Lilac Tiger Passionfruit Wit

A crisp witbier filled with passionfruit – it’s G-R-R-R-R-E-A-T!
  • Grain bill:  Pale 2-Row, White Wheat, Flaked Rice
  • Hops:  Nugget, Hersbrucker, Sterling
  • Yeast:  Wyeast Belgian Witbier 3944
  • Secret ingredients:  Passionfruit Puree, Sweet Orange Peel, Coriander
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Origin Story:

This one is for Lauren.  My wife doesn’t really like beer that much unless we’re dancing at Reunions—she’s more of a white wine woman.  Making something that she’ll like has been a an ongoing challenge I’ve set myself.

Hal Mooney of LA Beer Hop introduced me to Avery Brewing’s Liliko’i Kepolo, a witbier flavored with passionfruit, and Lauren quite liked it.  I had an entry point, but I wanted to put a spin on it.  One of the other things about Lauren is that she’s obsessed with the color purple—our bedroom is purple, her office is purple, she dyed purple streaks in her hair for her low-budget midlife crisis.  Could I make her beer purple?

I remembered that I had cooked with forbidden rice before—black when dry, cooks purple.  And with a little finagling—taking the rice through a cereal mash step to release the fermentable starches—I could incorporate purple rice into my grain bill!  By making the rest of the grain bill as light as possible, the purple would really pop.  I would also need to mill the rice, so it gave me an excuse to buy a home grain mill.  Sacrifices….

Lilac Tiger wort

Lilac Tiger wort

The wort came out a very deep purple—a personal victory.  I was deeply satisfied as I transferred the wort to the fermenter after the boil.  What I failed to take into account was that passionfruit pulp is sort of mustardy yellow—that is, on the exact opposite side of the color wheel.  As soon as I added the passionfruit, the beverage became, charitably, purplish orangish red.  If you’re going to nail me down:  brown.  Beer color.

After passionfruit

After passionfruit

Happily, the Tiger gets top ratings—it’s tart and tasty and you wouldn’t really know I struggled with the color.  It disappeared so fast that it went through a quick second release, with the recipe dialed in even further.  There will be more opportunities to make a purple beer, and we’ll enjoy this one for what it is.

As for the name and label:  the Lilac Tiger is really Lauren—a Tiger alumna who favors purple.  Alice’s Cheshire Cat was purple as well, at least if you believe Disney.  For the image, Aidan Yetman-Michaelson riffed on Tenniel, upping the menace level a notch.  I guess we’re all mad here.  

Music Pairing:

After Eno embraced ambient music (I think we can argue about whether he “invented” it – it was probably already out there, but he supplied a lasting conceptual framework), his work became very cerebral.  His earlier albums Here Come the Warm Jets and Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy) are as much heart and balls as they are head—they move the body and make you laugh.  “Taking Tiger Mountain” is the blissful afterglow that follows a strenous workout.

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