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Poppy360 07-26-2007 10:16 PM

Fruit Beer - Steep or Rack onto Fruit?
I'm going to be brewing a lower alc. American Wheat to which I'm going to add either raspberries or cherries. The fruit will be in the form of frozen fruit. I've found that the two popular methods for making a fruit beer are:

1. After boil, add fruit to wort and steep for 15-20 min. Then cool and put in fermentor.

2. Rack the wheat onto the fruit in secondary and allow about 2 weeks.

Is either method better than the other? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?

Any and all comments appreciated!:mug:

Here's the recipe for the beer. Any comments on it?

My American Wheat

Batch Size - 5.5gal

OG - 1.049
FG - 1.012

ABV - 4.9% (This will probably be higher due to the addition of the fruit and its sugars)

5# Wheat DME
1# Crystal 20L (steeping)
1# Honey
1 oz Hallertauer (60min boil)

Cooper's Dry Ale Yeast

I'm thinking around 5# of fruit.

5gBrewer 07-27-2007 12:19 PM

Personally I'd go with racking on top of the pasturized fruit after primary fermentation. I started experimenting with fruit additions as subtle flavors about 2 months ago. I've made a blueberry wheat, and 2 Apricot Honey IPAs. In fact, the second Apricot IPA is still in secondary, and is going on 2 months sitting on the pasturized pitted apricots.

Everyone who has had either the blueberry wheat or the apricot IPA has loved both, and commented on the aroma and flavors as being fantastic. Most ppl wouldn't have even known what was giving the beers their great aroma and flavor unless I told them; that is the benefit of adding a subtle quantity. Especially with all the avid fruit beer haters out there, this makes it possible to fool 'em into liking it!

All-in-all, there are certain flavor/aroma characteristics of fruits that lend to wonderful additions to a wide variety of base beers.

Good Luck!


david_42 07-27-2007 01:39 PM

With ciders and melomels, I put the fruit in the secondary. I really don't know if it makes much, if any, difference. I just figure the alcohol from the first ferment reduces the possibility of wild yeasts or bacteria.

Sounds like time to split a batch and do some research.

5gBrewer 07-27-2007 02:16 PM


If the fruit is added during primary, the yeasts react differently to developing the fruit and beer flavors/aromas. If the fruit is added for a secondary, the yeast will have spent the majority of their efforts creating excellent beer for a base (in primary) for the fruit to be added later (to secondary). The beer/alcohol will then be infused with the fruit flavors and aromas while a much smaller second fermentation takes place (breaking down the fruit sugars).

I don't think there is a right and wrong way to do this. It all depends on personal preference, fruit quantity/quality/variety, and time.

My second Apricot IPA will have been on the fruit in secondary for two months (one month longer than the first Apricot IPA I made). This was mainly due to time constraints, but ended up turning into an experiment for me as a brewer.


Poppy360 07-27-2007 03:19 PM


Originally Posted by david_42
Sounds like time to split a batch and do some research.

That's EXACTLY what I was thinking. :)

I ended up steeping the fruit in the wort for 20 min betw. 166F and 169F.

Twelve hours later.....

Violent fermentation with krausen getting up into the blow-off tube. I usually use an airlock but with all that I've read about the big fermentations of wheat (especially with fruit!) I went with a blow-off tube. Thank goodness!

I've never had such a violent fermentation...very cool!:ban:

BTW- OG was 1.054. Should make about a 5.5% ABV beer.

Brewer#19 07-27-2007 04:39 PM

i too am planning on doing a fruit beer, actually i'm going to make it tomorrow so this is a interesting topic. i'm making a cherry ale using 8 lbs of cherries. now i'm very new to homebrewing, less than a year, but here is how i understand it:

at which step one adds the fruit to the wort will determine the level of fruitness in the beer. if it is added during first stage it will be more subtle where as if it is added during the second stage, it will be more prevelant in the beer. i was informed for a truely fruity beer one could add fruit extract/flavors into the bottling bucket which would essentially mix with the beer rather than become one with the beer. i'm sure this is a basic understanding at best.

the other thing i'm learning now is the consequnces of adding fruit to the beer in the first stage fermentation. luckly i was informed this before hand otherwise i would have had a mess on my hands. the fruit, specifically the sugars, will cause what i was described as excessive fermentation resulting in overflow through the airlock which drives the need to have a blow off in place of the airlock which diverts the mess into a controlled location.

to the fine details of my plans for my batch. it was recommend to me to essentially make my wort as planned minus the cherries. in the mean time, add the crushed cherries to the 1st stage bucket, pour a gallon or two of boiling water over the cherries, and then add the wort to that, rather than steeping the fruit in the wort. i'll have to report back after i do this and let everyone know how it turns out.

goldengrl 07-29-2007 01:54 AM

Its so funny. I'm a new member so I'm not used to checking here first but I just put a batch of cherries in in the snow in the ferm. today. I wishI would have checked here first. I might have went to fruit in the secondary instead. I really wanted to try a beer with a decent amount of fruit. Not an obsence amount but still maybe more than I'll get. I also put this beer on a yeast cake of one that I just transfered to the secondary. We'll see what happens.;)

BierMuncher 07-29-2007 02:14 AM


Originally Posted by goldengrl
Its so funny. I'm a new member so I'm not used to checking here first...

That's okay goldengrl...you'll get to the point where you always check in here first before putting a beer at risk.

goldengrl 07-29-2007 03:16 PM

So I checked it today and I was glad I did a blow off tube. There was a ton of foam in the pitcher I had. So my question is : I really want to have a nice cherry taste to this brew. Do you guys think that I should add a can of cherry puree when I transfer to the secondary?

Yooper 07-29-2007 03:52 PM

I'd taste it before decided on adding anything else. It might be fine the way it is- or it might be way too subtle. Then you can decide.

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