Date Style IBU Boil Target OG Actual OG FG ABV %
12/31/2012 Fruit Beer 37.2 60 min. 1.046 1.036 1.012 3.1%

This one started more with a concept for the theme and name of a beer than with any real understanding of how to go about making it. I wanted to make a beer that would celebrate my love of the Firefly universe, and wanted to call it Blue Sun after the all-encompassing mystery corporation from the show. I thought a strong wheat beer flavored with blueberries would be a great direction to try, so I adapted the recipe I’d followed for Schmoddington’s, and planned to add some blueberry puree to the fermenter. I also swapped in some honey malt to get the honey flavor I’d achieved with the previous recipe, since I didn’t know how it would work to prime this one with honey.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to research a beer style before attempting it yourself. I didn’t know I was making a Fruit Beer, I just thought I was adding some blueberry to the process. Not surprisingly, the results were spectacular – just not the Good kind.

Ingredients

Grain Qty %
U.S. Pale Malt (2-row) 4.5 lb 52.9%
Roasted Malt 1 lb. 11.8%
Crystal 60L 1 lb. 11.8%
Honey Malt .5 lb. 5.9%
Flaked Oats .5 lb. 5.9%
Flaked Barley .5 lb. 5.9%
Light Brown Sugar .5 lb. 5.9%
Hops/Additions Qty Time IBU
Goldings East Kent 1.5 oz 60 min. 28.0
Goldings East Kent 1 oz 15 min. 9.2
Irish Moss 1/2 tsp. 5 min.
Yeast/Fermentor additions Qty
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale 2 package
Blueberry puree, added to secondary 2 lb.

Brewing Notes

Dec. 31: Heated 3.5 gallons of water to 170° and added the grains. The bulky grain bill meant I didn’t have enough water in the tun to cover the grains. The grains steeped at about 100° for 30 minutes while I heated an an additional 1 gallon to 150°, for 4.5 gallons total mash water. Raised the temperature, and mashed at 160-170° for 60 minutes, and then sparged with about 2.5 gallons of 168° water.

Hit my hot break around 215°, the boil was uneventful. All additions went in fine and on schedule. Took roughly 50 minutes to cool the wort enough to move it to the fermenter and pitch my yeast. Not sure if I boiled it high enough – only lost about .5 gallons to the boil. Maybe should have boiled longer to reach the OG I was shooting for.
Jan. 1 2013: Fermenting steadily at 68°. Nice color and activity. Looks like a big jar of caramel.
Jan. 8: Racked to a secondary fermenter over about 2 pounds of blueberry puree. New OG is 1.012. Gravity sample after the blueberry was added was very sweet and fruity.
Jan. 20: Racked to the bottling bucket. The beer has gotten very sour, but I hope it will mellow after a few weeks in the bottles.
Jan. 22: Bottled six 750ml bombers and twenty-six 12-ounce bottles. Tasted a sample, the blueberry is very vinegary right now. I don’t think it fermented out, the gravity hasn’t changed since I racked it to the secondary. Still hoping it will get better in 6-12 weeks.

label_005Tasting Notes

Feb. 24: Tasted the carb sample. Flavor has improved considerably, enough that I can actually drink a full class of it. Should be great by St. Patrick’s day.
Update: After several months of cautiously testing random bottles of this beer, I had to admit that it just wasn’t any good. I don’t care for sour beers, and this was one damn sour batch. It’s possible that it was a fine beer, just beyond my ability to appreciate it. But if I’m not going to drink it, then what good is it? Went ahead and reclaimed the rest of the bottles, and will consider trying this one again in the future. I have learned that, of the different fruit additions, blueberries are one of the trickiest to master. So, I guess I have a new goal!