Session Beer Day Recipe Bonanza - 14+ Recipes For You To Brew

drew's picture

Inspired by Lew Bryson's appearance in Episode 9 of the podcast, we decided if we were going to talk session beers and promote the idea of session beers, then maybe we oughta give you some recipes. So we reached out to a bunch of folks, both known and not so known, and asked "hey, give us your favorite Session Beer recipe!"

Remember the rules of this particular game - a session beer is anything under 4.5% ABV and we got some traditional takes and not so traditional takes on the idea waiting for you here. And don't forget - if you're reading this as we publish, there's no reason you can't be pouring one of these fine beverages for your celebration of Session Beer Day - April 7th! (Every year in celebration of the return of low alcohol beer following the "interesting" times of American Prohibition). Heck, if it's April 1st, you can probably pull it off too! Don't believe me - read this article. Reading after Session Beer Day? Well, what's stopping you from enjoying a session beer anytime? So what say you brewers? Are you going to embrace the Session Beer? Have you already embraced the session beer? What's your favorite session beer or session beer recipe? Comment below! Oh and there are still a few contributors who may come trickling in, so we plan to update the article with new recipes as they arrive!


Drew Beechum

You knew there was going to have to be a recipe from me here in the mix! For this article, I chose my Pale Oat Mild. Does such a creature exist historically? Not a clue, but this is a tasty beer full of toasty British malt goodness and a rich body courtesy of the oats. It's like the best oatmeal cookie you never knew you needed. In fact, an addition of spices wouldn't be amiss - I've done a variation of this with curry (Curried Oat Mild in Experimental Homebrewing.) and goosed up version with raisins, rum and spices. What's the AK mean? Well, a lot of things apparently. In the past some have said "ahh, that was a pale mild", others have insisted no such thing existed... well, if it didn't, now it has. And it's good! Additionally, because I'm a Saison guy and people seem to get confused if I don't mention the style, I've included my Table Saison in the mix as a beautifully quick session beer with some character! This is also really handy to make to grow up your yeast for bigger Saison projects. You'll also notice that the malt bill is decidedly more complex than normal, but that's because I'm trying to build something to hang that final hop character and yeast boldness off of without adding gravity and thus alcohol.

Ok, not an actual pic of the Oat Malt Mild, but this is a session ale from MacLeod Ale Company that is an appearance ringer

Oat Malt AK Mild

For 5.5 gallons at 1.038 OG, 9 IBUs, 6.7 SRM, 3.9% ABV 68% efficiency

Malt Bill

6.0 lbs Maris Otter 2.0 lbs Thomas Fawcett Malted Oats 0.6 lbs Simpsons Medium Crystal

Mash Schedule

Rest at 152-154F for 60 minutes

Hops

0.125 oz Target 11%AA 60 minutes 0.25 oz Challenger 6.5%AA 30 minutes

Yeast

WY1275 Thames Valley or WLP022 Essex Ale

This is actually the infamous Clam Chowdah Saison, but the appearance is very close

Saison de Table

For 5.5 gallons at 1.037 OG, 1.005 FG, 23 IBUs, 4.4SRM, 4.2%ABV, 70% efficiency, 90 minute boil

Malt

5.50 lbs German Pilsner 1.00 lbs Weyermann Munich 0.75 lbs Flaked Oats 0.50 lbs Caravienne Malt

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion Rest - 150F for 60 minutes

Hops

0.5 oz Magnum 11.4%AA for 60 minutes 0.5 oz Saaz 4.0%AA for 0 minutes (whirlpool and substitute your favorite hop here)

Yeast

Your favorite Saison strain. Wyeast 3711 will give additional body, Wyeast 3724 / White Labs 565 will give you classic Saison flavors. Read more here


Chris Colby

Chris Colby is one of the minds behind BeerAndWineJournal.com. He and James Spencer (later in this piece) drop regular updates about the important things about beer and wine making. Chris is the former editor of Brew Your Own and the author of the soon to be published Home Brew Recipe Bible. This is his take on Murphy's Stout, a classic stout.

"This is a dry stout reminiscent of Murphy’s Pub Draught. This is a great session beer, or good beer to make if you are counting Calories. In my opinion, it tastes better when carbonated with CO2, as opposed to pushed with beer gas. But it’s up to you whether to carbonate or nitrogenate it. "

See, now I feel inadequate because he even has it in the right glass!

