Author Topic: wheat beer with fruit  (Read 694 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

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wheat beer with fruit
« on: December 13, 2015, 06:34:26 PM »
What are some tricks to make the best possible wheat beer with fruit (say raspberries, blackberries...). Main problems:
- no head
- all fruit sugars ferment away, so remaining taste is sourness...
Frank P.

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Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2015, 12:47:15 AM »
What are some tricks to make the best possible wheat beer with fruit (say raspberries, blackberries...). Main problems:
- no head
- all fruit sugars ferment away, so remaining taste is sourness...

The wheat should help with the head, and raspberries and blackberries should leave some residual flavor even after the sugars are consumed. Conventional wisdom suggests fruit with rinds such as oranges that contain pectin can negatively affect head retention, but I haven't ever had that problem.

I've had good luck with fruit purees, and you should probably freeze and thaw fresh fruit before adding to the fermenter. A three pound (1.5 kg) can of fruit puree will give a wheat beer a subtle fruit flavor. More puree, more flavor

To me, all the flavor concentrates taste chemically, but my wife likes the blueberry extract, no more than 2 oz. in five gallons of beer.
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Offline fmader

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2015, 09:49:31 AM »
I've not used raspberries in a wheat beer, but I have made a raspberry ale before. It turned out really well. I used 6ish lbs of raspberries in a 5 gallon batch. The beer was a beautiful color. Wait until primary fermentation is complete and rack onto the fruit in a secondary. A bucket is better. Also, bag the berries in a paint strainer bag. Another trick is to freeze and thaw the berries. This breaks down the membranes of the fruit.

I've done a peach wheat with fresh peaches. It wasn't good. It tasted very mudded.

Every July I brew a cherry stout with about 10 lbs or tart montmorency cherries. This beer is killer.

I've also brewed a tart cherry wheat using a high quality cherry concentrate. This is not an extract, but a concentrate. http://www.shorelinefruit.com/cart/6/cherry-concentrate/-cherry-bay-orchards-tart-montmorency-cherry-concentrate---32-oz . This also goes in the secondary. This made a really good beer. I've also seen nice concentrate at my local farmers market too for roughly the same price.

I've made a lemon wheat with just using zest. It was a refreshing summer beer.

The key to keeping the fruit flavor is by adding the fruit at secondary fermentation. It is a true secondary fermentation, because you will get a secondary fermentation lol. But the fruit flavor won't get blown away as it would in the primary. When adding actual fruit, save a headache and bag it. I've never had an issue with head retention.
Frank

Offline fmader

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 10:01:43 AM »
I found a pick of my raspberry ale. I had it on tap last Christmas.

Frank

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 10:23:26 AM »
My theory is that head retention is more difficult when bottling fruit beers compared to kegging. At least that was my conclusion earlier this year when my French saison with blood orange had very little to no head.

As to residual sweetness: the yeast cuts through the fruit sugars leaving only flavor and acidity behind. Not sure how to optimize that. Crystal malts don't seem appropriate for this style, and I don't think mashing higher will do a lot.
Frank P.

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Offline pete b

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2015, 01:09:34 PM »
+1 to frozen and thawed fruit in a paint bag or puree and no extract. Acidity is part of the flavor of the fruit so maybe its not a bad thing. I think the mouth feel,carbonation, and sweetness of a wheat beer all offer a counterpoint to acidity. As to head retention, I'm not sure that your experience with one fruit beer is indicative of fruit hurting head retention but maybe others have the same experience.
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Offline Stevie

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2015, 02:39:06 PM »
How warm did you ferment the saison? In my experience, I find the higher temps that people prefer, produce poor head retention due to higher alcohols. As the beer ages and those alcohols breakdown, the head retention issue goes away.

Offline brewinhard

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2015, 02:47:16 PM »
I try to use fresh fruit when possible providing it is not overly expensive, in season, and of good quality.  When I can't source fresh, I will use purees to great success.  Add the fruit/puree to a secondary fermenter and rack your beer from primary on top of the fruit.  Allow to ferment for 3-4 wks to absorb maximum flavor/aroma from the fruit addition.  Cold crash prior to packaging.

Don't be afraid to kick up the flavor/aroma of the finished product with a high quality extract (think Olive Nation here) if it is lacking for your tastes. 

Still worried about too much acidity in the final product from all or most of the fruit sugars fermenting out?  Here are some suggestions for you-

1.  Don't use fruits that are high in acidity (i.e. raspberries, apricots, etc).  They might be too tart for your base beer.

2.  Add a small amount of lactose to your boil kettle to combat the potential acidity produced by the fruit.  You only need a small amount and will help to create a sweeter, fuller mouthfeel that you may be looking for in this style. 

Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2015, 03:30:56 PM »
How warm did you ferment the saison? In my experience, I find the higher temps that people prefer, produce poor head retention due to higher alcohols. As the beer ages and those alcohols breakdown, the head retention issue goes away.

Haha you hit the nail on the head with this one! Another homebrewer on the Dutch forum was complaining that he tasted high alcohols and had no head retention. So lower fermentation temperature will solve these two problems?

As to my saison, I'm pretty sure fermentation was ok (have made similar French saison without orange), but retention problems were caused by tiny bits of orange peel in the bottles.
Frank P.

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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2015, 03:31:42 PM »
Add a small amount of lactose to your boil kettle to combat the potential acidity produced by the fruit.  You only need a small amount and will help to create a sweeter, fuller mouthfeel that you may be looking for in this style.

Seems like a good idea. Any suggestion on order of magnitude?
Frank P.

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Offline Stevie

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2015, 04:21:46 PM »

How warm did you ferment the saison? In my experience, I find the higher temps that people prefer, produce poor head retention due to higher alcohols. As the beer ages and those alcohols breakdown, the head retention issue goes away.

Haha you hit the nail on the head with this one! Another homebrewer on the Dutch forum was complaining that he tasted high alcohols and had no head retention. So lower fermentation temperature will solve these two problems?

As to my saison, I'm pretty sure fermentation was ok (have made similar French saison without orange), but retention problems were caused by tiny bits of orange peel in the bottles.
If I want a saison that I can drink right away, I use the lower temps with 3711. If I am bottling, I will let it climb into the upper 70's and let it age in the bottle. Both have their merit, just depends on what you are looking for and how quick you want it to be drinkable.

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2015, 04:41:02 PM »
You could add baking soda post-fermentation to raise the ph without a significant flavor change.
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Offline brewinhard

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2015, 07:51:36 PM »
Add a small amount of lactose to your boil kettle to combat the potential acidity produced by the fruit.  You only need a small amount and will help to create a sweeter, fuller mouthfeel that you may be looking for in this style.

Seems like a good idea. Any suggestion on order of magnitude?

For a 5 gallon batch I would not go over 8 oz. 6 oz would be a good place to start depending on the acidity of the fruit you are using. 

Offline duboman

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Re: wheat beer with fruit
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2015, 02:15:57 AM »
I found a pick of my raspberry ale. I had it on tap last Christmas.


Wow, that looks delicious!! Saw your comment on the peach wheat you made, try using 10lbs of apricot puree next time. Surprisingly apricots taste like peach in the finished beer and retains its flavor much better!

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