Home Brew Bloggers on April 24, 2020 0 Comments Summer days come earlier and earlier every year, so there is no time like the present to begin brewing your craft beer for summer enjoyment. Here are four ideas for the perfect craft brew for warmer months ahead. Fruit Beers There’s no better way to quench your thirst on a hot summer day than by popping open a cold beer — and what says “summer” better than fresh, juicy fruit? Every craft brewer can make a great fruit beer, because, at least in theory, any style of beer can be made into a fruit beer. Wheat beers, lagers, sours, pale ales, and stout can be combined with fresh fruit, fruit purée, or fruit syrup. No home brewer will exhaust the possibilities. But fruit beers are a test of the home brewer’s skill. Brewing with real fruit is messy, and yields will be lower because fruit soaks up a lot of beer. There’s always the possibility of using wild yeasts like Brettanomyces that grow on the skins and peels of fruit. Fruit has unpredictable sugar content and flavor, and the brewing process needs to begin before the fruit harvest is at its peak. One way to get around these problems is to use fruit purée or fruit syrup instead of fresh fruit. The flavor and sugar content will be consistent across multiple batches, and it’s possible to introduce exotic flavors like mango, jackfruit, and cloudberry. Heat processing of the purée or syrup kills foreign yeasts. Brewing beer with fruit opens doors for creativity. Wheat Beer Wheat beer is full of flavor but never heavy. It also goes well with popular summer foods, and it does not fail to refresh on a hot summer day. The possibilities for wheat beer are not limited to the traditional German Weissbier or Hefeweizen. Some beer critics say that the only thing American wheat beers have in common with German wheat beers is that they are made with wheat, but that may be an overstatement. If you brew your American wheat beer with some of the newly available varieties of hops, you may miss the familiar notes of clove and banana. Instead, you can use some of the newer varieties of hops available from New Zealand to get a summery taste of citrus. It’s hops that will give your home crafted wheat beer a “zippy” flavor. Instead of blending American and noble hops (for example, Amarillo and Saaz, Centennial and Hallertau), use Pacific hops. Sorachi Ace will yield Meyer Lemon flavors and a hint of marjoram or dill. Motueka will provide a lime flavor. One ounce (a little under 339 g) of each (at about 14 percent and 7 percent alpha acids, respectively) added at the end of the boil (in the last five minutes) will impart a pop of hops flavor and aroma with a minimal amount of bitterness, just 10 to 15 IBUs. Pale ales tend to be “straight-laced and in your face.” American wheat beers can have a friendlier flavor. But pale ales also have a place in summer brewing. Pale Ales Pale ales are the beers for beer drinkers who love hops. Although white pale ale beer has definitively English origins, American West Coast craft beers offer a balance between hops and malt. What is the secret to brewing an ale that is genuinely pale? Your choice of malt makes a major difference. The darkness or quantity of malt you use to make your beer can change body, color, flavor, and alcohol by volume. Raising mash temperature may result in fuller bodied, sweeter beer, while lowering it may result in a drier, thinner beer. Trial and error and keeping good notes will help you perfect your recipe. Pilsners Pilsners are beers descended from recipes by brewers in the Czech town of Plzeň. Bavarian brewer Joseph Groll invented the beer we now know as Pilsner there in 1842. European brewers usually take a single-malt, single-hop (SMASH) approach to making Pilsners, but American craft brewers are famous for their more elaborate recipes. The essential tool for brewing any Pilsner is refrigeration. The yeast that is used to brew Pilsner requires constant refrigeration at a temperature between 48° and 55° F. The wort has to be in this temperature range before yeast is added. Pilsners require about twice as much yeast as other beers to come out of the gate strong, and they will need both a warm-temperature rest and a near-freezing lagering process before they are ready to drink. Pilsner beers are bottled with fresh yeast to ensure thorough conditioning. Kegerator.com is your source for all your craft brewing resources and home brew supplies. Visit our learning center regularly for everything you need to know about home brewing and craft brewing of beer.