Cranberry Zinger (All-grain)

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It”s that time of year again.

Thanksgiving is two weeks away and so today I’m posting the all-grain version of my Cranberry Zinger — a great beer to serve on Thanksgiving day. Quick and easy to brew, and virtually foolproof, this is a great seasonal beer.

The all-grain version differs slightly from the extract version. Basically, the OG is little lower, but don’t worry — it’s not brain surgery. Almost any wheat beer base from 10–13 °Plato (1.040–1.052), all-grain or extract, will work fine. This recipe actually makes a nice American wheat beer, so you could brew 10 gallons (38 L) and split half into a straight up American wheat beer and add fruit to the second half.

Cranberries are tart, and they are also a bit tannic. The orange pith in the recipe (part of the whole orange) gives some added bitterness beyond the hopping (which is low). The dry, tart, slightly puckering flavor (and mouthfeel) of the beer is accentuated by the high level of carbonation.

This beer ferments quickly (3–4 days) and, after the beer has contacted the fruit for about a week, you can keg it and it will be ready to go. If you keg your beer, you can brew the base this weekend and have it ready for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Zinger

by Chris Colby

All-grain; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

This is cranberry beer that I (try to) brew every year for Thanksgiving. It is a big hit with friends and family. The base is a honey wheat beer. I usually use orange blossom honey, but that can get expensive so use whatever honey you like. The beer is flavored with cranberry relish — cranberries, Granny Smith apples and Navel oranges (zest, rind, pulp and all). The beer is fairly dry and somewhat tart due to the cranberries. The orange pulp lends some bitterness and the cranberry skins  give the beer a dose of astringency that keeps the beer from seeming too much like alcoholic fruit punch. A relatively high degree of carbonation gives it some “zing.”

 

INGREDIENTS (for 5 gallons)

 

Fermentables (for an OG of 1.044 and an SRM of 3)

4.0 lb. Pilsner malt

3.5 lb. wheat malt

0.75 lb. flaked wheat (or torrified wheat)

2.0 lbs. honey (your choice of variety), at knockout

Hops (15 IBUs total)

Willamette hops (15 IBUs)

0.75 oz. (of 5% alpha acids), boiled for 60 minutes

Fruit (makes the “virtual OG” roughly 1.045)

4.0 lbs. cranberries (whole, preferably not frozen)

2 medium Navel oranges

2 medium Granny Smith apples

Yeast (for an FG of 1.007 and 4.8% ABV)

Fermentis Safale US-05 dried ale yeast

Other

1/4 tsp. yeast nutrients

1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme

6.0 oz. corn sugar (for priming to 2.8 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURE

Mash grains at 152 °F for 60 minutes. Use 11 qts. of strike water. If you can, mash out to 168 °F and sparge with water hot enough to maintain this grain bed temperature. Collect about 5.25 gallons of wort, and add water to make a pre-boil kettle volume of 6.0 gallons, or whatever volume you can boil down to 5.0 gallons in an hour. Bring the wort to a boil. Add hops and boil for 60 minutes. Add yeast nutrients with 15 minutes left in the boil. Stir in honey at knockout. Chill wort, aerate well, and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68–70 °F. When fermentation is complete (or nearly complete), make cranberry relish. Do this by rinsing the fruit in water, then combining cranberries, apples (minus the cores) and whole oranges (rind and all) in a food processor. Blend to the consistency of cranberry relish, or slightly “chunkier.” Place fruit in sanitized bucket fermenter and rack beer onto it. (You can put the fruit in a nylon steeping bag to keep it contained. You do not need to sanitize the fruit itself.) Add pectic enzyme. Let fruit contact the beer for 7–10 days, then rack beer to bottles or keg. Carbonate to 2.8 volumes of CO2.

