Strawberry Melonball MIPA: A First Attempt Combining Fruit & Lactose

A trip to Portland, Maine in February 2019 reminded us that there is still some fun to be had with even with the most familiar styles of beer.

Strawberry Melonball is our first attempt at the milkshake style as well as working with whole fruits, and after some unexpected delays we were finally ready to give it a taste. Note that we brewed a smaller 3-gallon amount this time around, for experimentation without the bigger price tag of a larger batch.

A milkshake style simply means that lactose is added to create a creamier body to emulate the texture of a milkshake. The addition of fruits and vanilla help accentuate the illusion. The style has become popular of late. We especially enjoyed the version Definitive Brewing had in cans at the brewery

In this original recipe, we are trying to create a strawberry milkshake experience with the addition of strawberries, but also the Huell melon hops, which add the aroma of strawberries and cantaloupe melons. The strawberries are cooked down and blended with an immersion blender to break down the cell walls as much as possible. Any fruits need to be cooked to at least 140ºF (60ºC), and added after primary fermentation — about 1 week depending on temperatures. The sugars in the strawberries will then be processed by the remaining yeasts.

If you are not using a conical fermenter with a trub dumping system, be sure to rack from above the strawberry / hop / yeast sludge to get a clearer beer, but a little haze is just fine.  To see the entire recipe, read on.

Click to watch the video!

Strawberry Melonball Milkshake IPA

3 gallons, all-grain



  • 4.5lbs Great Western 2-row Pale Malt (2ºL)
  • .25lb Fawcett Pearl Malt (2.5ºL)
  • .25lb Honey Malt
  • 1lb Corn Sugar
  • .25lb lactose
  • .25lb Flaked Oats – in hindsight we may omit this ingredient in the future.


  • .5oz Magnum (9.9%AU) – 60 mins
  • 1oz Cascade (5.7%AU) – 5 mins
  • 4oz Huell Melon (9.5%AU) – 0 mins
  • 4oz Huell Melon (9.5%AU) – 7 days [Dry Hop]
  • 1oz Cascade (5.7%AU) – 14 days [Dry Hop]

the finished beer next to the tap handleOther

  • 1/2 vanilla bean at flame out – remove when racking to secondary
  • 2-3lbs organic strawberries – cleaned and topped; cooked to 140ºF before adding to secondary


  • 1 packet Imperial Organic “A04 Barbarian”


  • OG: 1070


  • Mash-in all grains using 7.9qts of water at 153ºF and hold for 60 minutes.
  • Sparge using 15.3qts of water at 157ºF.
  • Collect ~4 gallons of wort.
  • Bring collected wort to a boil and add hops at specified times listed above.
  • Add corn sugar and lactose with 15 minutes left in the boil process.
  • Add the 1/2 vanilla bean at the flame out.
  • Cool to approximately 68ºF, pitch the yeast, and store in dark space at ale fermenting temperatures.
  • After 1 week, rack to secondary container and then add the cooked strawberry mixture to the secondary fermenter.
  • Also add the Huell Melon hops using the amount listed above.
  • After 5 more days, add the Cascade hops using the amount listed above.
  • Two weeks after brew day, transfer the beer to bottles or keg, and enjoy a few days or weeks later depending on which you chose.

This recipe has been published online at:

Published by Rick Scully

Rick is a craft brewer, shepherd, gardener, photographer, writer, tech nerd, web developer, and all around good guy.