The forecasted high for Saturday here in the Metroplex is 75F, which is perfect to get outside, run a few miles, toss a football around, or brew some fine beer! We will be firing up the kettle bright and early Saturday morning for an Amber Ale with a twist...
Blueberries. You read that right, blueberries. Some of you may be thinking, well it's finally happened. They've been messing with making their own alcohol so long that it's starting to affect them. Well, yes, but not like that. Berry and fruit beers are well respected, if not that well known in the US. In fact, this idea came from an awesome blueberry beer that Amanda had the chance to sample in Bar Harbor, Maine a few years ago.The French and Belgians use all sorts of fruits in their beers, and sometimes they even allow them to ferment in large open containers, exposing the fermenting beer to the air. We're not that crazy. Yet.
Our fermentation is going to be in two steps: primary and secondary. Primary will be where we get most of our alcohol production, and the only thing the yeast will be eating is our grain sugars that come from our standard brewing process. Once the yeast have consumed all the sugar available to them (after about 7-10 days), we will move the beer to a brand new vessel and add some blueberries. There, the beer will be infused with the blueberry flavor, and for good measure we'll have Miles Davis' Kind of Blue playing on loop nearby.
When all of the magic is finished, we will keg it and let it carbonate up to the right level for a few days. All said and done, from grain to glass this beer will take about 3-4 weeks. Hopefully it's a winner, but if not, hey it's still beer. For those of you interested in the recipe, here it is:
60% Pale 2-Row Malt
15% Munich Malt
8% Crystal 60L
8% Dextrine Malt
8% Honey Malt
(1% Molasses, will be added to the boil later - do not mash!)
Mash @ 152 for 60 minutes
Hops (5gal batch)
.5oz Centennial @ 60 min
.25oz Centennial @ 20 min
.25oz Centennial @ 10 min
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 min (fining agent - makes the beer less cloudy)
1% First Molasses @ 10 min (approx. 1 cup for a 5gal batch)
US-05 Ale yeast
Primary Fermentation @65F for 7-10 days, or until complete
Secondary Fermentation @ 65F for 5 days - add fresh or frozen blueberries (5lb for 5gal batch)
The wonderful thing about beer recipes is that they are scalable. That is, any size batch can use the same percentage of each ingredient and create a very similar or nearly identical brew. For this batch, we will be brewing 5 gallons, but if you wanted to go bigger or smaller, just keep your percentages consistent.
We will hopefully be posting again either during or after this brew session with some photos. Thanks again for reading!
Today's Main Break: Blueberries may help you see in the dark! It was rumored that British pilots in World War II were given a daily ration of bilberries (a close relative to the blueberry) to keep their sight sharp for night time missions. Hopefully the beer we make this weekend will keep us from stubbing our toe in the middle of the night going to the bathroom.