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Old 02-19-2010, 07:01 AM   #1
Layla
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Default a question for the fruit beer brewers

I'm trying to make the ultimate fruit ale. I've done lots of reading and have found that it seems most people who do fruit beers feel if you put the fruit in the fermentation that the yeast eats up too much of its essence. I've thought about adding to the secondary and I did do that with some fruit but hubby came home from the store with some tart cherry concentrate.

My question is this, if I'm making a 5% abv ale. And I wait for fermentation to settle down to 1.012. If I added 12oz tart cherry concentrate to the secondary, this adds 190 grams sugar into a 1 gallon. Will this lower or raise the alcohol percentage? Because I'm adding 12 oz of fluid, but also adding 6.8 oz of sugar.

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Old 02-19-2010, 03:41 PM   #2
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Adding sugar, in the presence of yeast, will always trigger fermentation which = alcohol. Which = losing the essence you described.

A fruit flavor without sweetness is not very appetizing. From the home brewing aspect, Fruit beer should be using low attenuation % yeasts (ability to eat sugars), with grains that have unfermentable sugars in them(caramelized crystal malts) leaving a sweet taste to the beer, and light additions of hops with low bittering % which will unbalance and sweeten the profile. So that sweetness will be present with your fruit flavorings in the finished beer.

A way around this is to chemically kill and filter out the yeast, add fruit flavors and sweetening, and use a Co2 Charge to condition. I believe that is the direction of commercial breweries. This would work best with what your attempting in your post.

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Old 02-19-2010, 08:38 PM   #3
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In this case, you're adding more alcohol content from the sugar than water content.

if you prepared the concentrate (i.e. 3 cans cold water to 1 can concentrate, like frozen OJ cans), then you could very likely dilute the potential alcohol back down to a net gain of zero or possibly even a loss in alcohol, just depends how much fermentable sugar is in the concentrate.

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Old 02-19-2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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The addition of 12 oz of concentrate with 160g of sugar to a 1 gallon 5%ABV batch will most likely raise your %ABV a bit rather than decrease it. Probably not enough to worry about. A program like Beersmith will allow you to make that calculation pretty easily. Unfortunately, I'm at work otherwise I'd do it for you.

I disagree that you need a sweet beer as a base for a fruit beer though. Taste is relative. What tastes great to me might be horribly fruity to you. I've had many dry and fruity beers that tasted great. I've also had fruit beers that were so sweet they tasted like fruit syrup. For me it all comes down to balance. I would hesitate before adding all 12 oz of fruit concentrate to my beer. I'd probably do a little experiment first. Take 2 ounces of your beer and add the concentrate a drop at a time (Keeping track of your drops) until you can smell it in the beer. Then taste it. Judge for yourself whether it tastes right or needs more, then do the calculations for the appropriate addition to your total volume of beer. Even then only add 3/4 of your calculated target, mix and taste. You can always add more, but it is very difficult to take it out once added.

Wait a couple of days for the fermentation to stop and bottle/keg as usual.

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Old 03-05-2010, 02:54 AM   #5
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ugh edited because I can't write

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