Quantcast

Fruit beer experiment: Adding strawberries to chilled beer to avoid dryness

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

bigbeergeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
130
Location
Visalia
I've never added fresh fruit to a brew before. Tomorrow I'm going to add 10 lbs of strawberries to my 2ndary, and I'm curious: has anyone ever tried chilling the secondary to 40*F, then pitching the fruit? I'm going to keg this after 10 days, and I don't want to restart fermentation and produce a dry or sour beer as so many other have. I bought fresh strawberries, soaked them (whole) in a light iodophor solution, hulled/sliced them, soaked them in iodophor once more for 60 seconds, let them drain for a moment, transferred them to a large sanitized container, froze the whole 10 lbs, and now it's thawing on the counter. The plan is to add the macerated fruit and juices to my pre-chilled secondary and hold everything at 40*F for 9 days, then keg. Chilling should help slow infection while lessening a full re-fermentation of the batch. I'll follow up with results in about 2 weeks. :D
 

ArcaneXor

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2007
Messages
4,502
Reaction score
130
Interesting. Let us know how it turns out.
 

TUCK

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
321
Reaction score
22
Location
Kennesaw, Ga
Interesting. Let us know how it turns out.

Yes ...... do tell <pinky in lower right corner of mouth> :D

I have been wanting to try this as well, for I remember the good ol days when we would enjoy Strawberry Blonde from Pete's Wicked Pale Ale.

I might have missed a recipe somewhere but if not .... What was the ratio used in your recipe?
 
OP
bigbeergeek

bigbeergeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
130
Location
Visalia
Yes ...... do tell <pinky in lower right corner of mouth> :D

I have been wanting to try this as well, for I remember the good ol days when we would enjoy Strawberry Blonde from Pete's Wicked Pale Ale.

I might have missed a recipe somewhere but if not .... What was the ratio used in your recipe?
Good question! It's going to be a simple strawberry American wheat beer to satisfy the female thirst at our up-and-coming (first) baby shower... meanwhile the men-folk will be sippin' on a keg of an all-nugget pale ale I brewed around the same time. Here's the recipe:

(5.5 gallons)
3.5 lb. American 2-row
4 lb. Wheat malt
.6 lb. American crystal 20L
16 IBUs of Cascade hops at 60 minutes
10 lbs strawberries, as described above

I promise to post tasting notes soon after the shower (April 24th)! :D
 

TUCK

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
321
Reaction score
22
Location
Kennesaw, Ga
Good question! It's going to be a simple strawberry American wheat beer to satisfy the female thirst at our up-and-coming (first) baby shower... meanwhile the men-folk will be sippin' on a keg of an all-nugget pale ale I brewed around the same time. Here's the recipe:

(5.5 gallons)
3.5 lb. American 2-row
4 lb. Wheat malt
.6 lb. American crystal 20L
16 IBUs of Cascade hops at 60 minutes
10 lbs strawberries, as described above

I promise to post tasting notes soon after the shower (April 24th)! :D
Awsome thanks man!! BTW... Congrads ..... in fact I ahve my first baby shower as well.

Just hope your mommy to be is not sipping on any brew (LOL.. I am sure she is not). I know my wife is so mad that she can't try any of my recent brews....or drink any wine. but well worth the wait for both of our mothers to be none the less.
 

Oldsock

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2007
Messages
3,303
Reaction score
304
Location
DC
Selin's Grove uses "cold" fruit additions to make some very well regarded beers. IIRC they use juice and add it right at kegging, much easier to deal with than whole fruit at that stage. I really do like whole/fresh/ripe fruit, but juice certainly would be easy.
 

weirdboy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
8,221
Reaction score
495
Location
Los Angeles
I don't think it will work very well to prevent refermentation.

I haven't had any problems with infections from fresh/frozen strawberries, but once the beer warms up a bit you will get more fermentation from the added sugars. You could put campden tabs in there or pasteurize the beer or do something else to kill off the yeast completely, THEN add the strawberries, and then force carb. But if there's yeast in there, they will find and eat the sugar.
 

DrJekyll-HomeBrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2008
Messages
55
Reaction score
0
Location
Oklahoma
I would maybe consider steeping the strawberries in a hot water bath, adding some carbonate(baking soda), and then some lactose i think that would give some flavor. have you every noticed off flavors of soaking the strawberries in a cleaning solution?
 
