Homebrew Recipe: Snozz Project Dry Hopped Fruited Unicorn Sour

Illustration by DWITT

Illustration by DWITT

The Growler and actor and comedian Erik Stolhanske of Broken Lizard are joining forces Tuesday, February 20 for a special brew day at Barrel Theory Brewing. In honor of the occasion, Michael Dawson, author of “Mashmaker: A Citizen-Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home,” created this Super Troopers themed homebrew recipe: Snozz Project Dry Hopped Fruited Unicorn Sour. Follow along on The Growler’s Facebook Live today as Erik samples this special homebrew and brews a batch of beer with Barrel Theory’s brewing team.

“Snozzberries.” The internet has its own definition of what Roald Dahl was inferring when he coined the phrase, but for this project, not to mention for the sake of health codes, we’ll assume snozzberries are a fruit. We’ll further operate on the assumption that this fruit is obnoxious in appearance, intense in flavor, and fantastical—perhaps bordering on artificial—in its Wonka-ness.

Full disclosure: there are already at least a couple commercially produced craft beers (and probably many more homebrews than that) that have “snozzberry” in their name—this is not a clone of those. And while there are some conceptual similarities, Snozz Project is… Well, you’ll see.

Snozz Project Dry Hopped Fruited Unicorn Sour

Target OG: 1.048 (approximately)

Target IBU: Approximately 25

Grain

  • 8.5 pounds Weyermann Barke Pilsner

Hops

  • 0.25 ounce Target (or a similar high alpha variety)
  • 2 ounces Idaho 7

Yeast & Bacteria

  • Wyeast 5335, or your choice of Lactobacillus culture
  • BRY-97, Wyeast 1332, or a similar clean & flocculent ale yeast

Fruit

  • 2 liters passion fruit juice (a juice blend is OK for this recipe – I used Ceres)

Flair (optional)

  • Edible glitter, your choice of color—ideally, individually dosed at serving, at a ratio of 3 grams per gallon

Key points for key pints

Kettle sour. A rapid souring of the wort with Lactobacillus before the main fermentation prolongs the work of the brew day, but adds an underlayment of acidity that accentuates both fruit and hops. I opted for Wyeast 5335 (L. buchneri), but your favorite Lacto strain (or even, in a pinch, two to three tablespoons of live yogurt in the starter) will work great.

Barke Pilsner. I’m using this malt for a couple specific reasons: it has a very pale color and mild flavor to help show off the fruit and hops, while also supplying a good level of foam-positive and bodybuilding proteins to achieve a clean malt profile without incorporating wheat or other grains.

Fruity hops. Snozz Project is deploying a dual addition in the form of a hop stand on the hot side and dry hopping on the cold side. I happened to be sitting (not literally, that’s gross) on some sticky Idaho 7 cones, so that’s what I used. But Mosaic, Citra, or tropically loud varieties like Galaxy and Vic Secret would be right at home here too. Feel free to mix and match if that’s your bag.

Hoppy fruit. Happily, passion fruit is a sensory descriptor for at least a couple of the hop options listed above—we’ll reinforce that with additions of actual fruit in the fermentor. I used Ceres brand, which is a blend of passion fruit and pear juices; if you have pure passion fruit juice, fire at will. However, since (spoiler alert) snozzberries aren’t real anyway, I am just fine with using a blend.

Edible glitter. Because when you’re already at “dry hopped fruited sour,” I see no point in shying away from another adjective, and “dry hopped fruited unicorn sour” contains one more adjective. If dropping a glitter bomb, you can certainly add it at packaging. However, since it tends to settle out, I’ve had the best (or, perhaps more accurately, the most sparkly) results when dosed directly into the glass, pitcher, or growler at service.

Prep: 1–2 days before brew day

  1. Prepare a Lactobacillus starter: 1 liter of water, 4 ounces DME. Incubate at a very warm temperature (85–100°F) without stirring or agitation.

 Prep: On brew day

  1. On brew day, collect strike water and heat to approximately 165°F.
  2. Mill the grains, or have it done for you at the shop.

Mash & Sparge

  1. Add all grains to strike water and mix to achieve a uniform temperature of 151–153°F. Rest the mash at this temperature for 60 minutes.
  2. While the mash rests, collect and heat sparge water.
  3. When the mash rest is complete, heat it to 170°F for mashout.
  4. Sparge and collect the wort in the boil kettle.

Kettle souring

  1. Use a boil kettle that has a well-fitted lid. Bring the wort to a boil for a couple minutes to sterilize, then allow to cool—you can use an immersion chiller if you like, or just let it cool passively with ambient temps. (Don’t worry about DMS formation at this point—the wort will be boiled again.) Keep the wort in the kettle—no need to transfer, for the lactic fermentation will take place right in the boil kettle.
  2. Once the wort temp is below 120°F, inoculate with the entire Lacto starter and cover the kettle with the lid. (If you want to go all-out, flush the headspace of the kettle with CO2).
  3. Allow Lactobacillus to ferment 1 to 3 days. Do not oxygenate or aerate, and maintain a fermentation temp of 80°F or above—all other things equal, the bacteria will work faster at warmer temps, up to about 120°F, in an anaerobic environment.
  4. Once the wort has soured to your liking (a simple sensory evaluation of the sour wort will be enough), proceed to the main boil.

Main Boil

  1. Bring the soured wort back to a boil and lick some wallpaper. Add 0.25 ounce Target hops when the wort begins to boil, and boil for 60 minutes.
  2. When the 60 minute boil is complete, add 1 ounce Idaho 7 hops (or your choice) and allow to rest in the hot wort for 15–20 minutes.
  3. Cool it!

Fermentation and beyond

  1. Transfer the cooled wort to a sanitized fermenter and add the passion fruit juice.
  2. Aerate well and pitch yeast.
  3. Depending on the yeast strain being used, aim for a maximum fermentation temp in the low to mid 60s°F.
  4. When fermentation starts to subside, warm the fermentor to 68–70°F and add 1 ounce Idaho 7 (or your choice) for the dry hop addition.
  5. Once gravity is stable and the beer has had about 3–5 days of contact with the dry hops and is diacetyl-free, proceed with packaging and glitter (if using).
  6. Consume fresh, and be stingy with explanations to your drinking audience … Let the snozz speak for itself.

Until next time: Drink it like you brewed it.