The Cure from Cork

For 5 gallons at 1.038 OG, 1.007 FG, 34 IBUs, 32 SRM, 4.1% ABV, 70% Efficiency, 90 minute boil

Malt Bill

5.25 lbs English pale ale malt 0.75 lbs cane sugar 2.0 oz dark crystal malt (90 °L) 3.0 oz. chocolate malt 10 oz. roasted barley (500 °L)

Water Profile

100 ppm calcium (Ca+2) 20 ppm magnesium (Mg+2) 240 ppm carbonate (HCO3–)

Mash Schedule

Rest 150F for 60 minutes Mashout at 168F

Hops

0.9 oz. Target 10%AA 60 minutes

Yeast

White Labs WLP007 (Dry English Ale) yeast

Extras

0.50 tsp. gypsum (boil. optional) 0.50 tsp. calcium chloride (boil. optional) 0.25 tsp. yeast nutrients 4 oz. corn sugar (to prime bottles for 2.0 volumes of CO2)

Procedure

Make yeast starter 2 days before brewing. Crush the dark grains separately from pale malt., but combine them all in the mash. (You will likely need to tighten the mill gap a bit for the smaller dark grains.) Mash grains at 150 °F in 7.8 quarts of brewing liquor for 60 minutes. Mash out to 168 °F. Recirculate wort, then begin running off. Sparge until the specific gravity of the runnings drop below 1.008 (or the pH rises above 5.8) or until runnings taste exceedingly astringent. This will most likely be around the 4.0-gallon mark. Add water to make a pre-boil volume of 6.5 gallons. Bring wort to a boil and add half a teaspoon of gypsum and half a teaspoon of calcium chloride. (This assumes your original calcium level was 100 ppm or lower.) Boil wort hard for 90 minutes, adding hops for the final 60 minutes. Stir in sugar and yeast nutrients for final 15 minutes of the boil. Cool wort and rack to fermenter. Aerate well, pitch yeast, and ferment at 70 °F. Keg or bottle condition. [You can keg this and push with nitrogen if you like, but I think it tastes better with “normal” (CO2) bubbles.]


Denny Conn

As rare and unknowable as American Mild, it's Dennyfoot ("photo" courtesy of Ken Harvey-AKA Wort-H.O.G on the AHA Forum

This is Denny's American Mild - a work in progress he says. Let's see where it goes and yes, that 165F mash rest is for real. I double checked. Denny says he achieved the same attenuation as when he mashed in at 152F! Next variant will apparently include some oats.

American Mild v3

For 5.5 gallons at 1.035 OG, 36.4 IBUs, 11.3 SRM, 3.5% ABV, 60 minute boil, 73% Efficiency,

Malt Bill

4.0 lbs Great Western Munich Malt

2.0 lbs Domestic 2 Row

1.0 lbs Crystal 60L (American)

1.0 lbs Cara-Pils

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion - 165F 60 minutes

Hops (Pellets)

0.25 oz Magnum 12.4%AA 60 minutes

0.50 oz Cascade 8.4%AA 10 minutes

0.50 oz Chinook 12.1%AA 10 minutes

0.50 oz Columbus 17.5%AA 5 minutes

1.00 oz Cascade 8.4%AA 0 minutes

1.00 oz Simcoe 15.4%AA 0 minutes

Yeast

Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favorite

Water Profile

Amber Balanced Profile

76 Calcium (ppm)

7 Magnesium (ppm)

11 Sodium (ppm)

76 Sulfate (ppm)

63 Chloride (ppm)

90 Bicarbonate (ppm)


Dana Cordes

Dana loves homebrewing so much that despite being a busy family man and highfalutin technical type that he's a member of two homebrew clubs - The Maltose Falcons (go team me!) and TOaked Homebrewers. He's even the co-webmaster for the Falcons and chief web dude and co-education officer for TOaked. With all that work, you know you need a good quaffable beer to keep going. Here's Dana's spin on a slightly stronger Dark English Mild called "Proper 1420". It was inspired by Ward Walkup's winning mild from the 2016 Doug King Memorial Competition. Oh and just to prove that even for the hard working, the world isn't perfect a report from Dana:

Brew day disaster! Lost about a gallon cause my whirlpool valve was open.