OP
bigbeergeek

bigbeergeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
130
Location
Visalia
Well the cold infusion was a grand success. The 10 lbs of strawberries lent the beer the freshest strawberry nose I've ever beheld in a brew... smelled like a basket of fresh strawberries from a farmer's market. Taste was equally fresh and juicy -- I've never tried heat pasteurized fruit or extracts in my own brewing, so I don't have a comparison to make in that way, but I can assure that the cold extraction captured the flavor and aroma of fresh strawberries. I kept the beer at 35*F until the morning I was to serve it, then it drifted up to around 40-45 as it was quickly consumed. I didn't detect the dryness or sourness I've heard others complain about, so I'd guess re-fermentation was well halted. There was no iodophor in the aroma or taste, no surprise there.
 
OP
bigbeergeek

bigbeergeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
130
Location
Visalia
I would maybe consider steeping the strawberries in a hot water bath, adding some carbonate(baking soda), and then some lactose i think that would give some flavor. have you every noticed off flavors of soaking the strawberries in a cleaning solution?
(only soaked them for two 60 second intervals, before and after slicing)
 
OP
bigbeergeek

bigbeergeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
130
Location
Visalia
I don't think it will work very well to prevent refermentation.

I haven't had any problems with infections from fresh/frozen strawberries, but once the beer warms up a bit you will get more fermentation from the added sugars. You could put campden tabs in there or pasteurize the beer or do something else to kill off the yeast completely, THEN add the strawberries, and then force carb. But if there's yeast in there, they will find and eat the sugar.
I think that holding ale yeast at 35*F will halt the process, no?
 

hardrain

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
192
Reaction score
5
Old threat revival! Happy strawberry season all.

I'm going to do a similar thing with less 'safety' steps -- slice, freeze (to break cell walls), and then secondary extract at ~40F. However google is telling me freezing doesn't actually affect the yeast or bateria, but rather just keeps it dormant. Is this consistent with what others know about the process?

I'm hoping at low temperatures, low ph, and alcohol contents (plus quick consumption :) will render this mostly moot, however I'm going to guess it depends on what is on the strawberries.

Thoughts?
 

weirdboy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
8,221
Reaction score
495
Location
Los Angeles
Yes freezing will generally not kill it all off.

Wash your strawberries well as part of your preparation and that should remove most of the natural yeast and bacteria. Don't use any bruised or otherwise damaged fruit as the cultures have likely penetrated to the interior of the fruit. However your beer is of course a liquid yeast culture already, so no matter what when you add fructose to the beer you're giving the yeast food to consume. Keeping it at low temperatures will not completely prevent fermentation, but should keep it from working very quickly.

I wouldn't use extract personally, as I don't like the flavor of the strawberry extracts on the market, and I think fresh strawberries taste much crisper and "fresh" for lack of a better descriptor, even if the sugars ferment out.
 
OP
bigbeergeek

bigbeergeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
130
Location
Visalia
OP here. I'd skip the sanitizing regimine if I brewed this again. All told I've made this beer 4 times and it's always a winner. The berries must be field fresh! I highly recommend bagging the thawed berry mush in hop bags, the pulp and seeds can be an issue when racking. Also: don't bother tasting the pale, beer-soaked berries you end up with at the end of the process. Yuck. The sweetness/freshness of the berry flavor sticks around really well for the life of the keg.
 

hardrain

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
192
Reaction score
5
OP here. I'd skip the sanitizing regimine if I brewed this again. All told I've made this beer 4 times and it's always a winner. The berries must be field fresh! I highly recommend bagging the thawed berry mush in hop bags, the pulp and seeds can be an issue when racking. Also: don't bother tasting the pale, beer-soaked berries you end up with at the end of the process. Yuck. The sweetness/freshness of the berry flavor sticks around really well for the life of the keg.
Well while I have you -- Are you still using 10lb of fresh berries per 5 gallons? I have no reference point whatsoever but that just feels like a lot. I have 2 lb bagged now (picked by us locally)...I was thinking of doing up to 4...unless you feel differently.

I should also probably mention I'm doing a 1.050 saison, not a wheat beer, which is a different variable of course.

Good heads up on the hop bags as well.

Thanks!
 

