Have you thought about adding fruit to beer? We have some tips on how to make a refreshing infused fruit beer to enjoy before the cold weather rolls in. Home brewers worry that fruit will contaminate their beer with microorganisms and lead to an off-flavor. Careless use of fruit can indeed contaminate your beer, but doing it right can lead to a delicious outcome. We are here to arm you with knowledge so you can easily make a fruit- infused beer!
When to add fruit:
You have various options of when to add fruit to your home brew. The timing helps to determine how much flavor comes through in the beer. There are two different times you can add the fruit:
- Before fermentation: The yeast will consume most of the sugars during fermentation. Since sweetness from sugar makes up most of the flavor, this will finish in a more subtly-flavored beer.
- After fermentation: During secondary, there will certainly be a more defining fruit character that will be determined by the amounts of fruits used and how long they are left in the beer.
How and what to add:
2 lbs of fruit to 5 gallons of beer will be taste-able, 5 lbs makes for a robust flavor in the beer. The amount of fruit needed will depend on the type of fruit and beer it’s going in. Apples and blueberries, for example, are subtle flavors and will be more likely to get lost in a strongly flavored beer like stout. Try experimenting with different amounts to get the flavor you desire.
There are numerous ways to add fruit to your beer, and it all depends on your preference. Some prefer the convenience of using fruit purées or juices. Fresh fruit has better flavors than the purees, but often are unsanitary by brewery standards. Almost all purees come sterilized and can be thrown directly into the fermenter. So, if contamination is a concern, using sterile fruit products is a good option to consider.
Raspberries are a popular choice, and added to a wheat beer can make for a great summer drink. They contribute tartness and color to the beer.
Adding fruit in the boil is a waste of fruit. It kills much of the flavor and boils off most of the aroma. It can also cause hazing from fruit pectins.
If added to the primary the vigorous fermentation will scrub out the aroma. There is also an increased risk that fruit bits will plug the airlock causing an unexpected mess. Note: if you only do a primary fermentation then add the fruit after the bulk of fermentation is complete, about 5 days.
We recommend adding fruit to the secondary, and there are several reasons for this. To preserve the most fruit flavor and aroma the secondary is the best place to add fruit. You will also need to extend the time it sits in the secondary a few days to a week to allow the sugars in the fruit to be fermented out before bottling.
These beers are very rewarding when done correctly and are among the oldest types of beer still produced today. Experiment with some different fruit flavors and methods to get the beer you like! Explore our brewing supplies to get started!
If you have any questions give us a call 636-230-8277 and we’ll be glad to help out.