Strawberry Hefeweizen- The Steeping or Secondary Conundrum

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GringoDave

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As a hop-head I have primarily brewed IPAs, hoppy reds, and the occasional cider and stout for variety in the past, but I think it would be good to expand my repertoire so I've decided to brew a strawberry hefe this summer. My question/idea is in regard to when to add the fresh strawberries- Post boil steep around 165 F for ~20 min or during secondary fermentation?

I have searched through the forums and found some pros and cons of both. A major concern for steeping seems to be the danger of losing fresh, crisp flavor during subsequent vigorous fermentation. A major concern for secondary addition appears to be the introduction of bacteria.

I was thinking I would try combining the methods to see if I could get a nicely layered flavor. My plan is to add 4# quartered fresh strawberries post boil for ~20 min, then cool, strain, and rack into primary w/o the fruit. After primary fermentation subsides I'll rack over 4# fresh strawberries that have been disinfected with hot (but not boiling) water. After a week or so, I would then rack into tertiary w/o fruit to let settle/mellow for another week or two.

Has anyone tried this dual method or have any thoughts on this idea? Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

Suthrncomfrt1884

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Honestly, I'd try to find an oregon fruit puree to use. It's canned, so it's sanitary. And you can just dump it right in the fermentor. Plus, Oregon makes some great canned fruits.
 

rca

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Honestly, I'd try to find an oregon fruit puree to use. It's canned, so it's sanitary. And you can just dump it right in the fermentor. Plus, Oregon makes some great canned fruits.

I've used the Oregon fruit strawberries in the past and they work well. The main problem is finding the strawberries, they seem to be hard to find. All the other fruits from Oregon are pretty plentiful, but the strawberries are tough.

Ron
 

david_42

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A strawberry wheat uses a wheat yeast, a strawberry hefeweizen would use a hefeweizen yeast.

Strawberry is a delicate flavor, so I would add them to the secondary about a week before bottling.
 

GRHunter

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***Long time brewer first time user***

As a hop-head I have primarily brewed IPAs, hoppy reds, and the occasional cider and stout for variety in the past, but I think it would be good to expand my repertoire so I've decided to brew a strawberry hefe this summer. My question/idea is in regard to when to add the fresh strawberries- Post boil steep around 165 F for ~20 min or during secondary fermentation?

I have searched through the forums and found some pros and cons of both. A major concern for steeping seems to be the danger of losing fresh, crisp flavor during subsequent vigorous fermentation. A major concern for secondary addition appears to be the introduction of bacteria.

I was thinking I would try combining the methods to see if I could get a nicely layered flavor. My plan is to add 4# quartered fresh strawberries post boil for ~20 min, then cool, strain, and rack into primary w/o the fruit. After primary fermentation subsides I'll rack over 4# fresh strawberries that have been disinfected with hot (but not boiling) water. After a week or so, I would then rack into tertiary w/o fruit to let settle/mellow for another week or two.

Has anyone tried this dual method or have any thoughts on this idea? Thanks in advance for any advice!


If you are doing a 5 gallon batch, 8 pounds of strawberries sounds like a lot. Assumming that the quantity of strawberries is to your liking, I don't see why a dual method wouldn't work. Me personally, I would try one or the other just to see how it tastes. That way I would only have to use one method in the future. Also, I did two batches with Oregon puree and both of them wound up getting flushed down the toilet. I will never touch that stuff again. I would strongly suggest to stick with fresh, or frozen fruit.
 
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GringoDave

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If you are doing a 5 gallon batch, 8 pounds of strawberries sounds like a lot. Assumming that the quantity of strawberries is to your liking, I don't see why a dual method wouldn't work. Me personally, I would try one or the other just to see how it tastes. That way I would only have to use one method in the future. Also, I did two batches with Oregon puree and both of them wound up getting flushed down the toilet. I will never touch that stuff again. I would strongly suggest to stick with fresh, or frozen fruit.

Yeah, I've heard enough horror stories that I am afraid to use strawberry puree despite its obvious conveniences. Many people have successes with it though so it makes me wonder why results vary so drastically.

I agree with your logic for choosing just one of the methods- the dual method would not reveal which process was superior. I think I will reduce the poundage and introduce the berries during secondary fermentation. Thanks for your suggestions.
 
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I've made strawberry wheat before, using fresh berries that I juiced. Do not boil...instead just add to secondary with a blow-off. You'll get more "strawberry soda" type flavors if you use extract, but using natural berries will be very subtle. I think I used around 5# with just a hint of strawberry as a result. Using a clean finishing yeast helps a lot too because you have less interference from phenols.
 

Kerberbb

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I have made a succulent strawberry pale ale, and used 3lbs in he secondary. The recipe called for 8, but 3 was plenty tart. I just used frozen strawberries from the grocery store. Sanititize the mouth of the secondary before and after pushing the strawberries in, the just rack on top. Be sure to use a blow-off tube!
 

s1080

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When I make a Strawberry Blonde I use around 1.5 lb/gal of fresh strawberries and puree them (after a thorough washing) . Then stick the puree in the freezer. When the beer is ready for the fruit, thaw it before racking on top in the secondary. Have never had any problems with this method and has remained consistent for me.
 

AgingHopster

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My mom used to can strawberry preserves in mason jars back when I was a kid. She sterilized the jars and lids in boiling water and then put the cooked berries in a little sugar which dissolves with the berry juices, put the lid on and boiled it for a while and that was about it. My point is this: why not just make some preserves the same day you brew and on bottling day open up your sterile and bacteria free jar of preserves and drop that in you bucket, stir and wait for the pulp to settle out and Viola! If you measure out the preserves sugar and use some priming sugar for it you can just use the contents of you preserves jar as your priming sugar I would imagine. Buying canned strawberry seems a little silly to me since we're brewers and we understand the concepts of sterility etc. Making up a jar of strawberries and corn sugar would seem like child's play next to some of the elaborate brews we do, would it not?
 

AgingHopster

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The more I think about this the more I think the way to go would be to make (and then can) a liquid, not a puree. I'm thinking along the lines of a sauce pan with a 2 or 3 pounds of strawberries with sugar added and cooked till it breaks down, then place the puree in cheese clothe to separate the larger chunks. Then, strain the liquid through a clean piece of silk screen by forming a ball and squeezing out the juice back into the sauce pan and bring it to 170F or so and then put it into your sterilized cans to be double boiled in the jars. What you might end up with (I'm hoping) is a strawberry juice which should be cleaner than adding all the pulp to the bottling bucket, yet with most or all of the flavor. I'm headed to the store now for some strawberries, I think I'll be the guinea pig.
 

schmeek

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2 years later...
How did this turn out? I'm trying to decide what fruit I want to add to my Hefe. I'm torn between raspberry, strawberry, apricot. I wanted to make a blood orange Hefe but turns out they're not in season in June. Thought they were a summer fruit.
 
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GringoDave

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Nope, can't find the recipe.

As I recall (and this was years ago), I used fresh strawberries in the secondary, which produced a subtle yet pleasant strawberry character in the beer. However, the beer had a particularly shortened shelf life and started tasting "off" after a couple weeks in keg.
 
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