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haha! Cantaloupe Beer!

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MeThirsty

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Hello Beer Ninjas

Myself and another rookie brewer and going to jump off the deep end and try a cantaloupe beer. So that it doesnt COMPLETELY bomb... i was just looking for some advice on this 5 gallon batch..

We are going with a wheat almost heff like grain bill. thinking of using a american heff yeast or coopers ale yeast.. the big question is.. when to add the cantaloupe!! Ive seen where people throw chunks of fruit on the secondary or extract the fruits flavor into something like vodka.. but im not sure what to do with the cantaloupes mega mellow flavor .... and im sure im biting off more than i can chew!!! But thats kind of the point here!!! So heres what i was thinking, and you guys tell me how much off a green no-knowing baby i am:

I was gonna puree maybe 4 cups of fruit... and put in a cheese cloth bag in the secondary, while having some fruit sit in some midori for about a week or two. then strain and add the midori when bottling/(hopefully) kegging. Kind of combining ideas ive read through the threads here.

haha!! Have at me! And thanks for bearing through my noobness.
 

ericd

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Well if you want a strong cantaloupe flavor, what I'd do is juice a bunch of cantaloupes to get 5 gallons of juice (yeah a whole lot!) add enough wheat DME to get to your OG and boil like normal, adding like .5 oz of a low alpha hop at 60 mins then ferment it as cool as the yeast will go.

I've found that most fruit flavor gets fermented out, so it's hard to add too much.

When using fresh fruit, always, always pasteurize or you WILL get an infection.
 

CDbrews

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I wouldnt bother with the midori, just puree the fruit and pasturize it then rack on top of that... It would deffinately make an interesting beer
 

Scruffy1207

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I hear some people puree their fruit and the yeast takes the sugars and the flavor out. I'd just stick a ton of cantalope in there in chunks. obviously you want to pasturize it by placing the fruit in vodka first.
 

Insomniac

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I dont know much about beers so correct me if im missing something, but if you plan to heat the fruit you will want a pectic enzyme, otherwise it wont clear. Though, if your doing it on a wheat beer base, maybe that doesn't matter so much!
 

octoflab

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in the past i have had great success with getting fruit flavors into beer by using a juicer. what i do is juice the fruit, add the pulp to the mash, and freeze the juice. after fermentation has come to a stop, i pasteurize the juice and add it to the fermentation vessel. the pulp in the mash does seem to lower efficiency, but judging by how much flavor i have been getting into my beer with relatively small amounts of fruit makes it worth it to me.
 

edie

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in the past i have had great success with getting fruit flavors into beer by using a juicer. what i do is juice the fruit, add the pulp to the mash, and freeze the juice. after fermentation has come to a stop, i pasteurize the juice and add it to the fermentation vessel. the pulp in the mash does seem to lower efficiency, but judging by how much flavor i have been getting into my beer with relatively small amounts of fruit makes it worth it to me.

why pasteurize after freezing? wouldn't the freeze take care of any nasties?
not saying it's wrong, just wondering. i've really enjoyed the last few fruit beers we've made and looking to find some new ideas.
 
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Cantalope is very mellow so you may not get much flavor or a muted flavor from it. To get a good flavor you may even need to add so much that your beer ends up horribly watered down. Just something to consider.
 
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MeThirsty

MeThirsty

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What would be the best way to pasteurize the melon?? I'm half you guys said something!! I didn't think that far ahead..
 

Scruffy1207

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MeThirsty said:
What would be the best way to pasteurize the melon?? I'm half you guys said something!! I didn't think that far ahead..
Vodka soak for two hours should do it.
 

octoflab

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i'm pretty sure that freezing doesn't kill all of the bugs, but i would bet that it does kill some. i pasteurize just for the added insurance i guess. it may not be needed, but it helps me to worry less about it.
 
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Freezing will break down the cell walls in the fruit and release more juice. That's why fruit is normally frozen. It doesn't do anything to pasteurize. If you can puree fruit with a food processor it may not be necessary to freeze it.

