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Watermelon Ale - Need some help

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absolutbmc

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Hi All -

So I am thinking about making a watermelon ale. I searched through the forums and I saw a lot of discussion about watermelon wheat. I wanted to get some advice on a Watermelon Ale (Light). I am aiming for something light and refreshing so the Watermelon can shine through. This is what I came up with so far. I would like to know some thoughts on the recipe:

4 lbs of Light Malt Extract
1 lbs of Rice extract
1/4 lbs toasted malted barley
1/2 oz cascade hops
1/4 oz Tettnanger hops
Safale Yeast US-05 (or another lager type yeast)

I would add 3-4 cups of watermelon during secondary.


So my thoughts this would be like a bud light, with the taste of watermelon. I am trying to clone a beer that Boston Beer works has every summer. Its light, crisp, and refreshing.

What does everyone think? Sound liek it could work or should I stilck with the watermelon wheat that has been discussed?
 

Kickass

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My experience is still rather shallow so feel free to disregard but roasted malt sounds count intuitive to you emphasis of a light beer (rice extract and wanting a bud light and watermelon characteristics). I’d sub out the roasted malt for caramel 10L if you really want steeping grains.
 

Blulakr

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+1 on not using the roasted malt if you want to keep, it light.

Also watermelon doesn't have a a strong flavor (unlike raspberries) so you might consider adding more than 3-4 cups to get the desired effect.
 

PintOfBitter

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depending on how much of a purist you are, you could add watermelon flavoring extract - you can find natural stuff so it won't taste like jolly ranchers...
 

RICLARK

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He is using Toasted Malt not Roasted Barley, Which I think would be quite good in this brew. However you will need quite a bit of watermelon for this brew.
 

AZWyatt

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He is using Toasted Malt not Roasted Barley, Which I think would be quite good in this brew. However you will need quite a bit of watermelon for this brew.
Yeah, you'll definitely need a lot of watermelon. I used a WHOLE, VERY LARGE watermelon in a 5 gal batch of mead once and you can hardly taste it. So I'd recommend using two whole, large watermelons. It's a PITA trying to juice the things. Don't use a food processor, you'll get too much pulp. Use a beer bottle and smash the juice out, then pasteurize it by heating it to 150 degrees for about 30 minutes.
 

Pelikan

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Hmm...

Regarding the grain bill/hop schedule, everything seems spot on. US-05 is an excellent choice for this brew, but it's very much an ale yeast.

The watermelon addition has me a bit leery, only because the chance for contamination seems quite high from where I'm sitting. Plus, and the watermelon flavor is so delicate that any attempt to sterilize would probably ruin it.

Even assuming one could get past this, I don't know that watermelon flavor and beer flavor would/could go together. As someone above noted, watermelon isn't strong enough to come through well -- the brew would end up muddied.

Don't mean to be a negative Nancy or anything, and I could very well be wrong. Maybe someone's got a watermelon brew out there racking up blue ribbons.
 

RICLARK

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I would suggest using kolsch yeast and using a crushed camden tablet in a large bowl of water to steralize the watermelon. Dont smash the melon cut it up into squares like you were serving it to guests then rack on top of it after steralized.
 
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absolutbmc

absolutbmc

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Thank you everyone for your opinions. I also was concerned about contamination when adding the watermelon. From the threads about Watermelon Wheat, people just added the watermelon during secondary when the beer already had alcohol, which seemed to stem off any contamination.

I was thinking of doing a whole watermelon and basically juicing it. I wanted to cut the watermelon up into squares and just rack the beer on top of it, but I don’t think I can get the pieces into the carboy (never mind getting the watermelon out). Perhaps I can use a whole watermelon and watermelon extract?

I know the combo of a crisp beer and watermelon doesn’t sound good, but it is extremely tasty and very refreshing. If I never had this beer before, I would be uncertain of the combo too.
 

CnnmnSchnpps

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Very interesting.. Next time I can find good watermelon at the store I'll have to crack open a beer and check out the combo :)

Good luck and let us know how it goes
 

CaptYesterday

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For the juice you could always puree a watermelon or two with a blender/food processor then strain the slurry in a very fine mesh straining bag (not the muslin grain or hop bags at the homebrew store but the more expensive white nylon ones)

You'll have to use your hands to squeeze most of the juice out, but it's pretty fun.
 

DubbelDach

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Watermelon Wheat

I did this last summer and it was awesome. I originally used 6 cups of juice, but I list 4 because that's what I'd do in the future.

What if you did a cream ale as a base and added the watermelon juice in 2ndary like I did? Might be light, clean, crisp...
 
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absolutbmc

absolutbmc

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I never thought of using cream ale for the base. When you made your version, how did you sanitize the watermelon or did you not worry about that since there is alcohol?

(also, I want to keep from all grain. Not ready for that step yet)

Watermelon Wheat

I did this last summer and it was awesome. I originally used 6 cups of juice, but I list 4 because that's what I'd do in the future.