Do you know how hard it is to take a selfie while mashing in by yourself?

Proper 1420

For 11 gallons at 1.050 OG (12.3P), 17.2 IBUs, 23.5 SRM, 4.2% ABV, 60 minute boil, 77% efficiency

Malt Bill

14.25 lb Maris Otter

1.5 lb Brown Malt (British)

1.5 lb Simpsons Pale Chocolate

1.25 lb Crystal 50L (British)

0.75 lb Special B (Belgian)

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion - 158F for 60 minutes

Hops

3.0 oz East Kent Goldings Pellets 5.0%AA First Wort Hop

Yeast

Wyeast 1968 London ESB

Extras

1 tablet Whirlfloc, 15 minutes in boil


Greg Etzel

One of the hosts of the "Come and Brew It" Podcast out of Texas Brewing Inc. in Fort Worth, TX. Greg is also the President of the Cap and Hare Homebrew Club and is providing us with his Session IPA which they also sell as a kit at the shop. And because everything is bigger in Texas, Greg provided us with a second recipe for a classic English inspired Session Ale called Johnnie's English.

Ok, not everything is bigger in Texas, but it's still big in flavor! (High Noon)

High Noon Session IPA

For 5 gallons at 1.047OG, 1.012FG, 25 IBUs, 4.6% ABV

Malt Bill

8 lbs. Avangard Pale Ale

1 lb. Flaked Wheat

6 oz. Briess Caramel 10L 

6 oz. Briess Caramel 40L

6 oz. Avangard Light Munich

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion Mash at 152°F for 60 minutes.

Hops (Pellets)

0.5 oz. Mosaic 60 minutes

0.5 oz. Mosaic 10 minutes

1 oz. Mosaic 5 minutes

1 oz. Mosaic Dry Hop for 3 days

Yeast

Wyeast 1056/Safale US-05

Johnnie’s English Ale

For 5 gallons at 1.044 OG, 1.010 FG, 24 IBUs, 4.5% ABV

Malt Bill

7.2 lbs. Muntons Pale Ale

4 oz. Briess Caramel 120L

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion Mash 152°F for 60 minutes.

Hops

1 oz. UK Challenger 60 minutes

1 oz. East Kent Golding 0 minutes

Yeast

Wyeast 1028 / S-04


Brandon Jones

Brandon is the chief wrangler of one of the great sour beer sites out there, EmbraceTheFunk.com. He's also the overseer of Yazoo Brewing's sour beer program to keep things funky in Nashville. Brandon is also one of our featured All-Stars in the forthcoming Homebrew All-Stars. Celebrate the book by brewing this great spin on a Berliner. (Kettle souring will produce it super quick, if less complex) Mmm... funkyPhoto appears courtesy of Quarto Books aka the publisher of Homebrew All-Stars

The Funky Path Berliner Weiss

“There are two options for brewing this recipe: natural sour development in the fermenter or kettle sour/boil. I would recommend the natural sour method of pitching your bacteria and yeast into the fermenter to constantly develop. Kettle souring is a slightly more advanced technique where a brewer will keep the wort in the boil kettle at 95 to 100°F overnight with a pitch of Lacto. When the desired sourness is achieved—usually within 24 hours—the wort is brought back up to a boil for 15 minutes to kill off the Lacto. This allows the brewer to use his or her normal equipment including the ‘soft equipment’ I mentioned earlier without the risk of clean side contamination. Again, I recommend the natural sour development method"

For 5.5 Gallons at 1.030 OG, 0 IBU, 3.1% ABV, 0–15 minute boil

Malt Bill

4.0 lbs Pilsner Malt

2.5 lbs White Wheat Malt

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion Rest @ 150F for 60 minutes

Hops

None

Yeast

Lactobacillus: WY5335 Lactobacillus / WLP67 Lactobacillus delbrueckii

Yeast: WY1007 German Ale / WLP036 Dusseldorf Alt / Fermentis Safale US-05

Brettanomyces: WY5526 Brettanomyces lambicus / WLP653 Brettanomyces lambicus

Notes

Do not oxygenate the wort. I would advise against putting 95°F wort into a glass carboy; a bucket or “PET style” carboy is safer. Pitch the Lacto culture ONLY into the wort, and let the bacteria work overnight. If you have a pH meter or strips, try to target 3.5 pH before moving on to the next step. Once the wort has soured, cool to 70°F using an ice bath and pitch the ale yeast. When the high krausen begins to fall, you can optionally pitch the Brettanomyces. Let the beer ferment in primary for one month, then carbonate to three volumes.

