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Old 06-18-2012, 03:23 AM   #1
coolharry
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Default Adding strawberries to NB american wheat. Hows this look?

Going to brew Northern Brewers American Wheat this week and wanted to add some strawberries to it. It will be my 5th batch overall and first with fruit.

I was planning on adding 5 lbs of frozen strawberries at flame-out, letting it sit for about 10 minutes, then finish cooling and transfer all of it to primary. I'm gonna skip secondary and go straight from there to bottling after two weeks or so as long as FG is hit. Simplified description i know, but does this sound like a good plan?

Also, should I thaw the berries or toss them in still frozen? I'd assume frozen would help me cool the wort a bit, but might keep them from reaching the proper temp to sanitize them fully.

thanks in advance for the help!

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Old 06-18-2012, 03:44 AM   #2
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I would transfer to secondary and then add the fruit. You will lose all the flavor and aroma if you add them before fermentation.

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Old 06-18-2012, 01:30 PM   #3
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I agree with urbanmyth. I have made strawberry ale the past three years and my method is to freeze fresh strawberries, then thaw them, then puree with a little vodka, add to secondary and rack the beer on top. Let it sit in secondary for a week before bottling or kegging.

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Old 06-19-2012, 10:59 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. What's the reason everyone prefers to add fruit in secondary vs at flame out? Doesn't the sugar in the fruit ferment out regardless of when it's added? Or does racking off the yeast cake not leave enough yeast in suspension to ferment all the newly added sugars?
I picked up the flame out process from the kiwit recipe in extreme brewing and figured I'd give it a shot that way since it was different than what seemed to be the norm of adding in secondary.

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Old 06-20-2012, 06:15 AM   #5
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It's not the sugars so much as the flavor/aroma compounds. The vigorous ferment will blow these off, whereas a more gentle secondary ferment will retain them.

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Old 06-20-2012, 07:44 AM   #6
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I've made several strawberry wheat beers, using frozen strawberries, cooked and pureed fresh berries, strawberry flavoring, and by combining frozen strawberries with flavoring. I always add the strawberries after primary fermentation is complete because the strawberry flavor would be driven off by the vigorous fermentation. Different people have tried these beers and everyone's favorite was when I added frozen strawberries to secondary with 2 oz of flavoring for 5 gallons at the time of bottling. I always use 1 lb of strawberries per gallon. I use the frozen strawberries straight out of the bag, with no boiling, steeping, or anything else to sanitize. I keep them in the bag, let them thaw, mash them up with a rolling pin, pull open the bag and dump them in. Adding strawberries has always started up fermentation again, so I make sure there's enough head space. I find that using only strawberries, or using only 1 lb of strawberries per gallon, leaves a very subtle taste. People that have tried it taste something, but can't quite figure it out. Artificial flavoring tastes, well, artificial. But combining the two has given me the best results. I've been meaning to try another strawberry wheat beer by adding more than 1lb/gallon of strawberries and using no artificial flavoring, I just haven't gotten around to it. Also, I find these beers needed more time to condition in the bottle. There was a period of a few weeks where the taste was very tart, or like ripe fruit, but in time it went away and there was a nice strawberry flavor.

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Old 06-20-2012, 02:36 PM   #7
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Well I'm convinced now, haha. Secondary it is! That subtle flavor is exactly what I'm after. Thanks for your help guys! I'll update along the way.

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Old 06-20-2012, 03:11 PM   #8
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I've been researching fruit beers and the Jamil show suggests using about 2 lbs per gallon. Naturally, it depends a lot on the original beer.

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Old 07-23-2012, 10:03 PM   #9
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Just for a quick update:
Brewed the kit on June 25, first brew in the new house!
This one was a bit different for me since I had more space and newer equipment. Got to try out the new wort chiller which was awesome! And decided to siphon from the kettle to the primary to keep the break and hop material out this time since the only funnels I own are covered in oil and other car fluids. Everything went great, came out a bit low on volume; just hit the 5 gallon mark but that might just be because of the lack of break/hops which I normally just dump in. Otherwise my boil-off rate is a bit higher at the new place. OG came out a few points higher than expected (1.043 vs 1.041 from the instructions), figured it was on par with the lower volume.
Let it sit in primary a bit longer than anticipated, things always come up with a new place ya know? Gravity stable at 1.010, right on target. hydrometer samples tasted much better than i expected for such a simple bill. very pleased so far.
Racked into secondary last night about 9pm local time with 5 lbs of strawberries. Thawed the strawberries out in the fridge overnight and just dumped both bags directly into the carboy and racked the beer on top.
As of noon today there's still no activity, but about half the berries did float to the top so somethings going on.
More to come later

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Old 07-24-2012, 12:24 AM   #10
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It sounds like things are going well for you!
You don't really want any activity, you're essentially dry-hopping with strawberries, just extracting some flavor and aroma.
Activity means the yeast are eating your sugar, and flavor. You'll still get some yeast activity regardless, but less is better if you want to maximize flavor.

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