served the last of an neipa that was 6 months in the keg and it was still bright and full of character...

Cheers!
 
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They get filled by the low pressure CO2, just enough to stand up as shown, so while the balloons are permeable at an unknown rate the surface area is small.
I keep the crash to two days (that's only a bit more than the fridge takes to drop 10 gallons to 34 degrees) to minimize the issue.

Empirically it works well: I have served the last of an neipa that was 6 months in the keg and it was still bright and full of character...

Cheers!
So you just remove the airlock from the rubber stopper and replace with a secured balloon? That will provide enough pressure to make it stand?
 

Yooper

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You're talking about adding the strawberries post-fermentation, correct? If you add them during fermentation, they will ferment out. So I"m not sure if you're doing that or not- I am very confused by the carboys, c02, ballons, etc, if you're adding the strawberries to the keg so they flavor and sweeten but don't ferment.

I wanted to be sure. The thing is, even with a grainbag, pureed strawberries will clog your diptube and poppet and quick disconnect. You'll want a much more tightly woven cloth if you're adding the strawberries that way.
 

day_trippr

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So you just remove the airlock from the rubber stopper and replace with a secured balloon? That will provide enough pressure to make it stand?
Those are carboy caps, not stoppers, but yes, those "standing tall" balloons are the result of .4 psi of CO2.
Nothing else going on there...

Cheers!
 

TheMadKing

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Just my personal opinion, but having witnessed a number of brewers around me attempt strawberry beers, real strawberries are essentially useless for adding flavor or even color to beer. Their flavor is so delicate, and so easily driven off by pH and CO2, that they are a waste of time. You would be better off adding flavor extract, less loss, and you actually end up with strawberry flavor.

For example, a friend of mine made a 2.5 gallon batch of summer wheat, and used 3 pounds THREE POUNDS of strawberries in a secondary. The beer was still straw yellow, and perhaps darkened a slight amount. It was not the slightest bit pink, and ended up tasting like an oddly tart american wheat. There was nothing identifiable as strawberry in the flavor of the beer.
 
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You're talking about adding the strawberries post-fermentation, correct? If you add them during fermentation, they will ferment out. So I"m not sure if you're doing that or not- I am very confused by the carboys, c02, ballons, etc, if you're adding the strawberries to the keg so they flavor and sweeten but don't ferment.

I wanted to be sure. The thing is, even with a grainbag, pureed strawberries will clog your diptube and poppet and quick disconnect. You'll want a much more tightly woven cloth if you're adding the strawberries that way.
Yes I was planning on post fermentation. The talk about balloons etc had to do with cold crashing and not the strawberries themselves.
 
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Just my personal opinion, but having witnessed a number of brewers around me attempt strawberry beers, real strawberries are essentially useless for adding flavor or even color to beer. Their flavor is so delicate, and so easily driven off by pH and CO2, that they are a waste of time. You would be better off adding flavor extract, less loss, and you actually end up with strawberry flavor.

For example, a friend of mine made a 2.5 gallon batch of summer wheat, and used 3 pounds THREE POUNDS of strawberries in a secondary. The beer was still straw yellow, and perhaps darkened a slight amount. I was not the slightest bit pink, and ended up tasting like an oddly tart american wheat. There was nothing identifiable as strawberry in it the flavor of the beer.
How much extract would you recommend? I’ve heard berry extracts taste cough syrupy..
 

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NitrogenWidget

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I puree my strawberries and add them at day 3-4 of fermentation. I do put a little strawberry extract in the keg as well for aroma.
After brewing a few beers with fruit and having the aroma stick around but the flavor fade i'm going to try this route also.
 

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My process for Strawberries is to wash, quarter, mix with a small amount of lactose, and freeze for a day or two.The lactose pulls the juice out of the strawberries and make sure you have enough sweetness to balance the tartness.

I have tried this in secondary post cold crash as well straight in the keg. In the keg the flavor tend to settle and eventually the strawberries begin to mold. I only use the keg method for parties now.

I do 1 pound of Strawberries pre gallon and add just enough lactose to make the strawberries syrupy. I haven’t used this method on anything light like a blonde. I might start with a half pound per gallon for that.

For me pureeing strawberries and straining the seeds sucked and the flavor was underwhelming. Just using quartered Strawberries ranged from medicinal (I think fermentation kicked back up) to no flavor at all.
 

enkamania

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My process for Strawberries is to wash, quarter, mix with a small amount of lactose, and freeze for a day or two.The lactose pulls the juice out of the strawberries and make sure you have enough sweetness to balance the tartness.

I have tried this in secondary post cold crash as well straight in the keg. In the keg the flavor tend to settle and eventually the strawberries begin to mold. I only use the keg method for parties now.

I do 1 pound of Strawberries pre gallon and add just enough lactose to make the strawberries syrupy. I haven’t used this method on anything light like a blonde. I might start with a half pound per gallon for that.

For me pureeing strawberries and straining the seeds sucked and the flavor was underwhelming. Just using quartered Strawberries ranged from medicinal (I think fermentation kicked back up) to no flavor at all.
How much is a small amount of lactose? I might give it a shot.
 

Zeward

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How much is a small amount of lactose? I might give it a shot.
If I am trying to limit the sweetness I slowly add lactose until the strawberries get syrupy. Usually is it is some where between a half to a full cup for 5 pounds of strawberries. The riper the strawberries the less sugar I need.

For beers that already have a strong dose of lactose (Milkshake IPA, Milk Stout) I just move all the lactose from the boil to Strawberries addition.
 
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