Author Topic: Fruit beer questions  (Read 1893 times)

Offline paul

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Fruit beer questions
« on: August 01, 2013, 05:37:36 PM »
I’m making my first fruit beer, an American wheat peach ale, and have some questions for the group.
 
I’ve already brewed a wheat…1.048 OG, 1.011 FG, New Mexico multihead hops for a slightly peachy aroma already.  FG was reached a few days ago.
 
I’m planning to split the batch and put about 2.5 gallons on 2 lb peaches, and about 0.25 – 0.5 lb apricots.
 
The plan is to rinse the fruit well, chop into about 1/2-inch pieces (to fit through Better Bottle opening), leave the skins on, cut the pits out, rack onto the fruit and let sit at about 72 F until the SG stabilizes.
 
Questions:
 
How does this sound?  Am I missing any steps or am I about to do something wrong?
 
How long does it typically take for yeast to chew through the extra sugar?  I pitched plenty of English and American Wheat yeast.

Thanks!
 

Offline euge

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2013, 06:04:32 PM »
You need 20 pounds of peaches! Ten pounds per gallon...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline paul

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2013, 06:58:31 PM »
Really? I've read lots of posts on discussion boards, and 4 to 5lbs in a 5 gallon batch seems to be the consensus for a moderately peachy beverage. Have you actually used that much peach?
« Last Edit: August 01, 2013, 07:26:08 PM by paul »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2013, 07:31:13 PM »
I've never brewed with peaches, so I can't comment on the exact quantity to use, but my recommendation is to chop up the peaches, freeze them solid, and then let them thaw before adding them. The freezing and thawing process will break open the cells in the fruit and help you get more flavor from them.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline paul

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 10:50:49 PM »
That makes sense to me.  It's in the freezer.

Offline euge

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2013, 03:50:14 AM »
So you already had the answer to your questions? Why are you asking us then? Anyway, yes you should start with at least 10 pounds of mild fruit such as peach or apricot. I don't think you'll get much flavor with less.

But perhaps your mileage will vary. I suggest sticking with your plan and then you'll know.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2013, 04:33:38 AM »
According to the compleat meadmaker (# of peaches in 5 gallons secondary) :
Mild fruit character: 5-7#
Medium fruit character: 8-12#
Strong fruit character: 13+#
There's a chart in the book with several types of fruit and I have found it to be a good guide. A friend used a 3# can of peach puree in 5 gallons and the fruit character was very subtle.
The peaches should be quite ripe. Always freeze fruit before adding. I like to secondary on fruit in a mesh bag in a bucket. Makes it easier to separate fruit from beer. The fruit will float and you need to stir it in a couple times daily and a bucket makes this easier. A week on the fruit should be plenty of time.
One caveat: I recently made a strawberry wheat and after a week I detected a very slight acetic infection (from the strawberries?) So I kegged and sulfited and the slight tang is actually nice in that beer.
Enjoy!

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2013, 04:58:55 AM »
According to the compleat meadmaker (# of peaches in 5 gallons secondary) :
Mild fruit character: 5-7#
Medium fruit character: 8-12#
Strong fruit character: 13+#
There's a chart in the book with several types of fruit and I have found it to be a good guide. A friend used a 3# can of peach puree in 5 gallons and the fruit character was very subtle.
The peaches should be quite ripe. Always freeze fruit before adding. I like to secondary on fruit in a mesh bag in a bucket. Makes it easier to separate fruit from beer. The fruit will float and you need to stir it in a couple times daily and a bucket makes this easier. A week on the fruit should be plenty of time.
One caveat: I recently made a strawberry wheat and after a week I detected a very slight acetic infection (from the strawberries?) So I kegged and sulfited and the slight tang is actually nice in that beer.
Enjoy!
I've made alot of fruit beers and the guidelines look pretty accurate.  But the type of fruit comes into play - cherries and raspberries are very intense in beer, where peaches and apricots tend to sort of dissipate in beer. I use ~ double the latter to get the same level of fruit presence. But the amount of fresh peaches it would take will leave a s@#$ ton of pulpy fruit matter behind, just so you know. That's why I switched to high quality purees like Oregon brand. Same fruit quality, minus most of the grief.
Jon H.

Offline fmader

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2013, 05:40:22 AM »
I just bottled five gallons of a peach wheat. I used 5 lb of fresh peaches (I skinned mine. There is a butt ton of bacteria on peach skin.) and a 3 lb can of peach purée. Big Al supplied me with the scale too. I tasted it out of the bottling bucket, and the peach was certainly present. I'd be able to give you a better synopsis in about a week when they're ready to drink.
Frank

