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Fruit Beer Strawberry Alarm Clock v3.0 (Strawberry Blonde)

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weirdboy

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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
S-04
Yeast Starter
1 packet
Batch Size (Gallons)
5
Original Gravity
1.050
Final Gravity
1.010
Boiling Time (Minutes)
60
IBU
17.1
Color
4.9 SRM
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
10 days @ 65F
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
21 days @ 70F
Additional Fermentation
Cold Crash 3 days
Tasting Notes
Smooth light body with a tiny bit of tartness that gives the beer a crisp finish.
EDIT: This recipe won a gold medal at Pacific Brewer's Cup 2009.

I ended up with 4.8 gallons of beer in bottles after this process, although on previous batches where I had pureed the strawberries I ended up spot-on 5 gallons. So, maybe the strawberries soaked up some of the volume? I probably will try to get another .25 gallons boil volume next time to account for this.

Recipe: Strawberry Alarm Clock v3.0
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 6.41 gal
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 4.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 17.1 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item
5.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
4.00 lb White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM)
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 15L (15.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM)
0.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
1.00 oz Willamette [4.80 %] (60 min)
0.50 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)
4.00 lb Strawberries (Secondary 3.0 weeks)
1 Pkgs SafAle English Ale (DCL Yeast #S-04) Yeast-Ale


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 10.25 lb
----------------------------

Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 12.81 qt of water at 163.7 F 152.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 8.20 qt of water at 196.6 F 168.0 F

Sparge with 2.64 gallons 168.0 F water.

Notes:
------

Base Style Blonde Ale 6B.

2009/06/27:
Brew day.

2009/07/07:
Transferred Strawberry Alarm Clock brewed on 6/27/2009 to secondary. Added 4 pounds of washed, halved, and frozen strawberries in a paint strainer bag to secondary, and racked on top of that.

Hydrometer reading: 1.012
Refractometer: 6.4 Brix
Estimated FG 1.012


2009/07/28:
Removed halved strawberries (in paint strainer bag) from secondary, and added 1 packet of gelatin dissolved in 1 cup water, stirring gently with whisk.

Hydrometer reading: 1.010


2009/07/29
Started cold crash from room temp (~72F). Used frozen PET water bottles and ~1LB ice blocks from tupperware to bring cooler temp down, swapping out when ice is depleted.

2009/07/30:
morning temp is 41F, added 4 ice blocks + 8 PET bottles, by afternoon temp was at 35F and held steady.

2009/07/31:
morning temp went back up to 40F overnight, but quickly cooled to 35.

2009/08/01:
temp still at 35F, pulled out of cold bath and transferred to bottling bucket at 3:30pm.

There was a very thin white layer of what looked like possible lactobacillus floating on surface of fermenter, but no off flavors whatsoever.

Dissolved/boiled 4.0oz of cane sugar in 1 cup water to prime about 4.8 gallons of beer.

Sample read 1.010 @60F
Sample clarity is very good although not crystal clear.
Strong strawberry aroma, with excellent smooth blonde ale flavor and only a hint of strawberry.


2009/08/12:
I pulled out a few bottles of this and put them in the fridge to bring to a homebrew club meeting this evening. Good clarity, great head and lacing. The initial aroma smells intensely of strawberries. The flavor is smooth with just a tiny bit of tartness from the strawberries that gives the beer a crisp finish.
 
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weirdboy

weirdboy

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I am down to my last few bottles of this. It is a really delicious brew, and I'm trying to figure out how to work another batch of this into my pipeline.
 

psless

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This may be a dumb question but how did you get roughly 6.5 pre boil with only 21 quarts of mash/sparge water. Did you add water to the boil kettle?
 

MrVagabond

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Would you happen to have a similar extract version of this beer? SWMBO has been requesting a strawberry blonde and this seems to be the winner.
 
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weirdboy

weirdboy

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This may be a dumb question but how did you get roughly 6.5 pre boil with only 21 quarts of mash/sparge water. Did you add water to the boil kettle?
I think I missed the sparge volume on the recipe when I copied it. It's supposed to have 2.64 gallons sparge water as well. I'll fix the OP to reflect that.



I'll see if I can dig up an extract version. The original version of this was an extract recipe, but that was before I had Beer Smith and I don't think I have that recipe saved. However, it shouldn't be too hard for me to work backwards from what I've got now and come up with something.
 
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weirdboy

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OK, substitutions for extract version!

