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So I'm doing a first attempt at a Blackberry Wheat beer, per a request from a co-worker. All seems to be fine and good, however before I went to bottle I tasted it and, not unexpectedly, it is a little tart. I've noticed this before when I've done Hard Ciders or other fruit beers with strong tastes like Raspberries.

I was thinking of racking to another bucket with some Splenda to try and sweeten it up (Splenda is mostly maltodextrine, to my knowledge, so it's not ferment-able), but does anyone have suggestions on how to go about do this? I'd rather not make the mistake of making it 'too' sweet. I was going to try 10 packets for 5 gallons and then rerack again as necessary. Does this sound out of line?

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Lactose. It's unfermented by standard brewing yeasts and leaves residual sweetness in the bottle/keg. And it doesn't take much to sweeten a brew.

To figure out how much you need, mix lactose 1-to-1 by volume with boiling water and siphon off about 4 oz of your beer, then add the sweetener by the mL until it's the sweetness you want. Multiply to your volume, and decrease by about 10% to make sure you don't oversweeten as the fruit flavors and scents diminish.

For reference it took me 4 oz of lactose to sweeten about 4.5 gallons of blueberry wheat. The result was just the faintest hint of sweet.

  • Does this have to go into the boil, or can this be added in the secondary? – K.Niemczyk May 30 '15 at 0:00
  • Add it directly in the bottle or keg. It doesn't get any better in the fermenter -- the yeast doesn't touch it -- so you can put it in at the last minute as long as the water has been boiled. – ptfe May 31 '15 at 18:22
  • I've tried adding 3 oz into my beer. I'll repost to report how it comes out. – K.Niemczyk Jun 1 '15 at 21:25
  • Still came out slightly tart, but now at least I know what to do for future beers. Thanks. – K.Niemczyk Jul 13 '15 at 11:48
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I'd say it's out of line to use artificial sweeteners. Although some people brew to save money, or because beer simply isn't available where they live, most do it to make a quality product free of space-age-technology-ingredients.

Most of the sweetening of Splenda is from sucralose. Despite the company's claims that the chlorine in sucralose is natural they fail to point out that nearly all the natural chlorine in the world is chloride, found in the ocean, etc. You can draw you own conclusions.

There is a small brew pub near me that seems to use artificial sweeteners, and although it's hard to find any classic faults in the beer, it just doesn't taste right. In fact, it's pretty awful, very fake.

My suggestion is, serve it like berliner weisse, with syrup.

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