Variants

Add tropical aroma hops, such as Citra, to dry hop. Add tart cherry juice and lime peel. Try using orange liqueur-soaked oak chips.


John Palmer

So we got this scrub, virtual unknown by the name of John Palmer asking if he could contribute to the Session Beer Day list. Ok, really, you know who John is. Author of the modern homebrew tome - How to Brew. (Or try out the free version.) He's also the co-host of Brew Strong on the Brewing Network. Like many of our experienced brew masters, John has a good longing for a simple lager and so he gives us his born in east LA version of a lager.

Born in East LA, if by East LA, you mean the foothills of the La Crescenta area. Also, sweet glass

East LA Lager

For 5 gallons at 1.042 OG, 1.010 FG, 30 IBUs, 13 SRM, 4.1%ABV, 75% efficiency

Malt Bill

6.50 lbs Briess Gold Pils Vienna malt

1.00 lbs Wheat Malt

0.25 lbs Acidulated Malt

0.50 lbs Victory Malt

0.50 lbs Crystal 40L Malt

0.50 lbs Aromatic Malt

Mash Schedule

Single temp infusion at 149F (65C) for 1 hour.

Hops

0.5 oz Amarillo at 60 minutes

0.5 oz Amarillo at 15 minutes

0.5 oz Amarillo at knockout

Yeast

White Labs Mexican Lager Pitch at 50-52F (10-11C), Diacetyl rest on day 4 at 57-59F (14-15C).

Water Profile

Using 10 gallons distilled water, add 5g Gypsum, 5g Calcium Chloride, 2g Epsom Salt, 2g Baking Soda. Gives: 82 Ca, 5 Mg, 31 Alk, 80 SO4, 102 Cl, 14 Na, -31 RA.


Ron Pattinson

If you haven't read Ron's blog - Shut Up About Barclay Perkins - you're missing out on a treasure trove of great information about historical brewing. Also, you're missing out on the reason why I have to preface every story I tell about beer as precisely that - "a story". Ron is one of a handful of beer writers doing the hard work of hitting the libraries and brewer's archives to dig out truth from beery legend. Ron gave us a historical table beer recipe that is historically accurate. You can find more recipes like this in Ron's The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer: Rediscovered Recipes for Classic Brews Dating from 1800 to 1965 and his several self-published books covering Mild, Bitter and more (avaialble at his site). To give you an idea of Ron's thoughts on the whole session beer thing:

A proper session beer recipe, as it's under 4% ABV.

Ron always finds these great images of beer mats, so it'd be a shame not to include one!

1851 William Younger T Table Beer

For 5.0 gallons at 1.037 OG, 1.013 FG, 55 IBUs, 4 SRM, 3.18% ABV, 90 minute boil, 65% efficiency

Malt

8.5 lbs Pale Malt (Maris Otter)

Hops

1.5 oz Goldings 75 minutes

1.0 oz Goldings 50 minutes

1.0 oz Goldings 20 minutes

Mash Schedule

Mash at 153º F Sparge at 184º F

Yeast

Wyeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Notes

pitching temp 58º F


Marshall Schott

Our comrade in beer "citizen science" over at Brulosophy.com and the guy who keeps us honest in the stats. Since everything's an experiment to Marshall, it should be no surprise that even his favorite "session" beer has a learning component built in! (And for the record it's a no sparge recipe - read Marshall's full writeup for more details)

Marshall's Testing Grounds

Hop Test Bitter

For 5.0 gallons at 1.044 OG, 25-40 IBUs, 11.6 SRM, 4.2%ABV, 60 minute boil

Malt

7.0 lbs Maris Otter

1.0 lbs Crystal 60L

8.0 oz Victory Malt

4.0 oz Crystal 120L

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion 152F for 60 minutes

Hops

~8 IBU HOP OF CHOICE – First Wort Hop (FWH)

15.00 g Willamette – Boil 20.0 min

15.00 g HOP OF CHOICE – Boil 10.0 min

21.00 g HOP OF CHOICE – Boil 5.0 min

21.00 g HOP OF CHOICE – Flameout w/ 10 min steep

Yeast

WLP002 – English Ale Yeast

Notes

- No sparge batch

- mash with all your water.

