Fig in Beer

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dayman

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Hey all,

Was looking into a sour to make with fig. I have a fig tree in my backyard that is ripe, and I would love to use it in a brew. I've read some things online that claim fig isn't the best option for fruit because it is somewhat tasteless, but I was interested if maybe caramelizing it would bring out the taste. My only worry is, do you think it would be too sweet?
 

JohnSand

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You can estimate the sugars I think, though caramelizing may make that hard. If you don't think you can calculate the fermentability, try a small test batch. Or establish a range and start at the low end.
I have used fig in a brew, it was a Christmas ale. I used fig preserves because I could get them here reasonably. The beer was a success.
Good luck, keep us posted.
 

IslandLizard

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My only worry is, do you think it would be too sweet?
The yeast and your sour culture will devour the (simple) fruit sugars rather quickly. If you first caramelize the fruit (low and slow), they'll become less fermentable and more of their character should remain for flavor, possibly leaving hints of complex caramel sweetness. Now Brett will probably break those down too but it takes more time.

Not sure you can use/add the skins, but possibly... They can add their own goodness, and some tannins.
 

TheMadKing

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I just (like 5 minutes ago) dumped a puree of dried figs and dried black currents into my barleywine.

I rehydrated the fruit in hot water and pureed it and it came out like peanut butter so I added water until the consistency was easier to handle and then heated to 170F to pasteurize

Then I just dumped the whole mess into my conical, and I'm right at the end of primary fermentation. I plan to leave it there for a few days, cold crash, and dump before racking to a keg.

My biggest concern are the fig seeds. They are tiny and everywhere and I don't really want gritty beer. So I'm pretty much just praying that they drop out in the cold crash otherwise this beer is going to be absolutely hell to transfer through a keg poppet
 

madscientist451

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Then I just dumped the whole mess into my conical, and I'm right at the end of primary fermentation. I plan to leave it there for a few days, cold crash, and dump before racking to a keg.
A few days isn't very long to get the flavors out of the figs and currants. If you don't need the conical for another brew, it might be better to pull a sample and see if you can taste the fruit before you dump it. I would think it would take weeks or maybe months for the flavor to be extracted, not days, but I've never used figs or dried currants, so maybe a couple of days will work.
 

TheMadKing

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A few days isn't very long to get the flavors out of the figs and currants. If you don't need the conical for another brew, it might be better to pull a sample and see if you can taste the fruit before you dump it. I would think it would take weeks or maybe months for the flavor to be extracted, not days, but I've never used figs or dried currants, so maybe a couple of days will work.
Thanks! I had figured using it in pureed form would speed that up dramatically. I've used other fruit purees with just a few days contact time, but this is much more subtle flavor.

Well maybe this fermenter is tied up for a bit..
 
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dayman

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So in the past 10 days or so we’ve had Frosted Flakes, waffles, now figs.
Genuinely interested in how the frosted flakes and waffles turned out. I didn't think fig was too out there, but maybe it is, hahah.
 

Brewer dad

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I have been researching this very thing myself. There are some threads on here and Reddit which mention caramelizing them and the de glazing with wort. Link to two below. I also believe the mad fermentationist did one of his saisons with some dried fig in it.



I have a bumper crop this year so plan on messing around with a few different things myself. Not on OP topic, but I am particularly curious about results using figs that have been dehydrated, reconstituted in liqour or wine, then added to secondary.
 

Zemillard90

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I used dried figs in a BDSA. Cut them in half, caramelized in a cast iron skillet, deglazed with beer from primary and added the whole thing back to the fermenter. There is another thread somewhere on here where I heard of the technique.

Definite fig character, BDSA was a bit sweet considering the style. Am going to try again this winter in a RIS (maybe with cherries as well).

+1 on the seeds, they are a pain. I would recommend using a SS strainer when transferring to the keg. The little seeds clogged my QDs on my keg and was a hassle to mitigate.
 
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I love the idea of figs in a beer. Maybe a golden ale with victory malt and caramelized figs could capture the rich flavor of fig newtons. Some special B and vanilla bean could boost the biscuity/cake flavors. Maybe dates too could lend some richness and dried fruit notes. The idea has my mouth watering.
 

TheMadKing

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I used dried figs in a BDSA. Cut them in half, caramelized in a cast iron skillet, deglazed with beer from primary and added the whole thing back to the fermenter. There is another thread somewhere on here where I heard of the technique.

Definite fig character, BDSA was a bit sweet considering the style. Am going to try again this winter in a RIS (maybe with cherries as well).

+1 on the seeds, they are a pain. I would recommend using a SS strainer when transferring to the keg. The little seeds clogged my QDs on my keg and was a hassle to mitigate.
We're you using a conical with the ability to cold crash and dump?

I'm really hoping that's enough
 

TheMadKing

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I love the idea of figs in a beer. Maybe a golden ale with victory malt and caramelized figs could capture the rich flavor of fig newtons. Some special B and vanilla bean could boost the biscuity/cake flavors. Maybe dates too could lend some richness and dried fruit notes. The idea has my mouth watering.
So this barleywine I'm making has a dash of special B in it

I'm also adding a tincture to the keg based on a scaled up flavor test that has:

Cognac, medium char oak, vanilla bean, candied lemon peel, candied orange peel, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Literally all of the main ingredients of Figgy Pudding

I'm splitting the batch 2.5 gallons on fruit and 2.5 gallons dosed with the Christmas flavoring in separate kegs in case it's a disaster
 

TheMadKing

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So just reporting back on my barleywine with figs

Kegging was a disaster! I will NEVER put fruit in my conical ever again. I cold crashed for 4 days and dumped trub 3 times. I was able to transfer 2.5 gallons to a small keg without issue. When I went to transfer the second half, all hell broke loose and I hit a layer of sludgy yeast and fruit bits. I was able to salvage 6 bombers and 2.5 gallons of clear beer from 5 gallons.

If I had to do it over, I would have strained out all the solids with cheese cloth and just dumped the liquid in.

As far as flavor goes, it's a little early to tell. I get a really good earthy undertone but it's subtle. I definitely do not get the dried fruit character I was hoping for. I might have had better luck killing off the yeast with sulfide before adding the fruit because I think most of the flavor was lost during the second vigorous fermentation. We'll see how it ages though
 

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