Using DME (preferred):

3.0 lbs Extra light DME
3.0 lbs Wheat DME
0.25 lbs Cara-Pils (steep @165 F)

Using LME:
3.5 lbs Pale LME
3.5 lbs Wheat LME
0.25 lbs Cara-Pils (steep @165 F)

I would say the dry extract version is preferred to get a lighter color and hopefully lighter body as well.
 

MrVagabond

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OK, substitutions for extract version!

Using DME (preferred):

3.0 lbs Extra light DME
3.0 lbs Wheat DME
0.25 lbs Cara-Pils (steep @165 F)

Using LME:
3.5 lbs Pale LME
3.5 lbs Wheat LME
0.25 lbs Cara-Pils (steep @165 F)

I would say the dry extract version is preferred to get a lighter color and hopefully lighter body as well.
Thanks for the quick response! I'll have to get this one started soon.
 

NonServiam

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2009/6/27:
Transferred Strawberry Alarm Clock brewed on 6/27/2009 to secondary. Added 4 pounds of washed, halved, and frozen strawberries in a paint strainer bag to secondary, and racked on top of that.
Can I assume that the secondary was a bucket, or is there some trick to getting a 4 pound bag of strawberries into and out of a carboy?
 
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weirdboy

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Yes, secondary was a bucket. In the past I have pureed the strawberries and added them to a carboy for secondary, but I much prefer the method outlined in the OP.
 

grubb

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it says 21 days for secondary, however your dates show from 6/27 to 7/28 31days. Also how did you sanitize the strawberries. I have ordered the supplies and should start brewing next weekend.
 
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weirdboy

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Regarding secondary, 3 weeks was what I had planned for that batch, but it ended up being more like a month. I have made this beer several times though and anywhere from 3-6 weeks should be fine.

I don't sanitize the strawberries per se. I just cleaned them really well, cut off the stems, and divided them in half right before freezing them. I made 3-4 batches where I would puree and pasteurize the strawberries, but to be honest I don't like the flavor, clarity, and mouthfeel I get that way as much as the method outlined in the recipe. I have yet to run into troubles just washing and halving them, though.
 

grubb

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thanks for the quick response also what type of gelatin do you use. What is the purpose of the cold fermentation,
 
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weirdboy

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I just use plain unflavored gelatin that you can find at the grocery store. The one I have right now is just the grocery store brand, but I think lots of people here on HBT use Knorr. I use one packet per batch usually.

It's not cold fermentation. It's cold crashing. The cold crash and gelatin are for improving the clarity of the beer. Especially when adding fruit to a beer, there's a good chance of ending up with a hazy beer, so I try to mitigate that as much as possible throughout the entire process: I vorlauf my mash, I add whirlfloc at the end of the boil, I am careful about leaving trub behind whenever I rack from one vessel to another, and I use gelatin and cold crash before bottling.

I think clarity is important for a blonde ale. My process may be overkill, but I do end up with crystal clear beer.
 

patrck17

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I beleive you mean Knox gelatin, that is what I have in my kitchen. Would like to try this recipe it looks tasty. I bet my gf might drink a few, if just for the aroma.
 

yahahooey

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Sorry, I'm a noob and plan on brewing this tomorrow...
Are the dates accurate? How long did you leave in the primary before racking onto the strawberries? Also, (showing my brewgenity) carapils, do you steep before adding DME, and do they have to be cracked?
Thanks...I feel like a D.A. (and I don't mean District Attorney!)
 
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weirdboy

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OK so my notes in beersmith had the wrong dates in them. Luckily I also keep notes in my calendar, so here's the actual schedule I used for this batch:

6/27: Brewed, primary fermenter
7/07: Transfered to secondary w/ halved & frozen fruit
7/28: Added gelatin & cold crashed
8/01: Bottled

You definitely need to crush the carapils. Yes, you should steep the grain at 165F for maybe 15-20 minutes, then remove the grain before adding the DME. You could probably do this without the added carapils and get pretty close. It might have a little less body and head retention, but probably not enough to be really worth caring about.
 

yahahooey

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Ok, so the brew went well, I cracked the carapils and did everything as instructed. I was wondering also, you performed three methods to clarify your beer. Is that necessary? Is doing one or two enough or must it be all three?
 
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weirdboy

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It's probably overkill, but the beer does get crystal clear that way. In fact I think on my last batch I forgot the whirlfloc, but it still came out pretty clear after the gelatin & cold crash.
 

mgortel

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I am really struggling with the concept of putting "unsanitized" anything into the secondary.....I realize you have made this and it turns out fine.....but can someone explain why this turns out ok with "unsanitized" ...."unpasteurized" strawberries??
 
