Monday, July 16, 2007

Blueberry 2

This past weekend I got the place to myself. It would have been totally awesome to be with my wife and baby at the Pitchfork Festival. But, I did have lots of brewing things to do. At least I got to see Sonic Youth have a rockin good time playing their Daydream Nation set on Friday night.

Saturday after work I had to bottle the
Hop Blend IPA in order to make room for the Matrimony Ale on Sunday. I took advantage of a still and quiet house and bottled the Belgian Strong Dark Ale as well. Since that one was in 3 separate secondary jugs, I decided to use a piece of equipment little used for bottling. The bottling bucket...a bucket I only use for mixing grains, sterilizing hoses and bottles and stuff, and sometimes as a hot liquor sparge water tank. Bottling went well, and these beers taste pretty darn good.

Sunday was the day to rack the Matrimony Ale to secondary. So I decided to brew a beer to pour right over the yeast cake in the primary carboy. I knew I wanted to do a fruit beer. Blueberries like last year? Raspberries? Passion fruit? I did some research and shopping round. Since Trader Joe's was selling 2 lb boxes of big plump and ripe blueberries for a very reasonable price, I had to go with them.

Last year's experimental
Blueberry Ale had a very light malt base with very little crystal and no wheat. This time, for some reason, my confidence is up and I brewed a large batch. I wanted to go with a solid wheat percentage with enough sweetening support from a few crystal malts. I also thought some citrusy hops would pair well, and since Amarillo also has a fruity character, I used it for the aroma addition.

Brewing went very well, and I got good stats. Check out the recipe and stats below. I got only two photos of the rinsed and dried blueberries laid out right before freezing on Wednesday.

Blueberry 2
4.25 gallons (w/ blueberries...could be more in the end!)

4.00 lbs. 2-Row Pale Malt
1.75 lb. Wheat Malt
1.00 lb. Flaked Wheat
1.00 lb. 6-Row Pale Malt
6.00 oz. Crystal 40L
2.30 oz. Crystal 60L

1.75 oz. Special B

.50 oz. Amarillo, 8.7%, whole, bittering
.25 oz. Cascade, 7.6%, whole, bittering
.30 oz. Amarillo, 8.7%, whole, 5min-aroma

4.00 lbs. Fresh Blueberries, hand squeezed, in wort at 140*F
4.00 lbs. Fresh Blueberries, hand squeezed, in 2nd half of primary

Wyeast American Ale, large yeast cake from previous batch

Brewday Stats

Salts added to boil: 1/2 tsp Gypsum, 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride

Mash Temp: 155*F
Mash Time: 1 hour
Mash-out Temp: 162 (always comes out low?)

1st Batch Gravity: 1.060
2nd Batch Gravity: 1.025
Preboil Gravity: 1.043

Original Gravity w/o blueberries: 1.054 (1 point over target)
Approx. IBU: 29
Color/SRM: 15-20 (with fruit)

Brewhouse efficiency: Approx. 75%
Cost: $35.76, $4.74/6-pack, $0.79/12oz bottle


1. I went out to catch a movie right after brewing, and when I got home there were bubbles coming out of the blow-off hose. I then retired for the night at around 10PM. In the morning there was a steady, but fairly slow bubbling. And now as I post this entry, the bubbling seems to be slowing way down. Not sure what's happening here. Either there was enough yeast to chew through everything throughout the night, or it got stuck for some reason. I suppose a gravity check will answer this.
2. A gravity check on Tuesday evening did informed me that the wort finished fermenting, and was settling down. This marks the shortest fermentation of all my brewings. Done overnight! WOW that's fast. And it tastes ok.
3. I added the second round of blueberries on Tuesday night. 4 more pounds of plump blueberries squeezed into a thick pulp. This second addition started to ferment within an hour, and continued for about a day.
4. Periodically, as I walk past the boiler room, I give the carboy a light swirl because the blueberries have a strong propensity to float above the surface. Because the boiler room is halfway down the hallway, its easy to remember.
5. Racked to secondary on July 27th. The color is simply amazing. Looks more like wine than beer. The color of the base beer was probably around 9, but now with all the crushed blueberries its more like 15-20. So far so good. Looking forward to tasting it when its done.
6. I think the photos below totally rock. I love the colors and the way the blueberries look all funky. The whole blueberries that managed to slip through my fingers while hand crushing rested on top of the layer of pulp. Thank you my dear for taking these.
7. Bottled on July 31st. It's color is amazing. It tastes very good. Clean, light, with great blueberry taste and aroma. There was a sort of awkward lager/6-row malt flavor that has since vanished. There is a very nice soft acidity too. I wanted enough carbonation to hold a head for a little while (which should turn out reddish-purple) so the 4oz. of priming sugar should bring the CO2 volume to about 2.65.


Travis said...

Great efficiency! Are you batch sparging on all of those? My efficiency suffers when I batch.

Good looking brew and good looking stats.

Ted Danyluk said...

I really like batch sparging. I've been doing it this way for all my smaller volume brews. At this point it looks like the efficiency is just about as good as the fly method.

