Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: curtdogg on January 31, 2016, 11:58:56 PM

Title: Blueberry ale
Post by: curtdogg on January 31, 2016, 11:58:56 PM
 So I'm thinking of brewing a blueberry ale for spring. My wife likes blueberry beer but she does not like witbier or Hefeweizen.
My idea so far is Marris otter as my base malt.  Flaked oats for mouth feel and Fermentable sugar. Maybe some corn sugar to up the alcohol, I'm thinking around 6% abv.
 I have some Northern Brewer and or Willamette hops in the freezer.
 I also have 2 pounds of frozen blueberries that I can use to make a syrup.
 I'm thinking of using us05  because it's going to start getting a little warmer here in Southern California and I do not have any means of temperature control for fermentation yet. My range is 65-75 degrees throughout the day.

 Are there any additional malts I could add for flavors that will not clash with the blueberries?
What do you think of the hop selection as far as bittering only?
 Do you think a different yeast would work better with the blueberries?

Any ideas and or brutal criticisms are welcome and appreciated. This is a learning process.
Thanks
curtdogg.
 
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: JGF on February 01, 2016, 02:00:51 AM
Not a lot to add but I'm interested in hearing about the final product. I love blueberries and have bought - but never brewed - a variety of blueberry beers but am almost always left disappointed. Blueberries have such a strong and unique flavor, but it seems hard to get that to show up in a beer.

I think I'd try adding it really late as maybe the flavor will hold up better then. Maybe add it a few days before bottling or kegging, let the yeast eat up those sugars so not to make bottle bombs.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: rodwha on February 01, 2016, 03:17:46 AM
I'm interested as well.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: gsellers on February 01, 2016, 03:21:58 AM
See if you can find a Sweetwater 420 Blue clone, I think that's exactly what you are trying to do.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: erockrph on February 01, 2016, 08:47:37 AM
There are many commercial blueberry ales out here in New England, and some of them are actually decent ;)

The base beer is almost always a clean blond ale that finishes dry, but not overly so. I'd keep it simple and not super malty. If you use MO as a base, then I wouldn't be looking to add any extra maltiness with additional specialty malts - the MO should be just enough. I think your original plan for MO/Oats/sugar with US-05 sounds solid. Either of your hop options will work. I'd keep the hopping relatively low, with just a 60-minute addition to get your IBU's.

I'm not sure when blueberries come into season out your way, but floating a few in the glass is definitely the best way to serve a blueberry ale. Bonus points is you can score some of the small wild-type blueberries.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: Delo on February 01, 2016, 04:04:00 PM
I agree about brewing a simple beer. It would be easy to overpower the taste of blueberries. I brewed a blueberry ale as a party favor for the adults at my daughters frozen theme B-day party.  I made a 5 gallon batch of basic blonde ale with east kent goldings and added 5lbs of blueberries to fermenter.  The color was great but the blueberry flavor was not very noticeable. I don't know if a syrup at packaging would be better,but if you are making a 5 gallon batch, it may not be enough blueberries to contribute flavor.  After talking to another brewer he told me he uses real blue berries to get the color, but blueberry extract to get the flavor.  We aren’t big fruit beer fans so I never tried it. You could try that. 
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: denny on February 01, 2016, 05:16:23 PM
My experience with blueberries is that the flavor is very subtle and you need a lot of them to get any flavor.  I've used in excess of 1 lb./gal. and still only gotten a hint of blueberry flavor.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: curtism1234 on February 01, 2016, 10:19:13 PM
My opinion would be if I was using MO as the base malt I'd probably want blueberry as a background flavor (as in "do I taste blueberry?") instead of an in your face blueberry as you would a wheat beer.

Maybe something in the direction of an amber or brown.
But that's my tastes
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: curtdogg on February 02, 2016, 06:38:10 AM
All great ideas, thanks very much for your thoughts.
I think I want blueberry in the background and I like the idea of the color it will give.
The oats were an idea because I really liked the flavor and mouthfeel of the Lagunitas oat beer that released not too long ago.

Any idea how the blueberries will affect the gravity? Whether a syrup added at high krausen, in secondary fermentation or in the bottle? Could a syrup be used to carbonate in place of corn sugar?
I'll be making a one gallon batch. Trying to keep it simple.

Thanks,
curtdogg
Title: Re: Blueberry ale (following up on the specific gravity issue)
Post by: mmonroe1 on June 17, 2016, 07:54:40 PM
I just racked 4 lbs. of blueberries onto a hoppy IPA I was brewing that had developed a stuck fermentation from lack of sugars.  I understand that a new krausen will form, and I was also wondering about how the gravity will be affected by it?  Anybody know anything?  I am a novice at this, although I am as fascinated by homebrewing as anything I have ever found, and I am trying to learn it all as fast as I can.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale (following up on the specific gravity issue)
Post by: reverseapachemaster on June 17, 2016, 11:01:31 PM
I just racked 4 lbs. of blueberries onto a hoppy IPA I was brewing that had developed a stuck fermentation from lack of sugars.  I understand that a new krausen will form, and I was also wondering about how the gravity will be affected by it?  Anybody know anything?  I am a novice at this, although I am as fascinated by homebrewing as anything I have ever found, and I am trying to learn it all as fast as I can.

What do you think you mean when you say, "developed a stuck fermentation from lack of sugars"? A stuck fermentation occurs when there is an excess of unfermented sugars that indicates the yeast failed to reach expected attenuation.

Adding fruit will add sugar and water to your beer. The sugar will ferment out and the water will dilute the beer. You'll end up with a drier beer than what the recipe called for but you'll also hopefully have plenty of fruit flavor to carry it along.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: uisgue on June 19, 2016, 08:05:21 PM
I used a pound of blueberry toffee (cooked down with water into a syrup) in my last DIPA.  Tasted and smelled artificial at first but mellowed out quickly into a fairly subtle blueberry background that fit quite well with the Mosaic dry-hopping.  It took 4th out of about 100 homebrews for the Peoples Choice at the Humboldt Homebrew Festival this spring.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: brewinhard on June 20, 2016, 01:34:45 PM
I used a pound of blueberry toffee (cooked down with water into a syrup) in my last DIPA.  Tasted and smelled artificial at first but mellowed out quickly into a fairly subtle blueberry background that fit quite well with the Mosaic dry-hopping.  It took 4th out of about 100 homebrews for the Peoples Choice at the Humboldt Homebrew Festival this spring.

Blueberry Toffee?  What is that?
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: uisgue on June 20, 2016, 02:15:09 PM
My mistake.  I used blueberry taffy.
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: brewinhard on June 20, 2016, 02:52:22 PM
My mistake.  I used blueberry taffy.

Interesting.  Did you melt it down first?
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: molokomalt on June 20, 2016, 08:46:27 PM
I have brewed two black berry ales with Nelson Sauvin hops and I have found that if you want berry flavor, you need to add A LOT of berries.  I did 1lb of blackberry per gallon and that gave me some blackberry in the background that was very pleasant.  I had 5lbs of blackberries sitting for 8-10 days i believe.  I wanted the Nelson to come through more so I added less blackberry the second time, about 3.5lbs for 5 gallons.

Also, adding frozen fruit has always been the best strategy for me.  The cold temperature breaks down the cell walls and allows more of those nice flavor compounds to escape.  So a few take-aways

1.  Add LOTS
2. Add frozen
3. Add in secondary
Title: Re: Blueberry ale
Post by: uisgue on June 21, 2016, 12:31:02 AM

Interesting.  Did you melt it down first?
I dissolved the taffy in boiling water to make a syrup.