55x11

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2015
Messages
1,115
Reaction score
307
Location
san diego
Well while I have you -- Are you still using 10lb of fresh berries per 5 gallons? I have no reference point whatsoever but that just feels like a lot. I have 2 lb bagged now (picked by us locally)...I was thinking of doing up to 4...unless you feel differently.

I should also probably mention I'm doing a 1.050 saison, not a wheat beer, which is a different variable of course.

Good heads up on the hop bags as well.

Thanks!
Strawberry flavor is difficult to impart from fruit. 2 lbs per gallon is actually on the LOW side.


“Strawberry
2–4 lbs(/Gallon)
Gravity: 1.061
Everyone wants to make a strawberry beer, but it’s an elusive flavor to capture. If you want strong strawberry flavor, use more than you’d ever think necessary or get your hands on flavoring extracts.”

Excerpt From: Drew Beechum. “Experimental Homebrewing.”
 

Mainer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2016
Messages
991
Reaction score
370
Location
Portland
Yes freezing will generally not kill it all off.

Wash your strawberries well as part of your preparation and that should remove most of the natural yeast and bacteria. Don't use any bruised or otherwise damaged fruit as the cultures have likely penetrated to the interior of the fruit. However your beer is of course a liquid yeast culture already, so no matter what when you add fructose to the beer you're giving the yeast food to consume. Keeping it at low temperatures will not completely prevent fermentation, but should keep it from working very quickly.

I wouldn't use extract personally, as I don't like the flavor of the strawberry extracts on the market, and I think fresh strawberries taste much crisper and "fresh" for lack of a better descriptor, even if the sugars ferment out.
If you're concerned about infection from the fruit, a lot of people will soak the fruit in vodka for a few days to a week, and then pitch the whole thing (fruit, vodka, and all) into your beer. The vodka will kill off any unwanted bugs without messing with the pectins the way boiling would.
 

weirdboy

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
8,221
Reaction score
495
Location
Los Angeles
Fresh fruit without bruises, etc. that has been cleaned has always worked well for me without any infections. The first few times I made beer with strawberries, I pasteurized them, but I wasn't a fan of the sort of "cooked" flavor even though the beer was otherwise fine. I prefer using fresh ones, cleaning and then halving & freezing them, storing them in a sanitized, sealed container in the freezer.
 
OP
bigbeergeek

bigbeergeek

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Messages
4,111
Reaction score
130
Location
Visalia
Well while I have you -- Are you still using 10lb of fresh berries per 5 gallons? I have no reference point whatsoever but that just feels like a lot. I have 2 lb bagged now (picked by us locally)...I was thinking of doing up to 4...unless you feel differently.

I should also probably mention I'm doing a 1.050 saison, not a wheat beer, which is a different variable of course.

Good heads up on the hop bags as well.

Thanks!
Yup. 8-10 lbs will make the thing smell like a basket of berries.
 

bleme

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,815
Reaction score
2,980
Location
Visalia
I'm serving a homage to this beer at the Exeter Lions Brewfest tomorrow.
I used:
4 lbs 2-row
4 lbs wheat malt
.5 lbs caramunich

2oz Belma at flameout. Let sit 12 minutes and chill.

Ferment, cold crash, keg and carb.
Night before the event, add juice from 10 pounds of strawberries - about 2 quarts.

EDIT: Beer was a huge success. Our club had 18 different beers there and my keg kicked more than an hour before anyone else's!

PS: When you add juice to carb'd beer, it will foam like crazy. I held the lid while my wife poured as quickly as possible so all I had to do was pull up to seal. We still had to hose off the porch.
 

Unicorn_Platypus

Urine I Pee... Eh?
Joined
Oct 13, 2012
Messages
347
Reaction score
106
Location
NYC
On the other hand I make a strawberry beer with 4 lbs in a 6 gallon batch and it's won a few gold medals. Plenty of strawberry in it.
I'm thinking about aging an imperial stout for a few months on some strawberries. Do you think the seeds on the strawberries will add astringency if I let the beer condition on them for a few months and referent with them in the keg?
 

YostsBrewery

Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2016
Messages
13
Reaction score
12
This is my method when brewing my fruited berliner Weiss's. Kettle sour, ferment, cold crash, add puree fruit, condition 3 days then rack and keg. Dancing Gnome here in Pittsburgh uses this method on their Underscore series and DBL underscore series.
 
Top