Strong liquor like vodka is useful for killing most critters in the fruit but it may not kill off wild yeasts, so that's a concern. Additionally, if you soak in vodka you're probably going to have to add the vodka to your beer so you don't lose juice/flavor. The problem is going to be balancing enough alcohol to lower the ph appropriately/get enough alcohol to kill off unwanted bugs without making your beer too boozy from it.

Personally I like to heat fruit to 165F for a few minutes in enough water to cover the fruit. That is pasteurization temperature (actually I think 160F does it but I allow for thermometer inaccuracy). Then I dump fruit and water in together. If you can break down the fruit into a puree or just mash it up really well you should need less water than if you just cut it into chunks.

Personally I don't mind tossing in a little extra water over making beer more alcohol-y from vodka. You may feel differently.
 

joetothemo

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My buddy has won a number of blue ribbons with his cantaloupe-wheat. DM me if you want a recipe.

I know for a fact it is a wheat-beer base and that he racks onto chopped cantaloupe.

I also know for a fact that I have never had it because I am deathly allergic to cantaloupe.
 
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MeThirsty

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Just about to fire up the works and get to it! Thank you thank you for your advice.
 

vitrael

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why pasteurize after freezing? wouldn't the freeze take care of any nasties?
not saying it's wrong, just wondering. i've really enjoyed the last few fruit beers we've made and looking to find some new ideas.
Freezing hardly kills any bacteria. Many of them are heartily cold tolerant and will spring right back when they warm up. Don't believe me, make a little agar culture from a swab of your freezer. :D
 
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MeThirsty

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Sent the fruit through the vodka for a couple of days. Now it's in the secondary getting happy. Saved the vodka... It tastes amazing haha!!! If the beer turns out horrible, I know I have some insanely smooth and tasty vodka to ease me through The first pint haha!!! If this beer is anything as delicious as the leftover spirit, we are in for a big treat.
 

Foolmonkey

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Any word on how this baby turned out? What sort of fruit flavor, and yeast flavors showed up? I've got a pumpkin ale fermenting and I'm curious about doing other fruit/vegetable ales. Maybe even an oyster stout if my brewing buddy agrees to it.

A lot of people talked about pasturizing your fruits with heat or using vodka. Another option is borrowed from winemaking.

When making wine, you can use camden tablets or a measured amount of potasium metabisulfite powder to destroy bacteria/wild yeast that are lingering on your fruit. Add it to your juice (not into wort or primary!) and wait 24 hours. Please, please, don't overuse it. The powder could destroy fermentation and cause off flavors if too much is in there. Only 1/4 teaspoon in 5 gallons of juice for most recipes. Then some pectic enyzme to break down the flavors from fruit pulp/chunks to ensure clean bright taste.
 

FuzzeWuzze

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*Edit* just realized this was brought back from the grave....

I read an interesting thing some people do for Apple ciders to get incredibly strong flavors that may just work here...

What they did was buy apple juice, freeze it, then uncap it and turn it upside down. The juice/syrup all dripped out leaving most of the water behind as ice.

Maybe you could blend up a ton of cantelope, and try this technique to get the pure flavor of the cantelope? The biggest problem getting the flavor i can see is how much it would take, because cantelope like many other melons are primarily water. If you just rack on them i would think it would just water down your beer and you'd never taste the melon.

You may also want to go into the Fruit beers recipe section, i know there are a few watermelon recipes in there that should be helpful
 
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MeThirsty

MeThirsty

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Fuzzewuzze,
The beer turned out to be pretty boozy like one of the posters on this thread warned about..
Overall drinkable, but I could only handle a couple of glasses at a time. It also seemed to get sweeter the longer it sat.. Dunno if I was going a little crazy, or if it really was getting sweeter! For my first fruit beer I'd say it wasn't a complete loss! My guys around me I brewed with all came and filled their growlers a couple times.. But then again who in their right mind turns down free beer!!
I think the grains used were on point, the fruit flavor really came they.. But the booziness was overwhelming. I reall like the idea of extracting the juice by freezing it as you said with the apple juice. Hope you brew comes out great man!!


A BIG thankyou to all the great advice and responses from everyone =)
 
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