Recipe by Sue Lau
With some basic equipment and a little know-how, anyone can enjoy a good homebrew.
- 3 lbs plain wheat dry malt extract (55% wheat/45% barley)
- 1⁄3 lb caramel malt, crushed (10 degree Lovibond color rating)
- 1⁄4 lb flaked wheat
- 1⁄2 ounce liberty hop pellets (3.3% alpha acid; boil 45 minutes)
- 1⁄4 teaspoon Irish moss (boil 15 minutes- to help remove solids)
- 1 package dry ale or 1 package brewer's yeast (Coopers preferred)
- 2 -2 1⁄2 lbs blackberries (frozen or fresh)
- 1⁄2 cup corn sugar (to prime)
Directions See How It's Made
- Sanitize a 5-gallon fermenter, racking cane, hose, and airlock.
- Place caramel malt and flaked wheat in a fine-mesh grain bag; put bag in brew kettle and add 1 gallon de-chlorinated water; heat to 150-155 degrees F and hold for 30 minutes.
- Increase heat; remove grain bag when temperature reaches 175 degrees F and let drain (can sparge or rinse with a half gallon of water at 175 degrees F).
- To prepare the wort, add dry malt extract and bring to a boil, stirring a few times while heating to prevent sticking on the bottom.
- Add hop pellets and boil for 30 minutes.
- Add Irish moss and boil for 15 minutes more.
- Remove kettle from heat and chill wort to 100 degrees F; add water to bring total volume to approximately 3 gallons (it helps if the water is chilled).
- Stir wort, cover, and let sit for 30 minutes; final temp should be 80 degrees F or under.
- Proof yeast in 1/2 cup water at 95 degrees F.
- Pitch (pour) yeast into fermenter; siphon wort off of trub (protein and hops solids at bottom of kettle) into fermenter, allowing to splash and aerate well.
- Affix airlock, shake to aerate further (if desired); add distilled water or neutral grain spirit to fill airlock halfway; set fermenter in safe location away from sunlight or fluorescent lighting; room temp should be in the 60-75 degree F range.
- Fermentation should start within 6-36 hours; monitor activity- if foam reaches airlock, replace with a blow-off tube and a bucket until things settle down a bit; allow to ferment until activity slows noticeably (this may take 3-10 days, depending on conditions).
- Prepare berries (thaw, if frozen; rinse and drain if fresh); (optional: can sterilize in 160-170 degree F water for 20 minutes and drain, but do not boil); sanitize a 3 gallon fermenter and transfer equipment.
- Place berries in secondary fermenter; rack beer onto berries (do not splash), leaving behind yeast sediment; affix airlock and set in a safe location.
- Secondary fermentation will typically be slower and less vigorous, but check often to make sure no fruit blocks the airlock (if it does, remove and clear the blockage to prevent over-pressure).
- Allow beer to remain on fruit until activity has stopped and fruit has turned pale- fruit may sink when it's ready to bottle (this should take 3-6 weeks).
- Sanitize bottles, transfer equipment, and bottling bucket; boil corn sugar in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes and allow to cool.
- Pour this priming solution into the bottling bucket; rack beer off of fruit, leaving yeast sediment behind into bucket; stir gently to mix well, and fill and cap the bottles.
- Allow to condition and age for at least 1 month.
- Note: new homebrewers should become familiar with brewing techniques; a good reference is"The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing", by Charlie Papazian.