- Chill to 64°F prior to pitching yeast starter

- Ferment at 66°F for 3-4 days then allow to free rise up to 72° over the next week

- Cold crash for 24+ hours after FG is stable (10-14 days)


James Spencer

James is one of the co-hosts of Basic Brewing, which is a long running, super informative radio and video series. He also works with Chris Colby on Beer and Wine Journal. James went Belgian with his choice and went for a seemingly impossible malt schedule with 60% malted wheat and 40% malted rye - a lauter nightmare! But take it from the man below what happens when you make a rye wit like this:

"Here is a very low gravity, but tasty, recipe that pretty much requires Brew in a Bag because of the grain bill. It only uses malted wheat and malted rye. The rye gives the beer substantial mouthfeel, even though it’s low in alcohol."

Rye Wit - Photo from http://beerandwinejournal.com/

Rye Wit

For 5.0 gallons at 1.028 OG, 1.008 FG, 2.6% ABV

Malt

3 lbs Malted Wheat

2 lbs Malted Rye

Mash Schedule

Single infusion mash 150F for 60 minutes

Hops

0.5 oz East Kent Goldings 5.7%AA for 60 min.

2.0 oz Nelson Sauvin (11.7% AA) - Flameout (Or your favorite flavor and/or aroma hop)

Yeast

Safale US 05

Notes

Dry hop in keg if desired.


Michael Tonsmiere

What can you say about Mike aka OldSock aka the Mad Fermentationist aka the author of American Sour Beers except that's a man who like to play on the funky side. But yet, what ho is this? When asked for a session beer did he give us something with weird and wild critters - nope, it's a session IPA with a malt bill leaning heavily on toasty Vienna malt and a no sparge mash schedule for more body. All the better for dealing with the bulk of late hop additions! Read Mike's writeup on the recipe for more details and his thoughts about session beers in general. All I can think is how dangerously close that is to being a spilled beer

Session Vienna "IPA"

For 5.25 gallons at 1.038 OG, 1.010 FG, 37.5 IBUs, 5.6 SRM, 3.8% ABV, 60 minute boil, 54% Efficiency

Malt

7.25 lbs German Vienna Malt

2.25 lbs American Pale Malt

0.50 lbs. CaraVienna

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion Mash 153F for 40 minutes

Water Profile

Profile: Washington DC cut 50% with distilled, plus 2 g CaCl and 1 g gypsum

Hops

0.50 oz Simcoe 11.00%AA 15 minutes

0.25 oz Columbus 11.00%AA 15 minutes

0.75 oz Amarillo 10.00%AA 10 minutes

0.75 oz Simcoe 11.00%AA 5 minutes

1.00 oz Amarillo 10.00%AA Hop Stand for 25 minutes

1.00 oz Columbus 11.00%AA Hop Stand for 25 minutes

1.00 oz Simcoe 11.00%AA Hop Stand for 25 minutes

0.50 oz. Amarillo 10.00%AA Start of Chill

0.50 oz. Columbus 11.00%AA Start of Chill

0.50 oz. Simcoe 11.00%AA Start of Chill

1.25 oz. Amarillo (Whole), 11.00% AA Dry Hop 1

.25 oz. Columbus (Whole), 11.00%AA Dry Hop

1.25 oz. Simcoe (Whole) 14.00%AA Dry Hop

Additions

0.5 Whirlfloc Tablet 12 minutes boil

0.4 tsp Yeast Nutrient 12 minutes boil

Yeast

White Labs WLP037 Yorkshire Square Ale

Notes

No Sparge. Chilled to 68 F, strained, and pitched the .75L stir-plate starter. Left at 64 F ambient to ferment. Dry hopped in the keg.


