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A pale ale made with blueberries...

I originally brewed this bad boy in March 2012 as an homage to my favorite band of all time Five Iron Frenzy. It was a play on their albums The End Is Near and The End Is Here their last album before their 2004 breakup. But earlier this year, they got back together. Overwhelmed with joy, I wanted to do a whimsical, frivolous beer that was a bit fruity, but altogether quality. So, I dreamed up: Five Iron Frenzy: The End is Beer Blueberry Pale Ale.

It was a simple concept; brew a pale ale, then throw in a few pounds of blueberries, then taste the deliciousness. However, it didn't exactly turn out that way. You can read all about the evolution of this strangely-prepared beer on the original brew page (see notes at the bottom), but for the long story short:

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Going off of the wisdom from Jame Spencer's Basic Brewing podcast as well as Mike Tonsmier's (The Mad Fermentationist's) blog, I went with freezing the blueberries and putting them into the fermenter during secondary. Much to my chagrin, a week later there was a bit of a pellicle on the beer. There must have been some unwanted bacteria on or in the blueberries that snuck into the beer. Having made several sour beers (bacteria-laden ales) previously, I wasn't too distressed. While I was looking for a clean ale, I decided to make the most of it and poured in the dregs of some of my favorite sours (RR's Sanctificationlots ofbrett, lacto, and pedio, a few other commercial sours as well as some sour trub from a lambic I had racked around then).

About a month later, there was a sizable pellicleI'm talking THICK. Had I reported this to the proper authorities, it may have required a HAZMAT team. So I bottled a single 12oz bottle to see just what I had created. Two weeks later I had a taste and it tasted like an infected, watered down blueberry juice. It was disgusting. I had just about given up, when I decided to do what I could to salvage the beer. It was a bit watery, so I added a gallon of a very dry tripel I had just brewed (3711-French Saison yeast). Also, the blueberry flavor was a bit too strong and sweet, so in my crazy mind I figured adding another fruit might balance it out a but. So I added a gallon of an orange pale ale I had recently brewed as well.

(I can see you cringing. And yes, nowhere along the way did I truly think I could salvage this beer. I did however take copious notes and I figured I'd at least learn a thing or two along the way. Plus, I've never dumped a batch of beer, and I really wanted to keep it that way.)

I then left the fermenter alone for six months. I ended up bottling them into a bunch of 750ml bottles and put them in a cool place. A few months after that, I crashed a bottle and had a taste.

Holy moly. This thing is tasty! I'm not necessarily talking Cascade, Russian River or La Folie, but definitely a wonderful creation from something that basically started out as a dud.

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Posted in Home Improvement Post Date 03/21/2017


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