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Old 07-02-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
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Default Adding Fruit to Wheat Beer Kit

I recently bought a Fruit Wheat Beer Kit from Adventures in Homebrewing. My plan was to add fresh strawberries that I have cleaned, cut and froze to the beer once it is done fermenting.

My question is, the kit came with a bottle of strawberry extract and I was wondering if I would need to add any of this at bottling and if I did would it just make the beer sweeter? I've also heard that just adding the strawberries sometimes gives the beer a sour taste so would the extract help take that sour/tart taste away? Or would I just be better off just sticking with the fresh strawberries and leaving the extract out? I have between 5 and 6 lbs of strawberries btw.

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:26 PM   #2
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Many brewers have had disappointing results with strawberries. Randy Mosher remarks about that in Radical Brewing. That said, I haven't tried them myself (yet) so it's worth a shot. If you don't pasteurize your strawberries, you will introduce an infection to your beer that will make it sour if you're lucky, awful if you're not. Freezing does not sanitize the fruit. If pasteurizing causes the fruit's pectin to set and cause your beer to be hazy, you can use pectic enzyme (available at your HBS) to clear it up. The extract shouldn't have any sugar in it so won't make your beer sweeter. Taste your beer when you're ready to bottle and see if you need to add some or all of the extract to help the honest-to-God strawberries out.

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Old 07-02-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
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Also: adding fruit to an already fermented beer will start a new fermentation since the fruit has sugars for the yeast to eat. You'll have to wait for this secondary fermentation to stop before bottling.

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Old 07-02-2012, 09:49 PM   #4
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Thanks Captain. I was aware of fermentation starting again once I added the strawberries. I actually read it can be quite active and to add a blow off tube for the first 24 hours or so.

As for pasteurizing, I've read that I could heat the berries to 160 degrees and cook them for 15-20 minutes and then place them in the freezer to cool them to room temp before adding them to my secondary. Would this work?

As for pasteurizing allowing the fruit's pectin to set causing the beer to be hazy, I'm not overly concerned with that since it's a wheat beer so it will be hazy reagardless.

I was hoping not to have to use any extract so I will probably just taste a sample before bottling to see how much berry flavor came from the fruit. I have also read that heating the fruit breaks down the fruit allowing more flavors to come out so maybe this will keep me from having to add any extract.

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Old 07-02-2012, 10:50 PM   #5
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Just bringing the strawberries up to 160 would work. No need to cook them.

You could also rinse them in Star San, Sani Clean or a 1:3 white vinegar to water wash.

Better question since you're doing a wheat; what yeast will you use? If you're going with the Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan, I suggest underpitching and fermenting warm (mid - upper 70s). This will give you esters (banana characteristic) that will complement any strawberry flavor that you'll get.

If you over-pitch 3068 or ferment cool, you'll get phenols (clove).

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Old 07-03-2012, 12:28 AM   #6
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The kit came with Wyeast 1010 American Wheat. Fermenting around 72 degrees right now...

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Old 07-03-2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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Quote:
You could also rinse them in Star San, Sani Clean or a 1:3 white vinegar to water wash.
Sorry, I just don't feel I can get behind this as a method of effectively sanitizing your fruit. Organic deposits need to be cleaned off, not just rinsed. And the surface of fruit is just to complex IMO. When we clean our carboys (etc) we use the alkaline+oxygen+surfactant combination of OxyClean or PBW to clean, then kill whatever is left with StarSan or Iodophor (etc). Biggestmuff, do you have experience successfully rinsing your fruit that way?
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Old 07-03-2012, 04:50 PM   #8
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I agree. Not planning on rinsing the fruit with sanitizer.

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Old 07-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Damage View Post
Sorry, I just don't feel I can get behind this as a method of effectively sanitizing your fruit. Organic deposits need to be cleaned off, not just rinsed. And the surface of fruit is just to complex IMO. When we clean our carboys (etc) we use the alkaline+oxygen+surfactant combination of OxyClean or PBW to clean, then kill whatever is left with StarSan or Iodophor (etc). Biggestmuff, do you have experience successfully rinsing your fruit that way?

Cleaning debris from the fruit is a given. The discussion was about pasturization and sanitation.

Yes, I have sanitized fruit with the vinegar/water rinse. Makes them last longer when you buy a large quantity and you don't want to freeze them.
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Old 07-03-2012, 10:14 PM   #10
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Strawberries are terrible. I made a strawberry wheat with real strawberries because i felt the extract was cheating. Kind of like pumpkin ale without pumpkin. Yeah well, I don't think that any longer. First note, blend or puree the berries. I used the heating method you describe, but they were still far to pulpy. Some of this pulp will sink, suspend, and float in your secondary and make it a royle pain to rack. I used nylon hop bags as filters on my racking cane and it still clogged. I had to flat out replace my bottling wand. The seeds get into everything.

I used a pound for a 3 gallon batch. It left the wheat beer dry with a very subtle strawberry hint at the very end. Secondary fermentation was very active and required a blow off tube.

I wish you luck. I will never use actually strawberries ever again. Too much of a hassle. Especially when the 4 oz you have in your left hand will give the beer a better flavor without the work.

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