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Old 03-28-2013, 08:59 PM   #1
JProulx
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Default Adding Fruit to Beer

I've seen people adding fruit flavour extracts and fresh/frozen/pureed fruit to beer. I'm interested in making a raspberry wheat beer, but I have a few questions about the process.

Ideally, I'd like a beer that is fruit forward. I would like fewer subtle notes and more raspberry smacks to the face. These are the demands of SWMBO. The fruit flavour should ideally be "real", not artificial. This means extract is out.

So questions about adding real fruit or fruit puree...

  1. How can I sanitize the fruit or puree to prevent bugs? I would imagine cooking the fruit would work, but change its flavour. Is it just not a worry with adding fruit?
  2. When should I add the fruit? Primary? Rack onto it? During boil/at flameout?
  3. If I add the fruit, won't the yeast start working on it and ferment the fruit sugars? This would seriously change the character of the fruit flavour. Is there a way to prevent that, or is just not a concern?
  4. If I have to kill the yeast to stop the fruit from fermenting, how would I carbonate the bottles at the end?

Thanks everybody!
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Old 03-28-2013, 09:05 PM   #2
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I did a very mild brown ale, about 15-20 IBUs, fermented out in primary, then racked onto the contents of 6 12oz bags of frozen raspberries from Trader Joes. Secondary for 10 days or so, bottled with priming sugar and about 3/4 lb lactose. It is a lightly tart, intensely berry flavored beer -- almost a wine in flavor. It's really held up beautifully over several months.

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Old 03-28-2013, 10:20 PM   #3
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Did the fruit not get fermented in secondary? I would guess that would cause the "wine" flavour, right?

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Old 03-28-2013, 10:23 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JProulx View Post
I've seen people adding fruit flavour extracts and fresh/frozen/pureed fruit to beer. I'm interested in making a raspberry wheat beer, but I have a few questions about the process.

Ideally, I'd like a beer that is fruit forward. I would like fewer subtle notes and more raspberry smacks to the face. These are the demands of SWMBO. The fruit flavour should ideally be "real", not artificial. This means extract is out.

So questions about adding real fruit or fruit puree...
  1. How can I sanitize the fruit or puree to prevent bugs? I would imagine cooking the fruit would work, but change its flavour. Is it just not a worry with adding fruit?
  2. When should I add the fruit? Primary? Rack onto it? During boil/at flameout?
  3. If I add the fruit, won't the yeast start working on it and ferment the fruit sugars? This would seriously change the character of the fruit flavour. Is there a way to prevent that, or is just not a concern?
  4. If I have to kill the yeast to stop the fruit from fermenting, how would I carbonate the bottles at the end?

Thanks everybody!
good question. I'm interested in hearing feedback as well
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:37 AM   #5
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The sugars in the fruit do ferment out, but it doesn't contribute any weirdness -- and probably not that much gravity, either, considering there's probably much less than a lb of sugar in six lb of fruit.

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Old 03-29-2013, 12:38 AM   #6
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Just keep in mind that you won't get any sweetness from the fruit (hence my lactose addition). But at least you won't get any bombs.

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Old 03-29-2013, 01:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ong
Just keep in mind that you won't get any sweetness from the fruit (hence my lactose addition). But at least you won't get any bombs.
I did an imperial stout on raspberries and at last tasting it was very very raspberry. I did 1 pound per gallon. If you are doing a light profiled beer I would use less. Maybe even half of the 1:1 ratio I used.

Use frozen fruit and rack to a secondary on top of it. The freezing process essentially sanitizes the fruit and bursts the cell walls to allow the good flavors to come through.
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Old 03-29-2013, 04:00 PM   #8
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I recently did a carambola blonde. I used about 6.5 lbs of fruit for a 5 gal batch. Usually a lb of fruit per gallon is average. For a more fruit forward beer add more.

I added my fruit during secondary fermentation. My thinking being that chances of infection are minimized because the alcohol is already there and makes it a somewhat hostile environment for nasties to thrive. That said, I still don't take any chances. I soaked/rinsed the starfruit in vodka. Then I cut up and de-seeded them. Next I put them in the blender. It has a food chop setting where it mashes them up pretty good but still leaves a few chunks. I put the fruit in a ziploc bag, evacuated the air and put it in the freezer for a few days.

The night before I take out the fruit to let it thaw, place it in a paint strainer in the fermenter and then rack the beer on top of it. Let it sit for about 10 days and you're set to bottle/keg. When I rack the beer I also make sure to tranfer a little of the yeast cake to make sure there are a few yeasties left to ferment the fruit addition.

The first time I tried fruit in beer, I did strawberries. I tried to pasturize them by heating them up and it definitely changed the flavor so I did it like this and it turned out really well.

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Old 03-29-2013, 06:10 PM   #9
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I just did a 2gal batch of a blueberry red ale. 1.5lb of blueberrys and mix with a cup of sugar... Made a syrup on the stove.....added it at 60 min.....

Bottled the beer last night. Took a good swig. A nice, light, blueberry aftertaste. I'm guessing when it carbs, ages, and gets cold, it will be pretty awesome.

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Old 03-29-2013, 06:24 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the posts, everybody! Frozen fruit seems to be the answer, and don't worry about the fermentation.

I'll probably have a couple of bad batches while I figure out the proportions. I'll post a recipe to critique when I get around to it (I've still got two batches of ingredients to get through first)

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