hist-brewing: fruit

Bob Davis brewer at enter.net
Sat Nov 24 05:58:03 PST 2001

Charley Atchley wrote:
> Does anyone know how long to leave a beer fermenting on fruit? I am trying a
> German style fruit beer. (It is sort of like a lambic with out all of the
> bacteria) After trying to convert "Hand throwers" and "Man highs" to
> Gallons, and work out all of the ratios, I am faced with the fact that the
> recipe had no times listed in it.
> The recipe basically said to add the crushed raspberries into the
> fermentation barrel. I have added 5 pounds of raspberries (1/2 gallon) to 4
> gallons of wort. The fruit is all floating at the top of the carboy, and the
> fermentation has basically stopped. My question is, do I let it sit with the
> fruit for a while, or should I remove it soon? I found one source that said
> "One year later" and another that suggested that it be racked as soon as it
> stops fermenting.

I generally use the same time frame as I normally use for secondary
fermentation.  For example, if my porter requires one week in primary
and two in secondary, the fruit goes in the secondary and the beer gets
racked onto it for the appropriate time.  

Conversely, you could add the fruit directly to the primary when the
beer is at high krausen.  Some of the more volatile aromatics will be
"cooked off" with yeast action, but the result will be pretty
indistinguishable from the other method.

Some lambic brewers will add the fruit after the beer has aged for some
time, thus starting a vigourous re-fermentation in cask.  The yeasts
used in their beers are so voracious, they eat everything of the fruit,
including the pips (which imparts an almond-y character to the finished
beer).  If you go this route, be prepared to await the result of your
effort for at least two years.

At work (http://www.weyerbacher.com), we add fresh raspberries to our
imperial stout at a rate of 80-90 lbs. per 10 bbl (US) at high krausen,
which for us is 12-18 hours after first inoculation.  We used to add
them to the secondary (like dry hopping) at racking, but that route made
for a cast-iron bitch of a cleaning session after the beer was racked to
the bright beer tank!  The method we use now is far simpler, and there
is no significant reduction in flavour or aroma.  

I hope your beer comes out well!  Please let us know!

Robert Davis: Brewer, Living Historian
Dolor est fugax. Gloria perennis. Puellae
cicatricibus gaudent.

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