Another in my fruit-wheat beer series (apricot, watermelon and now this) my blueberry wheat beer turned out to be such a hit even The Missus likes it.
That’s probably because I wanted to make this homebrew sweet, but not bursting with berry flavor. While some like to use fruit extract to pour into heir beer, I felt using he real thing would offer a more authentic flavor. Luckily enough, I caught a great episode of Basic Brewing Radio about a blueberry addition experiment as I was planning this beer that compared the use of the two, with the authentic berry characteristics shown to come from muddled/crushed real fruit.
So … In the secondary I used 4.5 pounds of blueberries, which I froze, thawed and crushed slightly to get the berry guts and juices flowing, and froze again (and thawed again) before adding to my beer. Everything I read about using berries specifically suggested using a 2:1 berry-to-gallon ratio for big blueberry characteristics, but I was about 1:1 in mine. To make sure some sweetness came through, I added about a half-pound of honey right at the end of my boil to be safe. The last thing I wanted was more tart than sweet.
Hit the jump for more notes…
What I like this most about this beer might actually be true color. Because I crushed the berries and released the juice, the blueish-red color of the berries soaked into the beer. I’ve jokingly referred to this as my Duke Blue Devil Blueberry Wheat for this reason – it was a hit at a tailgate to kick off the Duke football season.
The only drawback to this beer was my use of Munton’s carbonation drops which seem to be widely despised. I had always used Cooper’s drops, but Amazon no longer carries them and I can’t find them anywhere locally. If you know where I can get them, let me know in the comment section. Needless to say while the blueberry wheat is carbonated to an extent, I’m not holding out hope for any kind of true head or head retention. There’s just a thin film of white that sits on the top of the beer while you drink it. But, there are bubbles, so that amounts to something.
For those fellow beer nerds out there, this beer had an original gravity of 1.060, finished at 1.010 and has an ABV of about 6.5. The ingredients were basic extract wheat recipe – dry wheat extract and a combo of steeping grains of 2-row, white wheat and 20L malt. I threw in half an ounce of Hallertau hops at the start of the boil and .25 of an ounce at 15 and five minutes. The goal here was to not really have any hop profile to take away from the berry flavor, which I wanted to be the star of the show. Hallertau was a good pick too for its general fruit and spice flavor that pairs well with berries.