Monday, April 23, 2007

Blueberry Ale & Sour Corn Ale

The idea of making a sweet corn flavored ale stewed around in my mind for about a year, until the opportunity to try it, presented itself. After acquiring two 4000L conical flasks from a friend, I easily got into an experimental ale phase.

After visiting Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine in 2004, I came away tasting some very good blueberry ales. Since that trip I wanted to make a blueberry ale of my own.

I decided to brew both of these at the same time. The grains for both recipes were steeped/mashed together to form that part of the recipe. After that, each recipe becomes quite different with the choices for malt extract, hops and bitterness, and fruit.

Sour Corn Ale (Corn Cob Ale)
1.125 gallon

Grain & Extract (OG 1.048)
1 lb. Pale DME
.25 lbs. Vienna
2 oz. Crystal 10
2 oz. Carapils
1 oz. Crystal 120
1.5 lbs. Organic Corn, frozen (2nd Fermentor)

Hops & Spice (29 IBU)
.25 oz. Perle, 6.1%, whole, FWH
.125 oz. Hallertau, 5.8%, whole, 45min
.5 tsp. Ground Pepper, 10min
.125 oz. Hallertau, 5.8%, 5min

Yeast: Collected Thames Valley Ale

It was quite a surprise how this ale turned out. The corn did not contribute any sweetness at all. In fact, it developed a very pleasant sour taste. My only presumption is that the corn could have had some sort of wild yeast/bacteria that reactivated and consumed residual sugars. The combination of medium spicy notes from the hops and ground pepper, and the overall rich golden malt sweetness, it was quite refreshing. Though there was plenty of carbonation, a head didn’t develop as intended, nor did it stick around. It pairs very well with a burger and fries.

1 year later...
This beer tasted AMAZING. It smoothed out so much and became "simply" complex. Almost too simple to describe. The sourness and any sweetness vanished. The carbonation was full and smooth. There was an oxidation in the aroma, but not really in the taste. Overall, it took on a quality much like an aged Belgian Tripel but in a unique sort of way. I'll definitely play around with whole corn again, both in fermentation and in secondary.

Blueberry Ale
1.125 gallon

Grain & Extract (OG 1.048)
1 lbs. Muntons Super Light DME
.25 lb. 2-Row
2 oz. Crystal 10L
2 oz. Carapils
1 oz. Crystal 120
1 lb. Organic Blueberries, frozen (2nd Fermenter)

.125 oz. Willamette, 4.2%, pellets, 60min
.125 oz. Willamette, 4.2%, pellets, 30min
.125 oz.Tettnanger, 4.1%, whole, 10min
.125 oz. Tettnanger, 4.1%, whole, KO

Yeast: Collected Thames Valley Ale

It has a nice purple hue to its otherwise pale gold color. There is a faint blueberry scent. All of its flavors are bright and sort of sharp. The hop bitterness may have been a little high. The blueberry flavor is light but definitely present. There is a slight alcohol/metallic taste to it. Overall, its a drinkable beer. I think some wheat or flaked barley could give it a more smooth flavor and mouth-feel. Perhaps the hop flavor and aroma was a little aggressive, and shifting the hop schedule to bittering hops with less aroma would help the blueberry taste and aroma come through more.

1 year later...
An amazing beer. It's carbonation was full and very soft. Similar to the Corn Ale, the overall aroma and flavor was smoothed out but was also much more flavorful. Its sort-of hard to describe. It had a faint aroma of blueberries, and the flavor was super smooth. Absolutely great. I will be aging my current Blueberry 2 for at least 1 year!


Brian said...

Interesting recipe! I'm tempted to try my hand at this brew witin the next few batches, we'll talk about it more this week if you dont mind.

Thanks for getting these up Ted, my homebrewing has been on hold for the past month or so, but after we wrap up our move this and next week I plan on brewing up something interesting. For the time being your blog really keeps me interested and motivated to experiment. Keep it up!

Ted Danyluk said...

Thanks a lot for your enthusiastic feedback. I'm glad you are enjoying it. I think there are definietely a lot of similar interests that we will eventually talk more about. Some day I'd also like to introduce you to my two breweing comrads. Maybe on a brewday.

Just for the record, I was wondering which beer recipe you were referring to? The Blueberry ale? A fun beer for summer would be good to make now. I'll be writing about upcoming beers for summer...Belgian Pale and an APA.

Adam said...

Thanks for the post! I'm new to brewing, and now that it's getting colder and I'll be inside a lot, I'll have more time to brew. I have an ingredient kit (a cream ale) and I tossed around the idea of adding fruit to it in the secondary fermenter. Do you think that would work? How long should I let that sit in the secondary?