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Brewing with Fruit GUIDELINES FROM “RADICAL BREWING” by Randy Mosher Fruit Amount Needed Notes Raspberries ¼ – 3 lbs/gallon The easiest fruit from which to make beer. Their intense, single-minded character hangs in there forever and cuts through almost any other flavor present. As little as ¼ pound will give a pleasant flavor in lighter, frothy beers, but ½ to 1 pound per gallon is a better rate for serious brews. Usually the fruit provides enough acidity, but t
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    Brewing with Fruit GUIDELINES FROM “RADICAL BREWING” by Randy Mosher Fruit Amount Needed Notes Raspberries ¼ – 3 lbs/gallon The easiest fruit from which to make beer. Their intense, single-minded character hangs in there forever and cuts through almost any other flavor present. As little as ¼ pound will give a pleasant flavor in lighter, frothy beers, but ½ to 1 pound per gallon is a better rate for serious brews. Usually the fruit provides enough acidity, but taste before bottling and add acid if the fruit tastes dull. Red raspberries seem to have a better flavor than black. Cherries 1 – 4 lbs/gallon Of all fruits, cherries are the most traditional, as well as one of the most elegant. The subtle flavor of the cherries blends well with the tastes of the malt, without completely overtaking it. Sour cherries are the best; sweet ones just don’t have the guts to do the job. If you want to make a beer that tastes just like cherry pie, use Montmorency cherries. Remember, it may take a blend of different cherries to make the best beer—some for color, some for intensity, and some for acidity. Blueberries 1 – 3 lbs/gallon Do not hold up well during fermentation. The fresh blueberry character is so delicate that it often gets lost in the context of a beer, even a light one. In beer, their color is not blue; it’s more of a purplish pink. Cooking may actually enhance the flavor of blueberries, so you may be able to use a couple jars of jam in a beer like a wit or weizen, where the pectin haze won’t be a problem. Blackberries 1 – 4 lbs/gallon Similar to raspberries, but with considerably less specific aromatically intense flavor. They have a beautiful purple color, and may be used in other fruit beers for that effect alone. Peach/Apricot 1.5 – 5 lbs/gallon Peaches are often a disappointment. The taste of the finished beer is often rather flat and somewhat gummy. Apricots produce a much better beer; in fact, they make a fine peach beer. I have had good experience with apricot extract. If one insisted one making a peach beer, it might be wise to have a bottle of apricot extract sitting around to beef up the flavor at the end of fermentation. Strawberries 4 – 8 lbs/gallon Strawberries rarely live up to their promise. The flavor fades quickly along with the color, leaving an orange-hued, vaguely fruity beer behind. The best strawberry beers are those made in a light style, to be drunk in their youth. Absolutely ripe fruit is essential, so you won’t be able to use grocery store berries. Unless you can get out to the farm, frozen strawberries are your best bet. Apples Mild aroma, acidic. Improves head. Best for mead or cider. Grapes Best in meads (pyment). Aromatic varieties like Muscat are good. Citrus Fruit Only the zest is needed. For example, the zest of one bitter orange is sufficient for 5 gallons of beer. If you can’t find bitter (Seville) oranges try 2 parts sweet orange zest with 1 part grapefruit zest; also double quantity compared with sour orange zest. Tangerines, tangelos and blood oranges are good options. Use organic!!!  FRUIT SOURCES: Raw Fruit:   Depending on location you can often get raw fruit at the peak of freshness for maximum impact on the beer. The down side to natural raw fruit is that from a beer standpoint it is dirty. If you want to keep wild yeasts and bacteria out of your precious brew this can be a challenge with raw fruit. Secondly, the fruit likely needs to be processed in some way, such as a food processor or freezing to release its goodness into the beer. Fruit Extracts:  The largest advantage that extracts have is the extremely low likelihood of a microbial contamination. These things are often made as alcohol based extractions of fruit flavors and they are easily filtered free of microbes. They are also easy of use. You can easily control the amount of flavor you get by adding a little at a time to a keg or bottling bucket. Just add an ounce at a time, stir and taste. The disadvantage with extracts is that many people complain they tend to taste unidimensional…something is just missing from the flavor profile that you can only get with fresh fruit. Prepackaged Fruit Products:  Namely, we are referring to fruit purees. With these products you get the advantage of whole fruit fully processed to expose the fruity characteristics and you get cutting edge packaging and handling technology. Many fruit purees are flash pasteurized so the microbial contamination issue is eliminated. The only minor disadvantage is expense. People have also had success using 100% juice or fruit concentrates. FORMULATING RECIPES WITH FRUIT: Remember: -   Reduce hopping rates as high bitterness and fruit often clash. -   Decide the base beer and then design the fruit component to complement (or vice versa) -   Fruit cannot mask a bad beer. -   You may need to decrease bottling sugar to account for additional slow fermenting sugars if you had a truncated secondary fermentation period. This will decrease chances of bottle bombs. TACKLING THE FRUIT ONCE YOU HAVE IT: Fresh or Frozen Fruit: To be sanitary, fresh or frozen fruit should be pasteurized before introducing them to fermentation. (If small fresh fruit is used, break the skin by crushing.) In order to do this, heat with some water (whatever is needed to cover) to 165˚F and hold for 15 to 20 minutes. DO NOT BOIL!!! That will set the pectins and cause pectin haze in your beer. Add to secondary and ferment an additional 7-14 days. Rack to tertiary fermenter to leave behind sediments. Bottle after 4-7 days. Fruit Juice/Concentrate/Puree:  For juice/concentrate, make sure to check ingredient list and exclude any products that have preservatives (e.g., sodium benzoate). Add the juice/concentrate/puree to the secondary fermentation Fruit Extracts:  Add to bottling bucket. **Generally, it is better to add fruit as late as possible in the brewing/fermentation process to eliminate: 1.)   Pectin haze caused from boiling the fruit 2.)   Scrubbing of the fruit’s aromas during primary fermentation a.   In other words, don’t let the aroma goodness be pushed out the airlock with the CO2 during the strong, active phases of fermentation.
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