Looking for advice on a cucumber/lemon/wheat beer recipe

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Sleepy_D

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Hello everyone,

My inspiration for this beer is my favorite summer cocktail: cucumber vodka mixed with lemonade. Truly a thirst quencher and quite dangerous as it is very easy to drink. I wanted to try to make a wheat beer that captures these flavors but I’m not sure how best to do it. These are my thoughts:

1:Make the beer and add the cucumber and lemonade in secondary, let it ferment out, and then keg. This would ensure that no further fermentation would happen after kegging but I’m not sure if the lemon flavor would come through after fermentation or if all that sugar would leave it too dry

2: Make the beer, add cucumber in secondary, add sorbates and sulfides, then add lemonade when kegging. The stabilizers would prevent the lemonade from fermenting in the keg but this option would also leave it very sweet. I suppose this would be the truest version of a shandy but I’m not sure if it would be too sweet. I want this to be a fruit beer not a mixed drink.

3: Make the beer, add the cucumber in secondary, add a lemon peel/vodka tincture to taste at kegging. I have never tried a lemon tincture before but I thought this might be a viable option

what do you think? Is there a better idea that i haven’t considered?
 

Jag75

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I'd go with 3 myself. I'd use lemon zest in the boil @ 5 min. Maybe lemon drop hops at fo. It wouldn't hurt to have a Lemon tincture waiting just incase you want more lemon flavor .

I've had a cucumber ale before and really liked it. Believe it was San Fernando Brewing Co if I'm not mistaken.
 
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Sleepy_D

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I'd go with 3 myself. I'd use lemon zest in the boil @ 5 min. Maybe lemon drop hops at fo. It wouldn't hurt to have a Lemon tincture waiting just incase you want more lemon flavor .

I've had a cucumber ale before and really liked it. Believe it was San Fernando Brewing Co if I'm not mistaken.
Do you have experience with using zest in that way? I’m not sure how much to put in the boil, maybe just the zest of 1-2 lemons?
 

Jag75

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I've used orange zest and peels , never lemon. Zest works really well. Just don't get the pith . Depending on the size I think that's a safe number.
 
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Sleepy_D

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I've used orange zest and peels , never lemon. Zest works really well. Just don't get the pith . Depending on the size I think that's a safe number.
Cool I’ll give this a shot. Haven’t used lemon drop before but I got a nice lemongrass flavor from sorachi ace before
 
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Sleepy_D

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Update for those curious: I brewed this beer yesterday and this is the recipe I settled on:

5 lbs white wheat
4 lbs 2-row
0.5 lbs vienna

0.5 oz magnum @ 60 (~25ibus)

zest of 4 lemon just about a minute before flame out (70 g)

Wyeast 1056

2 lbs peeled and diced cucumber added in secondary for 72 hrs.

I’m also starting a lemon peel/vodka tincture to dose at the end in case my zest in the boil doesn’t carry through (smelled good when transferring to fermentor tho!) will update again when I can taste it
 
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Sleepy_D

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I'm very curious to read your tasting notes, given my affection for (dangerous) cucumber martinis (muddled cucumber and Hendrick's)
Cucumber cocktails are seriously under appreciated, they taste so fresh!
 
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Sleepy_D

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Airlock is going crazy with activity, and there is a very strong lemon odor coming from it, I’m beginning to wonder if I overdid it with the zest addition 😅
 

Elric

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Sounds tasty. A couple local breweries make cucumber kolsches which are seriously refreshing come summertime.
 
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Sleepy_D

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So here is how this beer turned out. I added 6 peeled, seeded, and cubed cucumbers to the beer in secondary for 48 hours. I ended up with 2.25 lbs of cucumber after all the processing which I put into a sanitized mesh bag, froze for 24 hours, and then added into the beer. I checked the beer after 48 hours to see if I could taste cucumber yet and it was already overwhelmingly strong, like way too strong. I kegged the beer right then and let it carb. The beer seemed to lose all of the lemon flavor from the zest, I guess it came out of solution during primary fermentation as I could smell lemon very strongly in the airlock. Cucumber was still waaay too strong after chilling and carbing the beer. Everything I did to add lemon flavor back to the beer made it worse, I tried lemon extract, a lemon tincture made from dried peel and vodka, and I tried powdered crystal light. Overall I think this may have potential but I’d prob try it again with cucumber extract added at the end instead of fresh cucumber. The flavor I got from them was not the fresh crisp cucumber I was looking for but rather earthy, gourd like flavor that does not taste good to me at all
 

Jag75

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So here is how this beer turned out. I added 6 peeled, seeded, and cubed cucumbers to the beer in secondary for 48 hours. I ended up with 2.25 lbs of cucumber after all the processing which I put into a sanitized mesh bag, froze for 24 hours, and then added into the beer. I checked the beer after 48 hours to see if I could taste cucumber yet and it was already overwhelmingly strong, like way too strong. I kegged the beer right then and let it carb. The beer seemed to lose all of the lemon flavor from the zest, I guess it came out of solution during primary fermentation as I could smell lemon very strongly in the airlock. Cucumber was still waaay too strong after chilling and carbing the beer. Everything I did to add lemon flavor back to the beer made it worse, I tried lemon extract, a lemon tincture made from dried peel and vodka, and I tried powdered crystal light. Overall I think this may have potential but I’d prob try it again with cucumber extract added at the end instead of fresh cucumber. The flavor I got from them was not the fresh crisp cucumber I was looking for but rather earthy, gourd like flavor that does not taste good to me at all

Dang that sucks . I'm sorry to hear this. Was this a 5 gallon batch ? Wonder if 24 hours would have made a difference.
 

day_trippr

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No reflection on the effort above, but a few years back I had the misfortune of sampling a cucumber basil saison at a local trendy restaurant with its own "nano brewery" adjacent to the front entrance.

Almost stopped growing both cucumbers AND basil, it was that awful...

Cheers!
 

DuncB

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Sounds like a Saison to forget!!

I like cucumber but it gives me indigestion, but with a million other ingredients that could be put in beer or cocktails there's still some trials out there for me.
 
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