2022 Q3: Brewing beer with wine grape additions

It’s time for something a little different. The 3rd Style of the Quarter for 2022 is brewing beer with wine grape additions. Take any base beer style and add some amount of grape must (crushed grapes with skins and stems), pressed grape must (skins off), or just the skins.

See Keefer’s presentation on Italian Grape Ale for some context and inspiration about how these beer-wine hybrids can be constructed. He says most of the commercial examples have a similar base as several Belgian styles like Blond Ale or a Saison but the original Italian Grape Ale was a stout. Both the base and grape character need to be apparent and harmonious.

Typical grape content is around 15-20% by volume but can be more than 40%.

But wait, how do I buy grapes and press them anyway??

Oak Barrel in Berkeley sells wine grapes. They are a seasonal harvest that should be ordered by the 1st week of August. They have a 100-pound minimum order (6-gallon equivalent). I propose a couple group buys, arranged by yourselves, to allow for folks to get 1 or 2 gallons of juice or pressed skins. Feel free to do your own thing too! These grapes cost a couple dollars per pound so you’re looking at $25 – $35 per pound of juice depending on the variety.

White grapes:

·      arrive end of August

·      come pressed

·      do not come with the must (skins)

·      cost less

Red grapes:

·      arrive in the first two weeks of September

·      cost extra to get them crushed and de-stemmed

·      but never come pressed – must do this yourself

·      rent a press for $35/day

Visit or call Oak Barrel for any questions about ordering, the ingredients or process recommendations and tips. Oak Barrel will notify once the order is in and you can bring a bucket, keg or carboy to pick it up (end of August for whites, early Sept. for reds).

SOQ Competition

·      Use any base style of beer

·      Add wine grape additions, any proportion, any method

·      Take the time you need to make a good beer. These will be due Friday, December 2, 2022.

·      Submit 2 clean, unmarked bottles to Oak Barrel

·      www.bjcp.org/beer-styles/x3-italian-grape-ale