Author Topic: Berry ale  (Read 1358 times)

Offline lenphallock

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Berry ale
« on: July 19, 2017, 04:59:37 AM »
I am looking for some suggestions for a fruit beer that I have to brew for my nephew's wedding. I am not much into fruit beers, but his last name is Berry so I have to brew a Berry inspired beer. Does anybody have a full proof, tried and true, recipe they can help me out with that incorporates some sort of berry into their beer? Any help is appreciated. Cheers!!!


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Offline pete b

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2017, 12:32:56 PM »
No recipe but I would suggest blackberries. They are a berry that I find can be used in a beer in a way that you can actually taste them without them being too dominant or perfumy. They work in pale ales for sure, maybe also American wheat and saison. Maybe in an English style ale as well.
I don't know where you live or when you need to make the beer but around here (New England) blackberries will be in season in 3-4 weeks.
Blueberries are in season now but, despite its popularity, blueberries in beer have never impressed me. I think blackberries play well with fruity hops.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline zwiller

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2017, 02:29:06 PM »
No recipe here but the pro fruit beers do not use fruit at all but flavor extract.  I'd brew and american wheat ale and dose at kegging.  https://www.naturesflavors.com/natural-flavor-extract/62380-berry-flavor-extract.html

Alternately, go with well reviewed kits: http://www.northernbrewer.com/raspberry-wheat-extract-kit
Sam
Sandusky, OH

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2017, 02:34:24 PM »
Blackberries and raspberries are probably the easiest fruit to work into beer (minus racking off of them). Easy to get good flavor, can be found reasonably cheap and work into a wide range of styles. Basic American styles pretty much all work, along with most Belgian styles, pale English styles and even most lagers.

I'd suggest finding an American wheat recipe you like to use as a base. Easy beer to brew and the wheat will give you a little body against the fruit. No need to overthink the base recipe.

I'm a fan of buying fresh fruit and freezing in freezer bags to break down the fruit but there are good canned purees as well. Add the fruit and let it sit with the fermented beer for 3-8 weeks. Typical fruit volumes run 1-2 pounds per gallon but some of the heavily fruited beers (particularly sours and saisons) are running 3-4 pounds per gallon these days.

Taste once a week and when you're happy with it, rack off the fruit and package. Keep in mind the fruit breaks apart and can be a PITA to rack. Probably want to put a nylon bag over the end of the racking cane to keep the fruit pieces in the fermentation vessel and out of your bottles or keg.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2017, 02:36:52 PM »
No recipe here but the pro fruit beers do not use fruit at all but flavor extract.  I'd brew and american wheat ale and dose at kegging.  https://www.naturesflavors.com/natural-flavor-extract/62380-berry-flavor-extract.html

Alternately, go with well reviewed kits: http://www.northernbrewer.com/raspberry-wheat-extract-kit

I disagree that all commercial beers are not using real fruit/puree over flavor extracts. Some commercial beers use these extracts but that is definitely not universal--probably a small percentage of fruited beers these days.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2017, 02:47:59 PM »
I would argue that the least good examples use extracts only ( though I know there are some fairly good ones). As someone who brews fruit beers 2 or 3 times a year for my wife and her friends, I see no comparison to real fruit beers (I use Oregon purees). My MO is to add the puree in secondary and keg with a small amount of a good extract like Olive Nation, to reinforce the flavor. The reason a lot of breweries use extract alone is for cost savings IMO, not quality.

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Offline bayareabrewer

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2017, 03:11:54 PM »
No recipe here but the pro fruit beers do not use fruit at all but flavor extract.  I'd brew and american wheat ale and dose at kegging.  https://www.naturesflavors.com/natural-flavor-extract/62380-berry-flavor-extract.html

Alternately, go with well reviewed kits: http://www.northernbrewer.com/raspberry-wheat-extract-kit

Which pros? In my experience adding fruit extract to beer is like putting ketchup on a steak.

Offline pete b

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 04:02:04 PM »
I agree that many if not most commercial fruit beers use extract but disagree that they are the way to go. I find beers that use extract smell like cheap perfume and really put me off.
Fresh fruit after primary is the only way I add fruit to beer. Macerated/squished fruit in a mesh bag dropped right in the primary is easy.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2017, 04:52:10 PM »
Re: extract, I think it is an OK supplement, but not good for the whole flavor (following HoosierBrew's philosophy). E.g., if you do a raspberry beer, use frozen or canned raspberries, and then add a tiny bit of extract at kegging/bottling *only if needed for flavor/aroma*. You want just a hint; too much extract, and it will start tasting medicinal.

