hist-brewing: brewing with fruit

Bob Davis brewer at enter.net
Sat Nov 24 09:29:34 PST 2001

Deborah Wood wrote:
> Concerning Charly Atchley's question as to how long to leave fruit in
> the beer I have several sugestions. I make fruit beer reguarly to keep
> my girl friends happy when they come to see me as they alway's want  a
> champage flute filled with it!.

Isn't it amazing how certain people, when confronted with malt and hops,
will proclaim "I don't like beer," then consume fruit lambic or
raspberry wheat beers with blissful abandon? ;-)  Note the massive
increase in "alco-pops," such as Hooper's Hooch and the like, which are
all malt-based drinks (like "wine" coolers).

> I usualy add frozen fruit to the primary fermentor, the fruit will
> change color at which time( after 4 or 5 days) I skim it off the
> surface, then rack into a secondary.

I personally avoid skimming whenever possible.  If you're very careful
(as I'm sure we are), you can avoid contamination; otherwise, I follow
Papazian's advice to not muck about in the fermenter, except to withdraw
hydrometer samples.

> Some people add frozen fruit at the end of the boil keeping temperature
> at around 165 for 15 minutes to paturize the fruit, this way gives more
> color, but you must be careful to avoid pectin haze caused by too high
> temperatures.

This is vital!  I had this problem with my first fruit beer.  Also, I
put the fruit through five or six freeze/thaw cycles, to break down the
cell walls and thus extract the most juicy goodness.

> I have also lagered raspberries at 40 degrees  for 3 weeks in a
> secondary, leaving the fruit in for 3 weeks.
> It is important to avoid off flavors from autolysis, caused by leaving
> your beer on a bed of yeast too long.

Racking multiple times will alleviate this.  Take a page from the wine
and mead-maker's playbook and simply rack four or five times.  I use a
pyramid scheme -- 

Primary -- max 7 days
Secondary -- max two weeks
Tertiary -- max three weeks
Quaternary -- max four weeks


More nastiness will settle out each time.  There will still be yeast
enough in the finished "bright" beer for bottle or keg-conditioning --
something on the order of 10³ cells/ml, if I'm not horribly mistaken.



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

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