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Old 07-21-2011, 04:24 PM   #1
jrobidoux
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Default Adventures in Fruit: Strawberries!!

Let me preface this by saying that I am very new to homebrewing, but that my beers have been coming along, and in order to keep SWMBO on board, I will be dabbling quite a lot in the fruit department. Also, at the moment I am entirely an extract/steeped grain brewer, and also brew 2-3 gallon batches which I split up into gallon jugs in order to increase my rate of experimentaion in my small NYC apartment.

Also, in my research here I have noticed that the threads tend to trail off before the end product is reached, which can be frustrating, so I was thinking I would follow through with some of my experimentations here.

Now then, Strawberries!!

On Saturday I brewed the following, thinking it might turn out a pretty standard wheat type beer for my fruit experiments.

2# Briess Wheat DME
.5# 20L Crystal steeped
.3# 40L Crystal steeped
.2# 60L Crystal steeped

.2 Ounces Cascade pellets 60 min
.1 Ounces Cascade pellets 30 min
.2 Ounces Cascade pellets 10 min

-Did a full wort boil of 2 gallons
-Tastybrew calculator says this will come out as a "Dunkelweizen"

Anyway brewed that up, left it in primary until airlock stopped bubbling, about four days.

To the fruit. I have read at least a dozen different ways on here about how best to introduce fruit into your brew. For the most part all seem to agree that adding to secondary is best. Well all my 1 gallon jugs are occupied at the moment so I figured, what the hell, I would just add the fruit right to the primary. It is also frequently said that the bagged frozen fruit can be thawed and added as is, but I am nervous that the sanitation level of this method is suspect, so I opted for the puree'ing and pasturizing of the fruit method, which is often discussed as well.

-Puree'd 1.5 pounds frozen strawberries (from whole foods)
-Pasturized the puree. Heated it up to 180 degrees, let it sit for 15 minutes, then stuck it in freezer a few times till it got down to 75-80 degrees.

This is where things got interesting, having never attempted this before. Using my sanitzed funnel I poured the puree straight into the primary, and stuck on my airlock, no problem. In probably less than five minutes air lock is bubbling away again steadily, sweet! Twenty minutes in, a real thick krausen/foam begins to form atop the beer, awesome. Thirty minutes in I realize that said foam is not going to stop anytime soon and is forming more and more rapidly. I though I had plenty of room left over for this possibility in my glass jug, but I was mistaken, rigged up a blowoff tube. Jug blew krausen off for a few hours quite steadily, and then died down. This morning re-fit an airlock on the thing and it is bubbling away nicely now, and krausen has subsided. Only problem with all of this I realize now is that I think a fair amount of my strawberry puree blew off, so now I am at somewhat of a loss as what to do next.

I can either leave it and bottle is as is when I think it is ready, or add smaller amounts of strawberry moving forward, until I think I reach the level of strawberry flavor I was originally looking for. I am actually not too confident strawberries are the best fruit for this sort of thing, and am worried it will just make the beer tart (I will be trying apricots next) but SWMBO said strawberries, so strawberries it is.

If you have made it through all this and have any thoughts, I would love the hear them! But either way I will be updating, all the way up to the point that I actually taste the stuff! Whoo hoo. Good or bad, I will let homebrewtalk.com know how it turns out.

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Old 07-21-2011, 06:13 PM   #2
wolfman_48442
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I'm about where you are in terms of learning about fruit additions - I just racked 5 gallons of a Maris Otter/Willamette SMaSH onto 5 pounds of sliced frozen strawberries this past weekend for my first fruit batch.

Things I did differently from you: (whether they're good or bad remains to be seen)
- I did not puree or pasteurize anything.
- I racked onto the berries while they were still frozen, beer was at 38 degrees from cold crashing.
- The berries are in a sanitized 5 gallon paint strainer bag so I don't get seeds and bits of stuff in my glass.

The rack onto the frozen berries looks like it got everything going nice and slow, no pink explosions or anything like that. (yet) Of course, I have MUCH less yeast in the bucket than if doing this in primary.
Now to be patient and wait for two weeks!

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