A couple of weeks ago I was about to make another batch of Kolsch when I got the funny idea to maybe try something a bit different, or actually something a lot different. Maybe it was a trip to the beach, a walk down on the plaza or the recent concert I went to but I couldn’t get blondes out of my head, specifically strawberry blondes. So Eryn picked one up for me during a shopping trip to whole foods and we cracked it open to enjoy. It wasn’t that enjoyable, the strawberry flavor was obviously “natural flavors” and it just had that sense of artificiality to it. So we decided to do what any sensible brewer would do, make our own.
I worked through a recipe I had used for a previous blonde ale that I made, tweaked it just a touch and headed down to my LHBS to pick up the couple of missing ingredients. The beer consisted of Pils, Wheat, CaraPils, and some flaked corn with Cascade and Saaz Hops. We 1056’ed the wort and let if ferment all the way out. After primary fully stopped we mashed 6 pounds of frozen strawberries into secondary. The temp dropped big time and nothing really happened during the first 24 hours. The next 24 hours were a complete different story.
The strawberries kicked the beer into a full second fermentation even more vigorous than the first. I decided that I should keep an eye on the fermenter just in case and sure enough a few hours later the strawberry foam rose into the airlock, stopped it up and blew it right off the top. I added a blow off tube and let it go to town. The berry fermentation finished out another couple of days later. When we racked it into keg the beer had a great pinkish hue to it and had a great strawberry nose.
We force carbed the keg and had it on tap within almost two weeks of brewing. When we tapped the keg we had a great strawberry blonde ale come out. The color kept the pinkish hue and even the head picked up a bit of it. The aroma was rich with strawberries. The flavor comes across as a nice blonde ale that hits you with a bit of tartness from the strawberries. There is no sweetness that you might find in a “naturally flavored” version, instead it’s dry, tart and very refreshing. So I’ve come to the conclusion that on a hot summers day there really isn’t anything better than a blonde, especially a strawberry blonde.[box type=”download”] Download pdf recipe[/box]