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ouits 07-19-2012 03:26 PM

Critique my fruit additions!
First off, I've been lurking here a few months and am amazed by all the great info & advice around here. :mug:

About a week ago I brewed up a 5gal partial mash american wheat recipe. In my effort to understand flavors, I want to split it up 5 ways and add different fruit to each 1gal batch for secondary... Here is the plan in my head:

1gal "Control" batch with no additions.
1gal with ~1lb fresh Raspberry
1gal with ~1lb fresh Strawberry
1gal with ~1lb fresh Blueberry
1gal with ~1lb fresh Cucumber

Some questions:
-I'm thinking 1lb might be a little too much, based on what some other people have said and tried. Would anybody recommend dialing it back to .75lb? I'm also sure different fruit will flavor differently at the same weight, so that's something to consider. Maybe 1lb of cuke but only .6lb of raspberry. Might just wing it here as a first timer and keep notes, then adjust... but I'd appreciate some advice.
-I'm thinking puree (or otherwise mush up, finely chop the cuke) the fruit, add to .5cup water and hold it at ~160* for 20 minutes, then add to secondary, then rack on top. Is this sanitation step completely necessary for secondary ferm? Do I really need to mash up the fruit? What about concerns with seeds? Do I need to filter before I bottle?
-I'll let sit on secondary for 7-10 days... thoughts here?
-Should I rig up all these on blowoff tubes, or is airlock fine?

Sorry for all the questions but thanks for advice!

KISS Brew 07-19-2012 03:31 PM

This is an awesome idea. You have to report back upon tasting!

The only fruit I have experience with is strawberry, where 1lb is definitely not too much for 1 gallon. I used a slightly higher ratio and got an excellent, but not overpowering strawberry flavor in a recent wheat beer.

For the others, you might consider Jamil's opinion.


Originally Posted by Jamil, from Brewing Classic Styles
A good starting point is about 0.5lb of fruit puree per gallon, whether you are using a mild fruit in a mild beer or a bold fruit in a bold beer. If you are adding a milder fruit to a bold beer, using 2 to 4 times the amount of fruit is not unreasonable. If you are using a bold fruit in a mild beer, you might cut the amount of fruit in half.

I think the rest of your process is fine. Blowoff is probably not necessary, but it can't hurt if your containers are exceptionally full.

ouits 07-19-2012 04:53 PM

Thanks! I'll definitely report back. I want to keep doing this in the future with other ideas by brewing up 5gal of something fairly neutral then racking it onto different additions for secondary. Fruit + Wheat seemed like a good place to start things off.

I'll be using 1gal carboys for each so the space may be pretty tight...

ouits 07-21-2012 02:27 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Well I did the deed last night. Little worried that the original 5gal batch tasted sour when I sampled it before splitting it up, but it had been only 8 days in primary so hopefully it's just real green and not infected. Ended up using 1lb each for 1gal. Came down this morning and my strawberry had blown the airlock off, blueberry and cucumber were pretty damn close to blowing up too. I think I filled the carboys a little too much. Raspberry was goin good though. I drained some off those 3 and cleaned/refit the airlocks. I'll keep an eye on it today.

Curtis2010 07-21-2012 03:00 PM

For future reference you might look at mead brewing techniques for using fruits. One thing that seems to be common in brewing meads is to freeze and then thaw the fruit, sometimes multiple times, the help break down the cell walls and release more juice.

CadillacAndy 07-21-2012 03:57 PM

Excellent advice about freezing and thawing fresh fruit. Plus you can buy it in bulk when its in season and leave it frozen for months.

ouits 07-21-2012 04:03 PM

I only recently learned about the freeze - thaw - crush method with fresh fruit. I will definitely give that a shot next time. I think I'll take the best beer out of these 4 and make a full 5gal of it using the freeze method.

kingwood-kid 07-21-2012 08:17 PM

Strawberries are weak. Raspberries are strong. I have no beer-related experience with bluberries or cucumbers. Blackberries and cherries are both great. I am so in favor of the freeze and thaw method that I buy frozen fruit and let it thaw in the beer.

ouits 07-21-2012 08:36 PM


Originally Posted by kingwood-kid (Post 4269103)
Strawberries are weak. Raspberries are strong. I have no beer-related experience with bluberries or cucumbers.

That's what I'm hoping to find out! :)

Any tips for bottling? I'm trying to think of a way to put a small screen or filter around my racking cane so I don't get seeds in the bottles and so that my tubing doesn't clog up.

CadillacAndy 07-21-2012 08:43 PM

I just started using gelatin to clear my beer and drop everything to the bottom. I've only used it on 1 fruit beer, but it made everything sink right to the bottom, then I just racked from a little above the fruit and layer of trub and yeast. Crystal clear beer for about fifteen cents.

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