Making an Anti-Viral Red
The idea behind this beer was to use elderberries in a classic, malt forward red ale and see if we could use lighter base malt and limited specialty malts to make a bright red, fruit forward beer.Josh did this brew solo at his place on the shop 35 L BrewZilla All Grain Brewing System, using 7.5 Briess Synergy Pilsner, 7.5 Weyermann Munich 1, and .25 Chateau Special B. Using a pound of Elderberries, he made an Elderberry heat extraction, boiling them down for an hour or so to denature the anthocyanins attached to the sugar in the fruit and make a delicious decoction that he added to the primary fermenter.
- 35 L Robobrew / Brewzilla All-In-One Electric Home Brew System
- Stainless Steel Hop Spider
- Stainless Steel Stir Spoon
- 6.5 Gallon Fermentation Bucket
- Silicone Transfer Tubing
- #2 Silicone Stopper
- 3 Piece Airlock
- Auto Siphon ⅜
- Star San
- 2 - 2.5 Gallon Kegs
- Taprite Regulator
- Ultra Barrier Silver Anti-Microbial Draft Line
- Ultra Barrier Silver Anti-Microbial Gas Line
- Intertap Stainless Steel Faucet
- Stainless Steel Shank
- Briess Synergy American Pilsner
- Weyermann Munich Type 1
- Chateau Special B
- Fuggle Hop Pellets
- Mt. Hood Hop Pellets
- 1 lb dried elderberries
- Maltodextrin (see why below!)
- Fresh Lake Tahoe Water
We mashed in the BrewZilla at a mash temperature of 152° F with 5.5 gallons of pure Lake Tahoe water and allowed 1 hour at that temperature for conversion to happen.We sparged with 3.75 Gallons of water using the dynamic fly sparge / batch sparge method typical to the BrewZilla and boiled for 90 minutes, adding our Mt. Hood pellet hop addition at 60 minutes.
After 75 minutes, we put our immersion chiller in the wort for sterilization, and after 90 minutes we chilled the wort down to pitching temperature.
Once chilled, we transferred to the fermenter and pitched S-04 and put the fermenter in the fermentation chamber set at 68° F. We allowed 2 weeks for fermentation to finish at room temperature.
On day 13 of fermentation, the beer was put into the kegerator and we crash chilled the fermenter for approximately 24 hours, 23 hours in advance of kegging. Once chilled, the beer was transferred into 2 - 2.5 Gallon kegs and force carbonated using 25 psi for 3 days, then lowered the pressure to 12 psi for serving. Then we drank it!
The idea for this beer was to go light on specialty malts and use a super light base malt to allow the color from the elderberry reduction to turn the whole thing a beautiful, ruby red. Instead, probably because the munich malt, it turned out a nice, light coffee brown color with an amber hint.
The elderberry aroma was phenomenal, with a huge burst of elderberry fruit aroma, backed by an almost raisin-y stone fruit characteristic, likely the intended contribution of the Special B. The flavor, on the other hand, was surprisingly caramel forward, with a distinct acidity from the elderberry contribution. It tastes fruity, backed by caramel, but the body was very thin from the acidity of the elderberry.
To fix this, we experimented with adding maltodextrin to thicken it up and cut that thin/acidic mouthfeel. Worked like a charm, and this beer isn’t going to last very long!