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Old 09-21-2009, 03:54 AM   #1
jon
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Default when to add fruit to beer for best results

I am looking at making some fruit beers, primarily cherry, but possibly also apricot, and some others.

I have been wondering how the final product differs when you:

1. add the fruit directly to the boil (towards the end)
2. add the fruit into the primary fermentation post boil
3. add the fruit after racking from the primary fermentation


I have so far only made an apricot ale using apricot extract many, many moons ago. now that I have more money and time, I want to try it using the real stuff. I was in berlin last may and had a cherry beer, neuzeller kirsch, that was pretty tasty, and want to come up with something comparable. I like stuff like the new glarus cherry lambic, but it is pretty intense and you can't drink a lot of it at a time without being overwhelmed (seems best for desert with chocolate cake). The neuzeller kirsch was much nicer for an everyday, anytime kind of beer.


any insights and experience with how adding the fruit at different times affects outcomes, especially in terms of the intensity of the fruit flavor, would be greatly appreciated.

thanks,
jon

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:11 AM   #2
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I think it depends on the type of fruit flavor you are going for... If you add it at the end of the boil, it could possibly caramelize some sugars and partially cook the fruit, changing the flavor. Also, any volatile oils/aromas in the fruit could be driven off (although, sometimes, it's the only way to extract oils!).

I'm not sure about in the primary. I would assume you would do this if you wanted the fruit to stay truer to its original character. In that case...

Adding it to the secondary I think would do the best job at accomplishing that feat. I think Randy Mosher says to add a little acid to enhance the flavor of fruit in (almost all types of) beers. I've also read that acid can kill yeast, although I have had no problem yet.

Another thought, adding it to the secondary (as opposed to the primary) would mean alcohol has already been produced and will help ward off infection if fruit is questionable. I usually freeze fruit first anyway - slows down critters and sometimes causes fruit cells to burst, releasing goodness.

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Old 09-21-2009, 12:31 PM   #3
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This is a generally heated point of discussion, so a search will turn up a LOT of info for you. Basically, anyone will tell you that their method works (which most do), and is the best.

With that being said, with fruit i freeze, thaw, and dump right into secondary, then incorporate a tertiary to subsequently clear.

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Old 09-21-2009, 01:04 PM   #4
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I have always had the best results putting it in the pirmary, all the yeast activity really helps physically and chemically break down the fruit to get the most out of it.

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Old 09-21-2009, 01:19 PM   #5
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I've done cherries in primary and I think the flavors get scrubbed too much. I was just left with a very faint aftertaste of cherries. Next time I get around to cherries I will rack onto the cherries in secondary hoping for a bigger flavor punch.

-OCD

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Old 09-22-2009, 03:47 PM   #6
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I did 1/2 can of Oregon Rasberry puree in the 2ndary.
Been a month friday, Still has a tart aftertaste. So i am going to add some corn sugar soon.

I had a huckelberry beer tho, Was told " i know he wouldnt lie " he put 4oz of huckleberrys right into the keg when he moved it from the secondary. Waited a week and wow...Damn good beer.. Get just a little hint of the berrys...Not overpowering at all. Still leaves the beer taste and then u get a little berry flavor at the end.

So there is a option to. Thats the great thing about making beer, IT wants to be beer.....What it tastes like...well...That is the question!!!

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Old 09-22-2009, 05:33 PM   #7
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I have had best results with adding fruit to my secondary, and racking the beer onto it.

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Old 09-22-2009, 06:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arkador View Post
I have had best results with adding fruit to my secondary, and racking the beer onto it.
have you tried both?

I am thinking the only way to find out is going to be to try both options with the same beer.
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