 

Cranberry Zinger

by Chris Colby

All-grain; metric units

 

INGREDIENTS (for 19 L)

 

Fermentables (for an OG of 1.044 and an SRM of 3)

1.8 kg Pilsner malt

1.6 kg wheat malt

340 g flaked wheat (or torrified wheat)

910 g honey (your choice of variety), at knockout

Hops (15 IBUs total)

Willamette hops (15 IBUs)

21 g (of 5% alpha acids), boiled for 60 minutes

Fruit (makes the “virtual OG” roughly 1.045)

1.8 kg cranberries (whole, preferably not frozen)

2 medium Navel oranges

2 medium Granny Smith apples

Yeast (for an FG of 1.007 and 4.8% ABV)

Fermentis Safale US-05 dried ale yeast

Other

1/4 tsp. yeast nutrients

1/2 tsp. pectic enzyme

170 g corn sugar (for priming to 2.8 volumes of CO2)

 

PROCEDURE

Mash grains at 67 °C for 60 minutes. Use 11 L of strike water. If you can, mash out to 76 °C and sparge with water hot enough to maintain this grain bed temperature. Collect about 20 L of wort, and add water to make a pre-boil kettle volume of 23 L, or whatever volume you can boil down to 19 L in an hour. Bring the wort to a boil. Add hops and boil for 60 minutes. Add yeast nutrients with 15 minutes left in the boil. Stir in honey at knockout. Chill wort, aerate well, and pitch yeast. Ferment at 20–21 °C. When fermentation is complete (or nearly complete), make cranberry relish. Do this by rinsing the fruit in water, then combining cranberries, apples (minus the cores) and whole oranges (rind and all) in a food processor. Blend to the consistency of cranberry relish, or slightly “chunkier.” Place fruit in sanitized bucket fermenter and rack beer onto it. (You can put the fruit in a nylon steeping bag to keep it contained. You do not need to try to sanitize the fruit itself.) Add pectic enzyme. Let fruit contact the beer for 7–10 days, then rack beer to bottles or keg. Carbonate to 2.8 volumes of CO2.

 

Related articles

Cranberry Zinger

Carbonated Cranboozy Relish

 

Comments

  1. Herb Meowing says:

    Thx for the tasty recipe.
    Plan to brew it next month.

    • Chris Colby says:

      You are welcome. This beer has been a hit at every Thanksgiving dinner I’ve brought it to. Hope you enjoy it. (For best results, be sure to carbonate it so that it’s “fizzier” than normal beers.”)

  2. Herb Meowing says:

    Any suggestions for treating the water?
    I have Bru’nWater.
    Thx.

    • Chris Colby says:

      Treat the water as you would for any pale beer. Most likely, you’ll want to keep the carbonates under 50 ppm and have at least 100 ppm calcium. If you worry about the chloride to sulfate ratio, keep it fairly balanced.

  3. Herb Meowing says:

    Much obliged.

  4. Herb Meowing says:

    In re adding honey at knockout; given the recent trend of adding whirlpool hops after the wort has cooled to prevent the flash off of volatile oils … should the same consideration be given to honey such that the wort is cooled to +/- 180°F before making the addition?

    • Chris Colby says:

      You could wait until the wort cools down a bit to add the honey if you wanted to, especially if you’re using expensive honey. I’ve always just added the honey at knockout for convenience, but I can’t see any harm in adding it a little later — and it might help if the honey is very aromatic.

      • Herb Meowing says:

        Brew date: 18-FEB-15

        Thx for answering all my questions.
        You are hereby awarded the ‘Order of the Whisk.’

        • Chris Colby says:

          I’ll put it on my trophy shelf! How did the beer turn out?

          • Herb Meowing says:

            Hah!
            Turned out cranberries aren’t available year-round like just about every other fruit … so the FEB-15 batch lacked a little sumpin’sumpin like cranberries.

            Second and third go-rounds in the fall turned out more better; however … the cranberry presence was a tad subdued for my taste … probably b/c of too much apple and orange. Will likely cut the apple and orange additions in half on this fall’s re-brew.

            -HM

  5. Herb Meowing says:

    3rd re-brew tonight.
    Batch #2 (avec cranberries) turned out delightful.
    Big hit at last year’s holiday party.

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