Local Beet Beer Update

August 17, 2009 at 9:04 am

Tom Keith

Geez, talk about putting pressure on a guy.

All I did was write up a little piece about a beet homebrew I’m doing. The idea came out of a short night of (moderate, responsible) drinking at the Hopleaf with Editor-in-Chief Morowitz.

Every day, thousands of homebrewers are tending to beers they’re making in their basements and garages. Some will ultimately be better than others, of course. A goodly number will as good, or better, than many commercial craft-brews.

But their efforts don’t get picked up by big-time websites, like Epicurious, or sites as far afield as Kansas City’s The Pitch , or Calgary’s I [Heart] Alberta Beets.

I generally tell my marketing clients – particularly those who rely on more frequent repeat purchase – to underpromise (a little) and overdeliver.

Now it seems as though the world is expecting the world’s most amazing beer made from beets. Out of my basement. Ain’t gonna happen. Okay, maybe it might happen (and also, there might be a Cubs-Sox World Series happening in town this October, too). But, at least among beet beers, there’s almost no competition.

Either way, I need to lower expectations a little. No, make that a lot.

The beets will add sugar (which turns into alcohol) and color to the beer, but not much flavor, I’m guessing. We’ll see. But as promised, I’m keep you informed.

Tonight, the beer went from the primary into the secondary fermenter (i.e. a 6.5 gallon bottle). A case could be made for leaving the beer in the primary for a few more days, for a diacetyl rest, but I figure that with a beet beer, maybe a little butteriness wouldn’t hurt. After all, it’s a somewhat weird beer – it doesn’t have to be true to any formal stylistic guidelines.

Making the transfer, I could see that the beer wasn’t as freakishly red as the first runnings of the sparge were – apparently all the Betacyanins were extracted early on. So I went back to Henry’s Farm (Evanston Farmers’ Market), got some more beets, and juiced them. The two cups of exceedingly fresh beet juice also went into the secondary. It doesn’t photograph well, but I think the freakishly red color, or at least a vague approximation, may be back. With probably a little more alcohol.

I’ll leave it in the secondary for another couple of weeks or so, until the yeast drops out and the beer is clear. Then I’ll prime it and bottle it. So far, none of the steps seem to have been particularly screwed up, except for adding the extra beet juice, which was an option I chose.

I’ll keep you posted.


One Comment

  1. Richard Leitner says:

    Great information :)

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