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Old 09-28-2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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Default Anybody used dried fruit?

I have a bunch of extra dried cherries and was wondering if anybody's used dried fruits in brewing. Raisins I guess come to mind first, but there's apricots, figs, dates, and some others.

I guess the annoying thing is that any dried fruit will soak up a LOT of your beer. But besides this, I'm curious about any other downsides. Do dried fruits have less flavor than fresh? Or just different? Surely during the drying process the fruits are losing something to the moisture that evaporates away. Maybe the flavors that are water soluable are lost in this process. But the other concentrated flavors that are left behind might contribute something different. Thoughts?

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Old 09-28-2009, 01:36 PM   #2
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I have a fig wine recipe (which I haven't made yet) that calls for rehydrating the dried fruit in hot water, then iirc, pureeing it all, the forcing the fruit and "liquor" through a strainer with the back of a spoon, and fermenting that liquid...you might consider trying something like that.

Rehydrating, creating a "liquor" out of the combination of water and fruit, and adding that liquid to your beer.

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Old 10-02-2009, 03:19 PM   #3
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Made a wonderful quad a few weeks back when our HBC did an "Iron Brewer" competition where the secret ingredient was dried fruit. We used cherries and raisins in the boil, and soaked the cherries in vodka through primary and secondary and added the mixture at kegging. The results are really nice.

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Old 10-02-2009, 06:28 PM   #4
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I like the idea of an "iron brewer" concept. were all of the ingredients predetermined? that is an amazing idea

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Old 10-02-2009, 07:20 PM   #5
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Yea, there was a table with some standard ingredients for each team when we got there. We got to see those right away, and they were pretty diverse. At a specified time, the "secret ingredient" was unveiled and we had half an hour to come up with a recipe. The ingredient, dried fruit, had to feature prominently in the final brew. We then had four hours to get to flameout. We could use whatever yeast we wanted and make additions in the secondary, etc, as long as they were from the supplied ingredients and were declared before we left. We then got together a few months later and the brews were judged by some BJCP certified members of the HBC.

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Old 10-02-2009, 07:21 PM   #6
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This is the Boston Wort Processors, I guess I should mention that.

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Old 10-21-2009, 06:57 PM   #7
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I brewed a Christmas Saison this summer that used 3 lbs. of mixed dried fruit in the primary, which included raisins, apricots and prunes.

Before adding to the primary, I first chopped the fruits up, then covered them with boiling water, put a lid over, and let cool to room temperature. Chopping was to disperse the flavor more, as well as let the yeast get in there. Covering with boiling water was to rehydrate and sterilize.

The resulting beer is surprisingly tart/sour, and a lot like a Rodenbach.

The fruit was a complete pain during racking and bottling, it stuck up everything, and also soaked up a lot of my precious beer.

What I would do differently next time would be the following. Add the dried fruit to a grain bag before covering with boiling water and adding to the primary, which I would ring out when removing. Or, if not concerned about pectin haze in the finished beer, add the rehydrated fruit to the boil sometime during the last 30 minutes, and would use a strainer to remove the fruit from the work when racking to primary.

Also when using dried fruits, be sure to read the label on the package. Many contain oils and other additives to keep them fresh and from sticking together.

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Old 09-20-2012, 04:23 PM   #8
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I have made an Apricot Wheat Beer with Smoked Malt that used dried apricots. I like the advice above to puree the stuff. I rehydrated the apricots in water a good long while, and brought them to a boil. I still lost a lot more wort than I expected. Doing it again, I'd take Revvy's advice. (From what I've noticed, taking revvy's advice tends to be a good thing around these parts.)

Dried fruit will often come with sulfites. These just need to be left in the secondary a long time, like 30-45 days, to clear off that rotten egg smell. Wait until it doesn't stink before bottling. Once the rotten egg smell is past, it will taste really fruity and delicious in the bottle.

I recommend smoked malt with fruit beers, by the way. It was a great way to get a complementary flavor to the fruit without relying on hops or a funky yeast. Smoked malt with a clean ale yeast pairs well with apricots, anyway. I imagine cherries and cranberries and whatnot would also be fantastic. (Dried papaya or tropical fruit blends, perhaps not.)

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Old 08-08-2013, 03:25 PM   #9
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I used dried apricots, chopped them small, and brought them to pasteurizing temperature. I cooked them down and also added in 2 cups of ginger ale, a pound of honey, and a slice of fresh ginger. Cooled it and racked onto it. I keep walking past it as its in a closed closet, and man does it ever smell gooood!

Note: the dried apricots had sulphites, so I added the honey to keep the yeast active and happy

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Old 08-18-2013, 07:19 AM   #10
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Just took a couple samples off for, er, um, gravity readings- ok ok I know I only needed one...its better than any of my other brews hands down....without carbonation yet. I might be in trouble....

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