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weirdboy

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I don't really believe that the freezer takes care of anything, but I do believe the fact that the beer is already 5%+ alcohol when the fruit is added probably helps, and I do wash the fruit and store it in a sanitized container in the freezer.
 

yahahooey

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Opened my first bottle today, it's amazing! The fiancee says that we must always have it on hand now! Thanks to everyone for their help and insight. I actually did all three clarifying steps. This is the best brew I've made so far!
 

jathorp

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I brewed this up a month or so ago. It's hit the two week mark in the bottles and I had my first real taste: holy tartness batman. I used 6 pounds of fresh, not-frozen, strawberries so maybe I had myself to blame. I didn't realize that real strawberries don't give off the candy sweetness that I'm used to in commercial versions. I thought it was too tart and needed to a few months to mellow, but my girlfriend said that she liked it as is. She said "I want to reduce it and pour it over ice cream."

I'm sure it'll mellow in a month or two.

I made a rookie mistake by pulling the beer off the yeast cake immediately after the krausen fell. (it's a long story.) I don't know exactly what diacetyl tastes like, but I've read the descriptions. I thought I had some diacetyl, so I pitched a starter at full krausen. That seemed to help some, but there was still a somewhat buttery taste at bottling. After opening a bottle, the carbonation seems to have cleaned all of the diacetyl, yay!

I would have done better to follow the OP's exact recipe -- I.E. 4lbs of berries.

EDIT: I did absolutely nothing to clear the beer -- there is even a seed or two in some of the bottles. As expected, it looks like a hefe.
 

mustafakidd

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Just bottled this today and had my first taste - followed the original recipe (as far as ingredients) exactly except I didn't cold crash, didn't use gelatin, and only let it stay in the secondary for two weeks instead of three. Still, found it delicious and am looking forward to trying it carbonated in a few weeks. Seems like a winner.

-m
 

mustafakidd

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Just to add - we tried a bottle today (early obviously, since we bottled only a week ago) - and it was already quite good. much less sweet than I expected: a bit dry, and good mouthfeel (not too much body). Amazing strawberry smells and a bit of a tart aftertaste.

This is my first fruit beer and I hear that they don't typically get better with age - is that true? Does the fruit flavor/smell subside over time?

Thanks
-m
 

chrislehr

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Going to be trying this one real soon for the SWMBO...

Psyched to see how it comes out. Do the strawberries affect the color much?
 

mustafakidd

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I didn't notice much of a difference in color but the strawberries were totally drained of their color so I'm sure it was at least slightly affected.
 

chrislehr

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Made this today with two small mods:
- added 1oz willamette @ 45 minutes. I wanted a higher IBU
- added .5lb of raw agave after wort chilled to 100F

Should mean a 30ish IBU and a 6.1% ABV or so. Was about a 1.060 post boild with the agave in there.
 
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weirdboy

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Hey so just an update I still had some bottles from a batch I made about a year and a half ago and brought some to share with my local homebrew club.

One of our club members is a BJCP master judge. He liked it so much he asked me for the recipe. Personally, I think it has gone downhill a bit over such a long time, but it's still pretty damn tasty.
 

dm2bfree

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Maybe an odd question. When the beer is racked over the strawberries from the primary, do you rack everything on top? Both the beer and the yeast cake/trub?

I racked over strawberries in my secondary yesterday, but only racked the clean beer leaving the yeast cake on the bottom. Activity has picked up, but is there enough yeast in suspension to handle 4# of strawberries?
 

mustafakidd

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That's exactly what I did and it worked out just fine, should be plenty of yeast available.
 

dm2bfree

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Great, thanks.. I started to get kind of worried after the fact! I guess even if it was a little short on yeast it sits so long it would eventually get consumed anyway??
 

chrislehr

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I didnt rack the trub - just liquid. Still plenty of yeast suspended for both fructose fermentation and carbonation once primed.

I think I have ONE bottle of this left. Will miss it dearly... Next year, I want to make a sucrose/fructose mix to mash in with in addition to the fresh berries in the fermenter.

Loved this beer. Might remove some of the wheat next time.
 

newguy07

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Hello I brewed this beer a few weeks ago and I have now racked the beer onto the strawberries but I have taken the stopper off of my bucket and smelled the beer just to see what its like and my beer smells very strong like it sort of burns my nose when I smell it!! I was just wondering if anyone knows if this is normal or not? It still has at least a week or 2 until it should be ready to go to the keg. Any input would be appreciated! Thanks!
 
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