Offline jcwhoffman

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2013, 06:00:12 AM »
According to the compleat meadmaker (# of peaches in 5 gallons secondary) :
Mild fruit character: 5-7#
Medium fruit character: 8-12#
Strong fruit character: 13+#
There's a chart in the book with several types of fruit and I have found it to be a good guide. A friend used a 3# can of peach puree in 5 gallons and the fruit character was very subtle.
The peaches should be quite ripe. Always freeze fruit before adding. I like to secondary on fruit in a mesh bag in a bucket. Makes it easier to separate fruit from beer. The fruit will float and you need to stir it in a couple times daily and a bucket makes this easier. A week on the fruit should be plenty of time.
One caveat: I recently made a strawberry wheat and after a week I detected a very slight acetic infection (from the strawberries?) So I kegged and sulfited and the slight tang is actually nice in that beer.
Enjoy!
I've made alot of fruit beers and the guidelines look pretty accurate.  But the type of fruit comes into play - cherries and raspberries are very intense in beer, where peaches and apricots tend to sort of dissipate in beer. I use ~ double the latter to get the same level of fruit presence. But the amount of fresh peaches it would take will leave a s@#$ ton of pulpy fruit matter behind, just so you know. That's why I switched to high quality purees like Oregon brand. Same fruit quality, minus most of the grief.

Is there a guide on how much of the Oregon brand puree to use for 5 gallons??   I'm doing the same thing is a op, except I'm making a Peach Blonde Ale...   I've been in the primary for 5 days at this point, and need to determine how much/what type of peach to use...   This is for my wife, and she wants a strong peach character.. any help is appreciated..

Jason

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2013, 06:03:47 AM »
According to the compleat meadmaker (# of peaches in 5 gallons secondary) :
Mild fruit character: 5-7#
Medium fruit character: 8-12#
Strong fruit character: 13+#
There's a chart in the book with several types of fruit and I have found it to be a good guide. A friend used a 3# can of peach puree in 5 gallons and the fruit character was very subtle.
The peaches should be quite ripe. Always freeze fruit before adding. I like to secondary on fruit in a mesh bag in a bucket. Makes it easier to separate fruit from beer. The fruit will float and you need to stir it in a couple times daily and a bucket makes this easier. A week on the fruit should be plenty of time.
One caveat: I recently made a strawberry wheat and after a week I detected a very slight acetic infection (from the strawberries?) So I kegged and sulfited and the slight tang is actually nice in that beer.
Enjoy!
I've made alot of fruit beers and the guidelines look pretty accurate.  But the type of fruit comes into play - cherries and raspberries are very intense in beer, where peaches and apricots tend to sort of dissipate in beer. I use ~ double the latter to get the same level of fruit presence. But the amount of fresh peaches it would take will leave a s@#$ ton of pulpy fruit matter behind, just so you know. That's why I switched to high quality purees like Oregon brand. Same fruit quality, minus most of the grief.

Is there a guide on how much of the Oregon brand puree to use for 5 gallons??   I'm doing the same thing is a op, except I'm making a Peach Blonde Ale...   I've been in the primary for 5 days at this point, and need to determine how much/what type of peach to use...   This is for my wife, and she wants a strong peach character.. any help is appreciated..

Jason
Not that I know of.  Start with 2 cans of it(maybe 3 for strong flavor), try it, keep good notes, and adjust up or down on your next batch.
Jon H.

Offline paul

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2013, 06:26:59 AM »
So you already had the answer to your questions? Why are you asking us then?

I do already have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, but I am looking for input.  But if someone's input seems way out of line, can't I question it?

Anyway, thank you all for the input.  I certainly learned a few things.  Based on Big Al's information, it looks like I'm headed for mild fruit character, which is what I'm after.

I wondered about bacteria on the skin, but also thought that the skin is where the aroma seems to be.  The tradeoff seems OK...a little sour twang in this beer might be nice.

I'm still curious how long this might take to ferment out.

Offline gmac

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2013, 06:27:16 AM »
I've tried a few fruit beers and the only way I will even bother to attempt a fruit beer now is with frozen concentrated juice.  Easy to blend, easy to adjust, good taste and no chance of picking up little fruit specks that provide nucleation points when bottled (which may not have happened to anyone else but I had apricot gushers when I made apricot beer on puree).

Offline euge

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2013, 11:53:55 AM »
I'm not planning on doing another fruit beer any time soon but will definitely use the canned purrees next time even though they are expensive. Pretty sure the $$$ required to do a fruit beer properly with "fresh" store bought fruit would cost just as much if not more.

My last fruit beer was 4# of fresh pureed apricots in 4 gallons. I got almost nothing from it and had to add several cans of concentrated juice to even get some noticeable effect.

But ultimately, this is gonna be entirely subjective. I ignored the advice given to me about the amount needed and the batch needed tweaking- which is something I hate doing. Another brewer might have had different conclusions about the affect of the apricots.

The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline jcwhoffman

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Re: Fruit beer questions
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2013, 12:13:50 PM »
I've tried a few fruit beers and the only way I will even bother to attempt a fruit beer now is with frozen concentrated juice.  Easy to blend, easy to adjust, good taste and no chance of picking up little fruit specks that provide nucleation points when bottled (which may not have happened to anyone else but I had apricot gushers when I made apricot beer on puree).

I'm trying to decide what to do still, how much of the frozen concentrate did you need to use? and what flavor was this that you used it for?