Adding Lychee to my beer

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KyleWolf

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Hey everyone.

So I made a lemongrass wheat beer with the initial intention of adding pomegranate for the SWMBO, but we ultimately decided to wait and see how the beer turned out. It has a dry rock mineral quality along with a soapy aftertaste (results of not hitting my fermentation temps most likely). So to fix this, I asked her if she did want a fruit added, what would it be? And lychee was her answer. I know I can find the juice/concentrate/syrup at the oriental market in town. I plan on adding it straight to the keg, perhaps along with some potassium sorbate to make sure I don't get another fermentation (even at 4C and 13PSI).

I am just looking to see if anyone has used lychee, and if so how much did you use? If nobody has used it before I am willing to go on opinions and thoughts, as I apparently, have none.

Looking forward to your thoughts. Thank you in advance.
Kyle
 

GilaMinumBeer

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Lychee is a really subtle, soft flavor. I really wouldn't expect anything to come through a fermentation.

At best, you could target a really dry beer and use as neutral a yeast as you can get (I have no suggestions) and then backsweeten for some of the nuances of Lychee.

However, just about any ale yeast you use is likely to throw off enough character that the Lychee would be lost or require so much backsweetening the beer would become cloying.

Your best bet, I think, would be a backsweetened lager.
 
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KyleWolf

KyleWolf

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Thanks for the input. I don't think it will kick up into another fermentation because not only is it at 4C, it is also under 13PSI and I plan on adding Potassium Sorbate to stop any further fermentation.

But if you think it would take too much to shine through, well I will guess I will tell the SWMBO, and let her think of another idea.
 

GilaMinumBeer

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By all means, try it. I very well could be wrong. Taste is highly subjective. While I am extremely familiar with Lychee I just don't see it as bringing much unless it is on it's own.
 
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KyleWolf

KyleWolf

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I gotcha. well, hopefully I can talk her into something else. Maybe peach...But if not, I will let you know how it goes.
 
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KyleWolf

KyleWolf

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So I thought I would experiment and do this. I took 3 cans of lychees and juice + blender, heated it all up to 160 for over 15min and strained with a hop bag. I added the juice straight to the keg with 1.5-1.75tsp of potassium sorbate (it will kill off the yeast and stop fermentation of the juice). Ended up adding approx. 1.3qts of lychee juice to the keg.
It is still early to tell, but preliminary tastes are promising.

The funky nose from the yeast I used (Wyeast 3638) is still there, but the taste....completely neutralized.
the early beer was very...astringent, reminding me of granite/limestone and that is completely gone, as is a majority of the soapy quality. There is now a slightly sweet, but not cloying (though I think I could have gotten away with using less) fruit taste that reminds me of pear puree, which lychee reminds me of pear to begin with so... Also, with the good news, the lemongrass is not gone from the taste, there is a nice blend of the lemongrass and lychee in the flavor.
 

malagabeer

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It is possible to use potassium sorbate in beer??? I know it is ok for wine but i am not sure about beer...
 

malagabeer

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Do you guys have a source that states the use of potassium sorbate in beers?
 
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KyleWolf

KyleWolf

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There is no reason why potassium sorbate can not be used in beer. It is virtually non-toxic and unless you are using very...unique, yeast strains, yeast will be unable to grow.

If you have infections consisting of very specific strains, then they can continue to grow by breaking down the sorbate. However, for the general purpose that I am using it, it is fine.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest this wouldn't work in beer...It works in breads, wines, meads, ciders, even dried meats. So there is actually every reason to think it would work. They also sell potassium sorbate as a beer additive on homebrew sites.

For a page supplementing this info, I give you wiki. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_sorbate

I can say that as of now it has worked. Now just remember, this does not kill yeast. It simply prevents them from multiplying. To truly take the yeast out, you need sulfides. My beer will theoretically eventually ferment this juice out. But, under 13 PSI, 4 degrees Celsius, and 2.5-3 vol carbonation, the fermentation will be very, very slow.
 

malagabeer

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Thank you for your prompt reply KyleWolf,

I know that potassium sorbate does not kill the yeast it just stops reproducing it, Thats why if you want to backsweeten the wine it has to be add once the fermentation has finished.

I am not saying that your theory is wrong I am just saying that after reading a good quantity of brewing books I have never seen the use of it in beer.

Have you ever seen or used potassium sorbate GilaMinumBeer??
 

wonderbread23

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I brewed a super light lychee wheat beer that had less than optimal results (was targeting a > 4% session beer). The lychee aroma is fantastic, but the flavor is almost non-existent and overwhelmed by the wheatiness / graininess / dryness of the recipe I used (mainly pilsner with a good chunk of wheat). I used about (6) cans of drained fruit in secondary for about a month....next time I'm going to double this amount. My mistake was using very little crystal and mashing low in the recipe so I ended up with a very dry beer. I think the sweetness of a light crystal malt would have helped pull through the perception of the fruit. Additionally, next time I'm gonna hit it with a little lactic acid at the end of fermentation to accentuate the fruit. You're gonna have to use a butt-load of fruit for it to really sing.
 

944play

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The lychee aroma is fantastic, but the flavor is almost non-existent
+1. Last year, I split a batch of a lighter IPA and added 2 cans of lychees to half in a carboy and dry-hopped the other half with Crystal hops. The base beer wasn't very good, but the lychee aroma was very pretty when I dumped the last of it three weeks ago.
 

robtotten

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Why add the potassium sorbate? As long as it's in your kegerator (chilled), it's not going to ferment.
 
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KyleWolf

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even at chilled the yeast can still ferment, although, very, very slowly. The primary reason I added the potassium sorbate was because this beer was for the GF, who doesn't live with me. So I end up bottling about 12 bottles at a time and I doubt they are always in her fridge, so I wanted to minimize the chance of the juice fermenting in the bottle.

To wonderbread23 and 944play. I could see where only adding the fruit itself wouldn't add much flavor. They really are a very mild fruit. For me, there is tons of flavor and actually only mild aroma (the 3638 yeast I used really puts out the phenols). But that is because I didn't do a secondary and rack onto the fruit. I actually pureed the lychees and then added that back to the juice from the can. I then pasteurized and filtered through a hop bag. After that I just added juice straight to the keg to taste.
 
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KyleWolf

KyleWolf

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Thank you for your prompt reply KyleWolf,

I know that potassium sorbate does not kill the yeast it just stops reproducing it, Thats why if you want to backsweeten the wine it has to be add once the fermentation has finished.

I am not saying that your theory is wrong I am just saying that after reading a good quantity of brewing books I have never seen the use of it in beer.

Have you ever seen or used potassium sorbate GilaMinumBeer??
Sorry, I think I misread/misunderstood. You are right though, potassium sorbate is hardly used, if ever, in beer. I imagine because carbonation was desired, so they never wanted to add it in. Though I do wonder about beers like Utopia, which is served flat from what I understand. They most likely filter, but the curiosity remains.
 

dougdecinces

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I'm brewing several batches of lambic that I plan on blending and was thinking of doing a small portion of it (2-3 gallons) with lychee. I know posters have had sub-optimal results with regular lychee ales, but I'm thinking the acid might make the flavors pop. What does everyone think?
 
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