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Old 02-01-2013, 03:18 PM   #1
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Default Fruit Beers: Do they Have the Seeds of their Own Destruction?

Has anyone ever made a good fruit beer?

I've made a few before, in particular, blueberry wheat beers. I am going to give it another shot. Unlike last time, I am going to puree the blueberries, pitch it into the carboy and rack on top in the secondary. The last time I made it, I added it with 5 - 10 minutes left in the boil. (In a 5 gallon batch, I used about 5 lbs of blueberries).

It turned out okay colorwise: had a nice purple color to it. However, it tasted like a cross between a wine and a beer.

It seems to me this is what you get when you add fruit to a beer: you add fermentables from the fruit, which when fermented produces a wine like flavor. In my judgment, this taste doesn't go well with beer.

That having been said, do fruit beers have within themselves the seeds of their own destruction? Has anyone made a good fruit beer? If so, what and more importantly, how did you do it?

Thanks everyone!



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Old 02-01-2013, 04:18 PM   #2
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I agree. I've found that to make beer that has fresh fruit flavor you can't use fresh fruit. Beers that have a really fruity taste such as Sam Adams Cherry Wheat are typically made using flavor extracts at bottling time.



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Old 02-01-2013, 04:43 PM   #3
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I've made 2 fruit beers in the past and both turned out pretty damn good. My first was an Imperial Blonde kit that I added 5 pounds of frozen whole strawberries that I cut in half after 2 weeks of fermentation. Had a nice mellow strawberry flavor but still tasted like beer.

The second I did was a simple wheat beer in which I added about 5 pounds of fresh mulberries that I had picked previously and then frozen. This beer did come out tasting more like a wine cooler though because the wheat beer did not have much of a flavor to begin with.

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:06 PM   #4
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I have made a few fruit beers all using fresh fruit and I too am convinced to get a solid fruit flavor you have to create some form of extract or purchase an extract.

Fresh fruit beers tend to fade in flavor quicker than you would expect, at least when using strawberrys. I have yet to use blueberries, but II know blackberries hold their flavor very well in a Porter. I would think Blueberries are like strawberries in the idea that the flavor is a much more delicate one so you would have to pitch a lot more than you think is necessary to get a solid flavoring out of them and it would fade in relativley short time.

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:10 PM   #5
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" Castoreum

Listed among the other "natural and artificial flavors" in food, castoreum is an extract of a beaver's anal glands. If you try to imagine the taste of beaver-butt, you're likely envision a number of different odd flavors. But, apparently, beaver-butt tastes remarkably like raspberry. In fact, it's the most common "natural flavor" used in raspberry cakes and candies. Yum."

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norsk View Post
" Castoreum

Listed among the other "natural and artificial flavors" in food, castoreum is an extract of a beaver's anal glands. If you try to imagine the taste of beaver-butt, you're likely envision a number of different odd flavors. But, apparently, beaver-butt tastes remarkably like raspberry. In fact, it's the most common "natural flavor" used in raspberry cakes and candies. Yum."
Things I didn't need to know
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiphops View Post
I am going to puree the blueberries, pitch it into the carboy and rack on top in the secondary. The last time I made it, I added it with 5 - 10 minutes left in the boil. (In a 5 gallon batch, I used about 5 lbs of blueberries).
When I add fruit, I almost always add it to secondary. I think this is key to getting fresh fruit (rather than cooked fruit) flavors and aromas, so I think your on the right track.

Another thing I'd recommend is more blueberries. Blueberries have a pretty delicate flavor, so I'd double that and go with 10 lbs. You could even go as high as 15 pounds per 5 gallons. If it still doesn't have the character you're after, consider supplementing with extract at bottling time. I'd also coarsely crush them rather than puree them. I think it allows for more surface contact with the beer compared to a layer of sludge at the bottom. Plus it's a little easier to filter chunks of fruit than sludge.

FWIW, I've had the most success with watermelon. It's cheap compared to most other fruits and the flavor goes great in a wheat beer. Fruit beers can be hit and miss though. My most recent experiments where pineapple wheat and peach/apricot wheat. The pineapple was a little too subtle for my tastes, but the beer still turned out ok. The peach and apricot picked up an odd bitter flavor, I believe because I left the skins on...so it ended up just being kind of weird.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microbusbrewery View Post
The peach and apricot picked up an odd bitter flavor, I believe because I left the skins on...so it ended up just being kind of weird.
Always skin fruits like peaches, apples, pears etc. for future reference.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:19 PM   #9
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I've made this recipe a couple times and have been thrilled with the results:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f75/strawberry-alarm-clock-v3-0-strawberry-blonde-132129/

I just had a couple last night that have been bottled for a couple months. The beer still tastes like fresh strawberry preserves and smells like it too. Flavor has been strong, consistent and has not faded at all over time.

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Old 02-01-2013, 06:43 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
Always skin fruits like peaches, apples, pears etc. for future reference.
Yeah, the only reason I left them on was I was talking to the guys at High West Distillery about their peach vodka (excellent by the way). They just cut the peaches in half and toss them in with the vodka to age. They were saying the skins added a bitterness that balanced out the sweetness of the peaches, so I figured I'd give it a try. It does add a bitterness, but like I said it's weird and doesn't go well with the beer.


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