Summertime in Florida can be brutal with temperatures creeping into the upper 90s and humidity that makes you feel like you jumped into a pool. These factors don’t pair well with a big beer like a double stout. So, when the humidity index jumps up, the folks at Wicked Barley Brewing Co. start breaking out lighter, more refreshing recipes at the brewery. Our go to recipe is our shandy — School in the Summertime. When crafting a shandy, it’s important to create a base recipe that won’t get in the way of the juice you plan to blend with the beer. Sometimes less is more in craft brewing — although each component we add to this recipe is important.
A major component is water, which makes up a majority of what’s in your glass when drinking a beer. Jacksonville is known for many great things — beautiful beaches, the St. John’s River, Jacksonville Jaguars, craft beer — but our water quality is one of the worst in the nation. That reason led us to using reverse osmosis water for all of our recipes. This is critical, especially when brewing a light beer like a shandy. By using R/O water as our blank slate, we can recreate a water profile, like the Midwest, which is known for producing light, crisp beers.
Turning to malt, pilsner malt does a fantastic job in this scenario. We also include a large amount of white wheat and flaked wheat to create a white fluffy head that can stand up to the juice blend. A small amount of light Munich malt is added to give the beer a tiny presence of malt sweetness and color.
Two additions of hops come into play: a 60-minute addition of Warrior hops and a five-minute addition of Lemon Drop hops. Our goal is 15 IBUs. Lemon drop hops provide notes of lemon peel and citrus flavors to the beer, and it’s a relatively inexpensive hop.
On to my favorite ingredient — yeast. We manage a fair amount of yeast through our onsite lab at Wicked Barley. The strain we choose for this recipe is White Labs WLP644 Saccharomyces Bruxellensis Trois. This is a low flocculating, powerhouse yeast that chews through sugar and produces a beer with incredible tropical and citrus notes. The combination of wheat malt along with this yeast results in a hazy beer.
To wrangle this yeast, we mash at a temperate of 156F. Mash high or you will be left with no residual sugar. Knock out at 70F and once the lag phase has passed, increase tank temperature to 74F. When attenuation has reached 60 percent, increase to 68F to drive off diacetyl. Wlp644 will take about 10 days to get this recipe to 75 percent attenuation with an ABV of 4.5 percent. At times, it can slow down towards the end of fermentation, give it time, it will continue to work. When the beer has passed a forced diacetyl test, crash the tank for four days to drop as much yeast as possible for harvest, then send to the brite tank with no filtration. Carb to 2.6 vol.
High quality juice
Now you have a base beer that needs a high-quality juice to take it to the next level. Unlike shandies that are mass-produced by big beer companies, Wicked Barley prefers to mix our shandy to order behind the bar. We were fortunate to discover Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co., a Florida based, award-winning juice producer. Natalie’s is a woman-owned, family-operated company that produces all-natural juice without the use of artificial ingredients, preservatives or GMOs. Knowing that Florida is the Citrus State, we looked far and wide to find the best juice to use in our shandy and we found nothing that compares to the quality of Natalie’s.
To create the perfect Shandy, fill your glass 3/4 of the way with your beer base, then fill the remaining 1/4 of the glass with Natalie’s Natural Lemonade, stir gently. Drink and repeat. Cheers!
The perfect shandy: School in the Summertime recipe:
- R/O Base. Shoot for balanced profile: chalk, Epsom salt and calcium chloride.
- Pilsner — 42 percent
- White Wheat — 24 percent
- Flaked Wheat — 22 percent
- Light Munich — 6 percent
- Rice Hulls — 5 percent
- Warrior — 9.7 IBUS at 60-minute mark
- Lemon Drop — 5.3 IBUs at five-minute mark
- White labs WLP644 Saccharomyces “Bruxellensis” Trois
- Mash at 156 for 60 min
- Sparge 170
- Boil 60 minutes
- Knock out at 70F
- Natalie’s Natural Lemonade, 1-part juice to 3 parts beer
Philip Maple is the brewmaster and co-owner of Wicked Barley Brewing Co. in Jacksonville, Fla.