Strawberry Wheat Beer Batch, part 1

Recently I upgraded my brew kettle and fermenting equipment to go from a one gallon set-up to something bigger.  I’m still new to the whole homebrewing scene but I’ve done my best to try and learn as much as possible.  The last wheat beer I brewed was a one gallon extract hefeweizen batch and it turned out wonderfully.  I’m hoping that my first 2.5 gallon batch will come out at least as well.

Since I was trying out new equipment, I wasn’t sure about how much wort I would lose in the boil and in the trub.  I planned on erring on the side of caution to make sure I got a decent about of wort.  My simple recipe is as follows:

Strawberry Wheat

  • 3.75 lb Two Row
  • 3 lb Pale Wheat Malt
  • .75 oz 4.5% AA Tettnanger @ 60min
  • WB-06 Dry Weizen Yeast
  • 1lb of fresh strawberries per gallon of wort in secondary

I planned on making about 3.25 gallons of wort and seeing how much I lost before fermentation.  I ended up wasting well over half a gallon of usable wort mostly because of the cold break not settling.  I’ll be more careful next time to make sure that this doesn’t happen in the future.

I think I captured about 2.5 gallons of wort and the SG was 1.055.  Fermentation started quickly and by day 4, the gravity was down to 1.012.  Fermentation temperature was around 71 degrees F.  After taking the gravity reading, I racked my beer to a secondary fermenter and got ready to add the strawberries.

I read quite a bit about adding fruits to beers and I was a bit apprehensive about the process.  No two places I researched agreed with the best way of doing it.  Some suggested adding the fruit to the hot wort as you are cooling it, some suggested boiling it, others to add fresh fruit to the secondary.  All seemed to have pros and cons.  Adding the fruit to hot wort or boiling wort is reported to cause the fruit flavors to come out cooked and can increase the amount of pectins.  Adding the fruit fresh to the secondary could lead to bacteria or mold destroying the batch since it is tough to sanitize the fresh fruit thoroughly.  As the beer in the secondary was already at a relatively high ABV level, I think that it should be resistant to any outside infections.

Fruit Preparation: I thoroughly washed and cored all the strawberries making sure to remove all the greens.  I then quartered them and added them to a sanitized food processor and pulsed them on low until they were well chopped.  Into the fermenter they went and now it is once again time to wait.  Quickly the yeast started attacking all the new sugars that were added and the fermentation has become quite a bit more robust.  I plan on leaving it in secondary around 10 days.  It is probably important to keep an eye on the fruit floating on the top and to make sure that the fruit is submerged in the beer so that nothing can grow on the top.  I’ll be sure to update as it is warranted.Image

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