Not really sure why its coming out so good. I don't increase malts or mess around with different Ph's or anything. I use a 10 gallon round Rubbermaid mashtun with Phil's false bottom.

For better drainage speed, I cut two small "V" shape notches at the very bottom of the intake/L-tube. It occurred to me even before I first used it, that it needed more drainage holes. This MUST be the reason I'm getting such great results! Ha!

I will get around to talking about Ph soon.

Paraclete Parachute said...

Blueberry! Belgian Strong Dark!! Oh, man, I am stoked to sample some of these amazing-sounding brews! See you in late July, my dear friend. Brewnsai Brewnsai Brewnsai.

Ted Danyluk said...

Hey Mr. N., we tried the Hop Blend IPA last night. After one week in the bottle it is amazing. Very fresh with smooth/soft & light carbonation. Its as close to a cask conditioned ale as I can get. Hopefully there will be some left for your arrival. I'll try my darndest to get this blueberry 2 in a bottle by then. Brewnsai! Brewnsai! Brewnsai!

Fellow Chicago Brewer said...

Hey Ted -

I'm throwing together a blueberry wheat using the same methods you described above. Did you have any problems with carbonation? Bottle Bombs? Did you feel the Blueberry flavor was spot on or could have used more/less? Cheers!

Ted Danyluk said...

No problems with carbonation. It was just right. Fermentation happended so quickly and thoroughly, that when all signs ceased, it was time to bottle. It'd didn't even go into a secondary.

I thought the blueberry flavor was impressive. Both additions fermented very well, so the taste was almost wine-like with a light beer backing. I am interested to repeat this recipe. I'd say the second addition of blueberries could be added to a secondary fermenter for a more complex taste. I aged about a 1/3 of the batch for a one year tasting. Can't wait.

Good luck. Hope it turns out exceptional.

Fellow Chicago Brewer said...

Ted -

Appreciate the response! Good to hear about the carbonation. I was pretty worried about over-carbonation. I'm not pitching on a yeast cake so I'm sure mine wont take off quite as fast. My original recipe was going to have the full 6lbs added to the secondary but after reading this I'm going to follow your methods.

If you were to add some blueberries to the secondary, how many pounds would you add? We're looking for something with loads of blueberry flavor.


Ted Danyluk said...

Sorry it took so long to reply. I was on tour, and haven't looked at this in a while.

Adding a LOT in primary does a lot for the flavor. But if you wanted even more, then a couple more pounds in secondary should do. Blueberries are a soft tasting fruit, and you really can't overdo it. However, I think the flavor can overtake the beer flavors, so a fermented blueberry taste, I think works well.

Good luck. I'd like to know how it turns out.

Dustin said...

I put nine pounds of blueberries in secondary with a strong wheat base. My next fruit beer is something along the lines of a pineapple/citrus IPA.

Xcorpia said...


I'm searching all over the net trying to find a strong-tasting blueberry lager similar to Wild Blue and your recipe caught my attention. I'm wondering if your final product tastes like Wild Blue, if you've ever tasted it, so I can try yours.

Thanks a lot!

Ted Danyluk said...


I dont think I've ever tried Wildblue before. From what critics say on review sites, my beer is probably different. Mine is probably much more flavorful and deeper in color.

My Blueberry 2 has a moderate-full assertiveness of bluberry character. I don't go light with blueberries in this recipe, because I like how the blueberries are the central focus in a beer like this. I use fresh blueberries right when they are in season, and go for a good price. frozen blueberries dont cut it, and I've never tried a concentrate before.

Follow my procedure, ore modify to your own tastes. But all-in-all, this was a very good brew.

Xcorpia said...


Thanks for the response. I want a blueberry beer that actually tastes like blueberries and by what you have just described I've finally found a good recipe for it. Thanks for the advise on the fresh vs frozen blueberries. This will definitely be my first all-grain brew, as I've only done a couple of extract brews. I'm a n00b, so I'm following your recipe exactly and I hope I don't mess it up.

I'll post you when I set a brew date for this one, it will probably be 2 months from now, as I'm brewing a Midas Touch clone as soon as I receive the final ingredient by mail (muscat grape concentrate). The next one in line will be a Blue Moon Clone.

On another note: I browsed your fruit beer entries and was excited about the fact that you've done a couple of brews with mint in them. I love love love mint in my alcohol! I'm probably going to replicate one of those recipes.

Take care!

Xcorpia said...

Hey Ted: Scratch what I said about the Wild Blue beer. My palate has evolved ever since.

Question: What was your wort size without the blueberries? I'm brewing this as soon as blueberries are on sale.


Gordon Lang said...

Ted: did you sanitize the blueberries at all? Especially the ones used in the secondary fermenter?

I've been told to crush campden tablets and mix them in with the mashed fruit to clean them.


Ted Danyluk said...

Not sure. Around 4 gallons.

I don't sanitize ingredients. the blueberries came out of the freezer and into the microwave to thaw them out, and so that they were somewhat warm to the touch. Hand squeezed, skins and all went into the fermenter.

Paul Davis said...

What is the schedule for adding the hops to the boil?