Homebrewed Rosé Beer

Whether your taste buds delight over wine or desire a beer, refreshing rosé beers offer the best of both worlds.

Photo by Flickr/Don LaVange

Rosé wines are an increasingly popular drink for many people. Canned rosé began appearing on liquor store shelves a couple of years ago, and it’s gotten a lot of attention since, especially in summertime. And in the craft-beer industry, brewers are always keen to brew something new and exciting. So, as trends are chased, many commercial brewers and homebrewers have decided to try their hand at making rosé beer.

What’s a Rosé, Anyway?

Rosé beer is a catchall term that encompasses a wide variety of beers. Most rosés are pale beer fermented with grapes or blended with wine after fermentation. The grape or wine addition adds a red color and, sometimes, a winelike character. Some rosé beers contain fruits or flavorings other than grapes. Most are dry, but some are sweet. (Many dry rosé beers are labeled “brut,” a word often used to designate a dry wine.) Some are sour. Most rosé beers have a relatively low alcohol by volume (ABV), but a few are stronger. Some are aged in oak barrels for flavoring, color, or souring. Most are only lightly hopped, but given the popularity of IPAs, some bitter rosés are produced. Many different styles of beer have been labeled “rosé,” including pale ales, pale lagers, lambics, saisons, goses, kettle-soured beers, and the list goes on. So you see, rosé beer really is a catchall term — it can mean almost anything.

There are fundamentally two ways to make a rosé beer at home. A homebrewer can add grapes during the brewing process, including grape juice during primary fermentation or maturation. Or, wine can be blended with a finished beer to make the rosé. The latter allows the homebrewer to blend the beer to their desired level of color and flavor. Just 1 part red wine to 19 parts pale beer yields a distinct pink cast. (The exact shade depends mostly on the depth of color in the wine.) With this technique, the brewer can enjoy both the unblended beer and the blended rosé. Also, this method eliminates the need to source wine grapes, which can be difficult outside of wine country, especially when it’s not harvest season in fall.

Brewing Rosé Your Way

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