What if you did a cream ale as a base and added the watermelon juice in 2ndary like I did? Might be light, clean, crisp...
 

PintOfBitter

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think i'll keep an eye on this as well. i happen to have everything to make Dubbel's recipe, but i'm doing a cream ale tomorrow instead. don't think i'll fruit the cream ale.
 

DubbelDach

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I added the watermelon to 2ndary, so I didn't worry about sanitizing the fruit. Didn't want to boil off any flavor.

I did thoroughly scrub the outside of the melon with soap and water, then sanitize it. Also sanitized the knife used to cut it, the cutting board, and the potato masher I used to juice it.

I have never sanitized fruit that I added to 2ndary, and never had any ill effects.
 

DubbelDach

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DubbelDach -

How long did you ferment with the watermelon in the secondary?
Week in primary, a week in 2ndary. The watermelon juice kicked off and fermented again. You know, 2ndary might have been 10 days because of that.

It was cool how the watermelon pulp settled out with the yeast. Looks like Jupiter:



Rest of the pictures here: Watermelon Wheat pictures by shiplax27 - Photobucket

The carboy turned pink when I racked on top of the juice. The beer, as you can see at the end, was normal straw yellow with just a twinge of pink. Kind of a Tequila Sunrise effect, lol.
 

Dude

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So have you guys tried doing it both fermenting and not fermenting the juice? I wonder what the difference would be as far as taste/aroma.

In my watermelon wheat I just add fresh juice to the keg and serve immediately. I don't let it ferment.
 

DubbelDach

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Why wouldn't it ferment in the keg? Yeast is still there....

Do you juice it and serve it that fast?

I've only bottled it so far, so I needed to ferment it out to avoid bottle bombs... For all I heard about watermelon being too delicate a flavor, the beer really ended up with a strong flavor (thus why I'd cut back to 4 cups in the future), even with the 2ndary fermentation.
 

Dude

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Why wouldn't it ferment in the keg? Yeast is still there....

Do you juice it and serve it that fast?

I've only bottled it so far, so I needed to ferment it out to avoid bottle bombs... For all I heard about watermelon being too delicate a flavor, the beer really ended up with a strong flavor (thus why I'd cut back to 4 cups in the future), even with the 2ndary fermentation.
Ummm...ale yeast won't ferment at 40˚. :D
 

k1200rsvt

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OP - Did you ever brew something? Did you have any luck matching Boston Beer works Watermelon Ale? Their Watermelon Ale is really good so a somewhat close recipe would be great. Thanks. :mug:
 

Superkabuto

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I also was concerned about contamination when adding the watermelon. From the threads about Watermelon Wheat, people just added the watermelon during secondary when the beer already had alcohol, which seemed to stem off any contamination.
The presence of alcohol in beer won't prevent contamination. Otherwise, contaminations would never happen. If you put fresh fruit in your beer, put it in a bag and weight the bag so the fruit doesn't come into contact with the air in your carboy.

If it were me, I'd just buy the flavored syrup. It's easier and less of a risk of contamination.
 

powerfreak

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I actually did a Watermelon Kolsch that came out quite nice.

I only used a small watermelon, one of the ones that are about basketball sized. I probably only had 4, maybe 5 pounds of watermelon and it worked well (sorry, didn't measure how much actual juice there was).

I juiced mine in a food processor, poured everything through a steel strainer, then strained it again through the fine screen in my big funnel straight into the secondary. I did not pasteurize, figuring the alcohol would kill anything nasty off. I was very careful when I cut up the melon into chunks, sanitizing the board, knife, processor parts and such. Other than that, I didn't worry too much.

Like DubbelDach mentioned, it kicked off a second active fermentation for a day or so and I ended up with a big layer of trub in the carboy; just like the picture posted.

I really wanted a Watermelon nose and flavor so I also added one dram of Watermelon Extract from LorannOils.com (https://www.lorannoils.com/c-6-super-strength-flavors-candy-oils.aspx). I'm a big fan of their products and 1 dram (aka 1 teaspoon) of their extract is usually enough for a 5 gallon batch, depending on how strong you want the flavor.

I actually racked to a tertiary for 3 days because of the wicked yeast cake in the secondary. It worked out well, but probably wasn't necessary. 10 days in primary, 10 in the secondary and 3 in the tertiary.

The amount of Watermelon and juicing vs extract or both is up to you and what you're going for. I knew I wanted everyone to say "hey, that's watermelon, but it's beer!", so I went for both. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you over do it, you can't go back. Under do it and you can add some flavor via extract at bottling.

We're enjoying this batch now and it's exactly how I wanted it... definite watermelon nose, some flavor, yet all beer. Pretty nifty if I do say so myself. My friends that have tried it think it's great and want more, so I may have to do another batch before summer's over.

Good luck! Don't worry too much and have fun. It'll still be beer!
 
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