Mark Van Ditta

Mark is a man of deep and mysterious knowledge who's been dropping little nuggets of sciencey wisdom here for a little while. We're always learning some new things from the man and it's doing a lot to inform our experiments! This is his American take on an English Bitter with a classic old school American hop profile. Incidentally, go read some of Ron's work (see above) to learn just how extensively American hops were used in the British brewing industry back in the day! Some people go to the beach for vacations, Mark goes to Siebel Also note Mark specifies his BUGU ratio (basically IBUs divided by OG) to pinpoint a level of bitterness that he uses when he scales the basic recipe up or down .

Anglo-American Bitter

For 5.5 gallons at 1.044OG, 1.011FG, 30.3 IBUs, 4.3% ABV, 0.69 BU:GU

Malt Bill (assumes an extraction rate of 30 points per pound per gallon):

7.5 lbs Thomas Fawcett Pearl

8.0 oz Briess Torrified Wheat

1.5 oz Thomas Fawcett Pale Chocolate

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion Mash at 154F

Hops

1.0 oz Whole Cone Cluster 7.3% AA (60 minute boil)

0.5 oz Whole Cone Cascade 5.6% AA (last 10 minutes of the boil)

1.5 oz Whole Cone Cascade 5.6% AA (20 minute hop stand at 160F)

Yeast

Whitbread “B” (a.k.a. Wyeast 1098, White Labs WLP007, or Fermentis S-04)

Notes

- An extraction rate of 30 points per pound per gallon translates to a brewhouse efficiency of approximately 83%.

- A grist that is composed of approximately 92% British pale, 7% torrified wheat, and 1% pale chocolate that is scaled to one’s brewhouse efficiency will effectively reproduce the extract portion of this recipe.

- I have brewed this recipe at 1.044 and 1.052 while maintaining the grist percentages and BU:GU ratio. It scales very well with respect to gravity.

Tags: 

rtc
rtc's picture
Typo

Drew-You accidentally a letter in the title "Bonaza"

drew
drew's picture
Of course I did

Of course I did

homebrewny
Favorite session beer.....

.......for this time of year (Session day April 7th) would have to be a Grodziskie that I make every year for Dyngus Day (March 28th). In a nutshell, I find it uniquely refreshing coming in at 3.2% ABV.

Thank you for the great podcast and sharing these great recipes.

roddog
Dilution

In the podcast about this topic, it was stated that this is a great style to brew stronger and then dilute. I've been working on calculating Schott's recipe into a 6.5 gallon batch of @ 1.072 (which I've brewed before on my system) to dilute down to 2 carboys of 1.044. Now my question is about the IBU dilution. In Beersmith, I've done the stronger 6.5g recipe but am worried that the hopping rate may not be correct. For the formulation, should I calculate it as a 10g batch and then just not put enough H20 in, if I calculate, say 31 IBU's for a 6.5g batch and then dilute to 10g, is it OK? My intuition (thanks for the hint on the Q&A show to use our ganglia, see I'm doing it!), says no way, I need to also change the IBU's to dilute (chem minor is kicking back in after all these years).

drew
drew's picture
My gut reaction is if you

My gut reaction is if you need to hop it like the 10g version only more so to deal with the decreased isomerization efficiency. But you know, let me check and get back to you.

roddog
I think I figured it out.

I think the best way for this is to make a new equipment profile in beersmith for a 10g batch but put in 4g in the Fermenter Top Up Water and it does all the corrections for you. This way the final recipe is for 10g, but I'm just brewing 6g of it. In looking around about this on the internet, it seems that many (most?) of the commercial beer is brewed and then diluted, perhaps even post fermentation. Do you know of any additional things we should be careful when performing these kinds of maneuvers?

drew
drew's picture
Diluting

Good idea on configuring BeerSmith - that's a good thought.

On the commercial beer angle - I will say diluting at packaging is a common practice for the macro brewers. It allows them to extend their capacity and they already know how to keep the yeast happy and avoid off-flavors. It's not so common in the craft beer world because of the risk and the general anathema towards blending anything other than sour/wild ales.

Biggest things to worry about when diluting are oxidation and sanitation. I highly suggest pre-boiling water and dropping it into a keg with co2 on it to cool down. You want to make sure the water is free of critters and the CO2 will help avoid O2 pickup. (The boil has the effect of driving off dissolved oxygen). I know Tasty over at the BN will dilute his beers with water that he's already carbonated, but if you're diluting before carbonation, I don't think you need to worry about it. That strikes me as a convenience step.