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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Fruit Cake Beer - Ideas?
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:54 AM   #1
OhioKeith
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Default Fruit Cake Beer - Ideas?

Merry Christmas everyone ... In the spirit of things I am looking for some creative ideas from the community. So, every year it has been a tradition to have Great Lakes Christmas Ale when my family gathers from the four corners of the world to meet back up in Ohio. However, each year, I (the only one back in Ohio, who is tasked with procuring the beer) fail at the task of getting the beer and am forced to either purchase random 6 packs around Columbus or rush as fast as I can to a grocery store across town so that I don't ruin Christmas.

Here is my solution. I want to create a family tradition where every year we have the same family beer that is homebrewed. This way, a) I don't have to add the extra stress of remembering to get a particular beer, and b) I think it would be a fun tradition.

What I want to do is crowd source from everyone and generate some ideas for a beer that is inspired from the fruit cake. A big difference would be that hopefully people would like to get this as a gift! The book "Radical Brewing" has a recipe but I am interested in what you think.

Here are some of my ideas:

1. Rum: I like the idea of imparting a rum taste... I'm not sure if the way to do is to use rum soaked oak chips or to add molases as a fermentable. Or simply just add a splash of rum (this seems the least appealing idea).

2. Fruit: Dates, Cherries, etc. However, I know some fruits don't really turn out that well when added to beer.

3. Spices: Cloves, nutmeg, ?

4. ABV: I think it should be high. When I think fruitcake, I always remember reading about the fruitcake that is over 40 years old and the little old lady cuts a little off each year. The rum preserves it.

I'm posting this because I am interested in doing something like this, but I would classify myself as a novice brewer who is close to intermediary. I just don't have the knowledge to put everything together yet. I really am interested in hearing what creative ideas folks might have for something like this. Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing the different ideas people have for something like this.

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Old 12-23-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
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I've been thinking the same sort of thing... Fruit cake beer... I'm leaning towards cherries, pineapple, and golden raisins... soaked in brandy or rum for a day or two and add to the primary.

Add a vanilla bean to secondary... and maybe a touch of all spice and a clove or two.

toying with the idea of walnuts too.

Rob

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Old 12-24-2012, 12:52 PM   #3
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I've read Radical Brewing and I think the Fruit Cake Old Ale would be a great recipe to try. I haven't tried it myself, but was going to attempt it sometime in the next few months. I would just give that recipe a try and omit the rum. After that you can tweak it however you want every year.

Good luck!

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Old 12-24-2012, 05:55 PM   #4
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This looks like a good recipe based on the Radical Brewing Fruitcake Old Ale...
http://hopville.com/recipe/934213

I would only caution that adding vanilla extract to the boil can be disappointing since it has a tendency to cook off, I personally prefer to add a whole bean in the secondary.


Has anyone tried this? might give you a good idea of what to work towards....
http://www.karlstrauss.com/blog/moue...fruitcake-ale/

I like the idea of aging with oak chips... might help balance the fruit/wine characteristics.

Rob

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Old 12-25-2012, 05:40 AM   #5
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Ok here is another question... what about preservatives in the dried fruit? Will they impact the health of the yeast or fermentation? I found some dried fruit that has sodium bisulfite, potassium sorbate, or sulfur dioxide... I know in the past I've had apple cider with some of these chemicals that wouldn't ferment. what is the best way to proceed?

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Old 12-25-2012, 07:37 AM   #6
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Use frozen fruit, and you won't have to worry about preservatives or sanitation. Just move it straight from freezer to secondary. All the sugar in the fruit will ferment, so you'll have to add a dose of caramel malt. A darker one like c-120 or Special B will also lend some raisiny/dried fruit notes. Spices are fine in place of late hops, just don't go too crazy, especially with the cloves. Some Victory malt will give a nutty taste. Assuming you want the heft of a traditional fruitcake, I'd add some flaked oats. I'd guess the base style would be a big Brown or a winter warmer.

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Old 12-25-2012, 01:17 PM   #7
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Since the best fruitcake in the world uses ground pecans as "flour," I'd add pecans.

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Old 12-25-2012, 06:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rengelma View Post
Ok here is another question... what about preservatives in the dried fruit? Will they impact the health of the yeast or fermentation? I found some dried fruit that has sodium bisulfite, potassium sorbate, or sulfur dioxide... I know in the past I've had apple cider with some of these chemicals that wouldn't ferment. what is the best way to proceed?
The sodium bisulfite will kill the yeast. If you go to a health food store you can find dried fruit without preservatives. It might be a little more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Also, I would transfer from primary to a secondary with the fruit, then transfer again after, 2 weeks, and add the spices. I think you get more consistent spice flavor doing it that way as opposed to putting them in at the end of the boil.

Cheers!
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Old 12-26-2012, 12:19 AM   #9
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I would def add some honey to the bill as well. Maybe towards the end of the boil and that'll boost the abv and hopefully add bit complexity! Sounds good and looking forward to hearing how it turns out!

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Old 12-26-2012, 03:27 AM   #10
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So if I add the fruit at the secondary (after a full primary fermentation), and it kills the yeast the worst case would be that the sugars from the fruit don't ferment and I force carb it in a keg.

I was leaning towards molasses over honey. Also, I think rcsoccer is right, add the spice in a "third" fermentation.

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