Author Topic: Using Watermelon  (Read 730 times)

Offline keith238

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Using Watermelon
« on: July 01, 2011, 08:18:27 AM »
I'm looking forward to making a watermelon wheat beer in the near future. Rather than putting chunks of watermelon into my carboy, I was interested in using just the juice. My plan is to essentially juice a couple watermelons and collect about 1-1.5 gallons of liquid, pasteurize the juice (not boil)  to A) reduce the likelyhood of any infections, B) increase the amount of flavor and sugar I get in to the beer, then use it to top off a partial boil batch to give me 5 gallons.

Any thoughts on this process? Anyone ever tried this? Is it a sound idea?

Offline majorvices

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Re: Using Watermelon
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2011, 08:30:10 AM »
I would think that it would be difficult to reduce the water mellon juice without boiling. I would laso bet that the inside of a water mellon is fairly sanitary as long as it is not rotten. I would just brew a stronger beer and add it to the water mellon juice in secondary.
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Offline hamiltont

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Re: Using Watermelon
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2011, 08:59:36 AM »
Ohhh, I would advise against it. We had a brew club member do just that with watermelon juice for a wheat beer. It smelled like rotten gym socks and didn't taste any better.  It didn't resemble watermelon in any way, shape or form... It ultimately was a dumper 'cause it got worse with age. Wheats don't last long so imagine a watermelon/wheat after a couple months being 10 times worse than the wheat on its own. YMMV. Cheers!!!
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Offline punatic

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Re: Using Watermelon
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2011, 10:33:40 AM »
I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that components of watermellon that give watermellon its characteristic flavors and aromas are contained in the meat of the mellon.  Quite possibly in the rind too.  You might want to consider adding not just mellon juice.  I agree with MV.  Don't boil the mellon and add it to the secondary when fermentation is nearly complete.  An active fermentation will blow a lot of the more volitile flavor/aroma components right out the airlock.  Plus at that late point in the ferment the alcohol content and pH of the beer will inhibit any other microorganisms from growing.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2011, 10:40:11 AM by punatic »
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Offline bonjour

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Re: Using Watermelon
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2011, 05:28:50 AM »
If memory serves me correctly,

21st Amendment started their watermelon wheat by processing whole watermelons at the brewery.Since they had a local juice processor deliver watermelon juice.

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Offline keith238

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Re: Using Watermelon
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 07:35:10 AM »
Thanks for the responses. For the record, I didn't plan to boil the juice, just pasteurize which does not require boiling.
Bonjour, I don't know why I didn't do this first but I just dropped an email to Shaun at 21st Amendment. Hoping to get some type of response after the weekend. I'll be sure to update here if anyone is interested.

Just found this:http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=&t=25480
with a response from Sully regarding the recipe. Looks like I'll be doing this next weekend.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2011, 08:12:47 AM by keith238 »

Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Using Watermelon
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2011, 11:16:14 PM »
21st Amendment started their watermelon wheat by processing whole watermelons at the brewery.Since they had a local juice processor deliver watermelon juice.

I'd use 21 Amendment's Watermelon beer as the exemplar of how to use watermelon in a beer. Watermelon is a very delicate flavor and artificial watermelon flavor just doesn't taste right. Given the limitations of the flavoring, 21st Amendment gets it just about perfect.

Personally, I'd puree watermelon meat (and some of the inner rind) and add it to primary late in fermentation or in secondary. As long as the watermelon isn't cracked the pulp itself will be sterile/sanitized. And, if you use sanitized tools (knife, cutting board, bowl, blender/juicer) there's no reason to pasteurize the juice.

The only way that I could imagine concentrating watermelon puree is by freeze or vacuum concentration. Boiling would just caramelize the sugars and drive off the delicate flavor and aroma compounds. You'd basically end up with sugar syrup.

I agree that some of the flavor of watermelon is actually rind, or maybe that's just residual watermelon flavor after the sugars are fermented out. If you're using whole watermelon, I could see using underripe melons or making sure that you get a fair bit of the inner rind with the meat.