It seemed a bit odd, I agree, but I had a homebrewed gose in one hand, and some fresh watermelon juice in the other. I dumped a bit of the watermelon juice in the gose, and took a hesitant sip. My eyes got big, and I knew I had a winner with watermelon gose.
Since then, I’ve shared my watermelon gose with many people. Initial responses have been consistently skeptical, followed by a tentative sip, and then lots of wows.
Like many of the people I’m sharing my homebrew with, I have been thoroughly disappointed with every watermelon beer I’ve had before- the watermelon doesn’t come through, and it just tastes watery.
The key here is fresh watermelon juice, added right before serving. Don’t add it to the fermentation- you don’t want the sugars to ferment out.
Making watermelon juice
Making watermelon juice is quite simple. First, get a good ripe watermelon, preferably seedless, and cut a slice and test it to make sure it tastes good. Remove the rind, and cut the watermelon into chunks. Throw them into your blender or food processor and give it a whirl.
Next, you’ll want to strain the meat out- I suggest a strainer, as this lets through enough of the color. I think straining it through cheese cloth would likely give you a very clear juice.
From half of a large watermelon, I ended up with about 2 quarts of juice. I froze most of it, so I can pull it out and use it later.
Mixing the watermelon gose
I generally add the watermelon when serving, or if I’m taking a growler somewhere, I add it to the growler. Add the watermelon juice to the bottom of the glass, and then top off with gose.
I generally do about a 1:10 ratio of juice to gose, but that will depend on your gose and juice. My gose is quite tart, so if yours is less tart, you may find you need less. Do whatever tastes good!
Tasting the watermelon gose
Gose with watermelon is not ranked incredibly well on What to Brew- currently at 56%, so this was a bit of a surprise. I think the disconnect is partially due to how watermelon beers generally are done, so the expectation is a bit different. Like a berlinner weisse, people traditionally added syrups to their gose before drinking, so that this works isn’t too unexpected.
The beer takes on a lovely red color. The watermelon juice has lots of little red bits floating in it, but it seems to match the cloudiness of the gose. The head is thick and white, but it dissipates fairly quickly.
This is where the watermelon really shines. You get a great smell of a watermelon freshly cracked open. The sour/salty/citrus aroma of the gose comes through, but it is subtle by comparison.
This started as a very tart example of a gose, so the lactic sourness definitely comes through. The citrus from the coriander and the salt balance well with the watermelon flavor. The sweetness of the watermelon definitely does a lot to bring the beer to a better balance.
Medium carbonation, which is slightly brought down by adding uncarbonated juice. Medium body, with lingering sourness- almost puckering.
This is a very drinkable beer- it’s well balanced, with a lots of sour and sweet. It packs a lot of flavor and complexity without feeling like it’s doing too much. Watermelon juice will definitely be something I add to future goses.