Last year we brewed a lurid blackberry wheatbeer. It was actually pretty successful — it was refreshing, very fruity and very purple. There were no off flavours, but the problem was that it didn’t really taste of anything other than blackberry.
So when the blackberry season came round again, we were determined to try and make something a little more subtle. This time we used a Belgian wit beer as a base (perhaps more on how we made this another day), siphoning off around five litres into a carboy after three weeks of primary fermentation.
We prepared a blackberry concentrate by mashing up around half a pound of blackberries with a bit of water over some heat. We strained off the juice, and boiled this for 10 minutes to make sure it was sterile. This left us with about 50ml of thick juice. Once cooled, we added it to the witbier. We left it for a month in secondary, and then bottled it about three weeks ago.
We’ve just opened our first bottle, and it’s a triumph, though we do say so ourselves. You can definitely taste the underlying witbier, but it blends rather nicely with the fruity and slightly tart notes the blackberries lend. I’d be interested to try this on someone who didn’t know what was in it — I think they’d identify that it may have fruit in it, but they may not guess blackberry. That said, the peachy colour looks unusual. I think we’ve hit on the right proportion of blackberries to add an extra layer of flavouring without overpowering the base beer, and it would be interesting to try the same procedure with other types of beer.
It’s also very refreshing and drinkable. We don’t know exactly how strong it is, but the base witbier is about 3.7% so it’ll be a little over that, I guess. Anyone know how much sugar there is in half a pound of blackberries?
PIty we made so few bottles… but there are more blackberries in the freezer.