Last year I decided to make a go at brewing a summer wheat beer with fruit. There seems to be a lot of interest in the 21st Amendment’s Watermelon wheat so I thought I would that recipe as a basis for my recipe.
Sean O’Sullivan, the brewmaster at the 21A, is pretty tight lipped about his recipe but he has given several interviews over the past year that give many tips about the recipe. I used these tips to derive my recipe. So without further ado here are the notes:
• The recipe is 60% pale malt, 40% Wheat – There are no notes of crystal in the grist.
• Hallertauer Hops, 17 IBU
• Clean yeast: Probably White Labs 001- “O’Sullivan ferments with a house strain of ale yeast, which scavenges the sugar in the fruit and leaves the essence of watermelon without a sweet fruit flavor.”
• 400lbs of Watermelon In 370 Gallon Batch
• Dry Crisp Finish (Low finishing gravity?)
• Pale Straw Color
Based upon these notes I came up with the following for my recipe (10 gallons):
12.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
8.00 lb Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM)
2.00 oz Hallertauer [3.60%] (60 min) Hops 14.7 IBU
2.00 oz Hallertauer [3.60%] (5 min) Hops 2.4 IBU
Mash @ 152 for 1 hr, Target Gravity is ~ 1050, Ferment in the Low to Mid 60s for 1 week.
On brewday or before cut the flesh from 1 20 lb watermelon. This should yield approx 12-14 lbs of fruit. Put the chunks / juice in ziplock bags and freeze. Quick note here my batch was ten gallons. The important ration here is the about 1.2 lbs of raw watermelon into 1 gallon of beer. Ive gone as high as 1.5 and it was still not overpowering.
Thaw and add to the primary fermenter after about 1 week, it should be towards the tail end of the fermentation. This will restart the fermentation, like crazy. Now this is important dont let anybody who will potentially be drinking the beer see inside the fermenter, because they will never drink it if you do. It will be a yeasty watermelon mess, but damn it will smell good.
Before kegging/bottling pull out the chunks of watermelon. I used a slotted spoon, this made transferring much easier, but it was still a pain in ass due to the seeds.
What you will have when you are done is a great summer beer. Its not going to taste like a watermelon jolly rancher, it is going to be a nice wheat beer with great watermelon aroma and a strong hint of watermelon flavor. Your guy friends will claim that its a chick beer, however they will quietly sneak back to your kegerator for a second or ever third glass. As for the ladies, yes, they too will love it.
Brew it up and let me know how it turns out.