Based on my own experience, I would recommend using frozen fruit (perhaps pureed in a blender) over canned purees, if possible. The canned stuff can produce a good product too, but the flavor and color will be just a touch brighter from frozen fruit. I usually add the fruit (either canned or frozen) 3 to 4 days into primary fermentation; this seems to be a good compromise between speed and preservation of flavor.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2017, 08:39:09 PM »
I would argue that the least good examples use extracts only ( though I know there are some fairly good ones). As someone who brews fruit beers 2 or 3 times a year for my wife and her friends, I see no comparison to real fruit beers (I use Oregon purees). My MO is to add the puree in secondary and keg with a small amount of a good extract like Olive Nation, to reinforce the flavor. The reason a lot of breweries use extract alone is for cost savings IMO, not quality.

I agree with this, but as an aside, my buddy brewed up 10 gallons of a blueberry wheat for a party he was holding. 5 gallons got straight blueberries (which I know are tough to get to come through strongly in a beer) and the other 5 got the crappy homebrew shop blueberry extract (4 oz). Guess which one kicked first and was enjoyed by more "average" drinkers? 

You guessed it!  The extract one.... ???

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2017, 09:18:16 PM »
I would argue that the least good examples use extracts only ( though I know there are some fairly good ones). As someone who brews fruit beers 2 or 3 times a year for my wife and her friends, I see no comparison to real fruit beers (I use Oregon purees). My MO is to add the puree in secondary and keg with a small amount of a good extract like Olive Nation, to reinforce the flavor. The reason a lot of breweries use extract alone is for cost savings IMO, not quality.

I agree with this, but as an aside, my buddy brewed up 10 gallons of a blueberry wheat for a party he was holding. 5 gallons got straight blueberries (which I know are tough to get to come through strongly in a beer) and the other 5 got the crappy homebrew shop blueberry extract (4 oz). Guess which one kicked first and was enjoyed by more "average" drinkers? 

You guessed it!  The extract one.... ???


Crazy. I'm betting the extract beer went over better because the extract didn't color the beer, ie., they felt like they were drinking a more 'normal' looking beer. The actual berry beer would've looked like a dark beer, so hell, that must be heavy and sh***y. No accounting for taste.   ;D
Jon H.

Offline EnkAMania

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2017, 09:32:38 PM »
I do a Strawberry Vanilla Cream Ale.  This year I used Nottingham, which gave it a dry finish. 

8 lbs   Pilsner Malt
12.0 oz   Corn, Flaked
12.0 oz   Honey Malt
8.0 oz   Cara-Pils/Dextrine
.5 OZ Centennial FWH
6 oz Malto Dextrin 5 min
49 oz Strawberry puree (add after 4 or 5 days fermentation)
1.25 tbsp Strawberry Extract (added to keg)
1 vanilla bean (added to keg)  I've also used 2 tsp vanilla extract.

Some day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny

Offline zwiller

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2017, 09:46:25 PM »
Finally a recipe!  This is not a fruit vs extract thread. LOL  ;D

I would say that the pro brewers that are using real fruit are using juice that is being used as a flavoring and back sweetener at packaging, it is not fermented like a homebrewer would do but I don't know every fruit beer/sorry I didn't mean to say that. 

While there are a few of LHBS extracts that are decent and most are bad, the one I posted is a completely different animal.  It is actual fruit that is distilled.  Note that it is $10/oz...  I hear Olive Nation is good.  I was provided the extract source I posted from a pro brewer who uses it. 

RE: blueberry beer.  Semi local brewery brewed one in the past and it smelled and tasted EXACTLY like blueberries.  Extract of course.  I have serious doubts a real fruit beer would touch it.  It was actually "too good to be true/holy crap!".  Sorry if some call that cheating or ketchup on a steak but that beer sold extremely well.     
Sam
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Offline lenphallock

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2017, 10:02:41 PM »
Thanks for your help. That strawberry cream ale looks pretty good. I might have to try that one.


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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Berry ale
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2017, 10:23:21 PM »
Since I was part of the derail, I'll post a simple recipe. :)

OG 1.055
20 IBU Magnum @ 60 mins

80% 2 row or pils
20% Wheat Malt

WY1056 - clean and stays out of the way of the fruit character. Though for a Belgian touch, WY3522 held @ 64F for 3 days is
 nice too.

Mash 154F for 60 mins. Fruit will dry the finish further.

After 5 days in primary, rack onto fruit puree in secondary. I keg at 2 weeks in secondary. If bottling, verify FG.  Quantity of puree depends on the fruit used and personal taste. For 5 gallons, a 48 oz can of cherry or raspberry puree is a good starting quantity. 2 cans for milder fruits like peach or apricot can be a good idea. Brew it once, then adjust the fruit up or down next time.

At kegging, I add a small amount of extract first, then rack on top. Fruit extracts can vary greatly in their strength (and quality), so less is more until you learn the product.

There ya go.

Jon H.