Author Topic: Apples in Brown Ale  (Read 180 times)

Offline berry_pride

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Apples in Brown Ale
« on: September 15, 2018, 06:05:45 PM »
In the midst of brewing a fall apple brown ale per the wife's request. I am trying to determine what type of apples to use. I plan on slicing, freezing and then adding during the secondary. Has anyone ever brewed with fresh apples before? What type did you use and what method of adding them? Thanks!
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2018, 12:36:06 PM »
While I have never brewed with real fruit, I can tell you that using fruit, particularly in the secondary, will cause fermentation to continue until all the fermentable sugars from the fruit have been fully consumed.  Brewing with fruit can be a tricky endeavor, so I will also will be interested in learning how other brewers use real fruit. ;)
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 12:55:27 PM »
I know several guys who make great cider, which I do as well, and I also make apple ale.  But I don't know anyone who uses whole apple slices in secondary.  We all use juice.  One guy uses his uncle's apples and juices them himself, and it turns out great.  They are various varieties.  I too have juiced my own, based on whatever I have on hand, which has included Cortland, Mac, Honeycrisp, Gravenstein, Wealthy, and many many others.  To be honest I don't think it much matters what varieties they are.  The real point is that you get the freshest juice.  If you are fortunate to live near several orchards as I do, you can pick up a gallon of different ones from several different places, taste the sweet ciders side by side, and there will always be one or two that stand way out from all the others as having a lot more apple flavor, more or less acidity, etc.  I now go to the same guy every year because his juice is always the best and even better than I can juice myself at home, and I've asked which varieties he uses and it's much the same as mentioned above: Cortland, Mac, Gravenstein, etc. because those are popular around here.  Elsewhere in the nation I might get something else but like I say, it doesn't much matter as long as it tastes fantastic.  If you use mediocre juice, you'll get mediocre hard cider.  But let someone else do the dirty work themselves!  Just buy the juice.  If you don't live near an orchard, your grocery store probably has one or two preservative-free juices that you can use.  I know the national brand Simply Apple has no preservatives and is ~pretty good.  I've actually used it a couple times for topping off the fermenter.

In any case, also, be aware that any apples will add quite a bit of tartness to the beer... so I wouldn't choose a very tart apple on purpose because it can turn the beer downright sour.  Try to pick ones that are more on the sweet side if you can.

I know I'm avoiding your question about "yeah but can I use whole slices?" because I don't think it's a great idea.  They'll take up a ton of space, leave a ton of sludge in the beer.  You'll lose like half the batch being unable to separate the beer from the sludge, OR they won't add any flavor at all but just a hint of tartness to the final beer.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 12:57:02 PM by dmtaylor »
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Offline joe_meadmaker

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Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 02:13:42 PM »
I haven't used apples before, but I've used other fruits multiple times.  There are a couple things to keep in mind.  When adding the fruit you'll want to get maximum surface contact.  You mentioned slicing the apples.  If you go this route, make sure the slices are small and thin.

Another thing is making sure your beer is protected.  You might want to use a campden tablet or two when adding the apples.  This can help prevent oxidation and protect against bacteria or wild yeast if there's anything on the apples.

But I also agree with Dave's comment.  What you're really looking to get from the apples is the juice.  Depending on how much juice you want, it could be a lot of time slicing up apples.  I remember one day I pitted and halved a little over 15 pounds of cherries for a mead.  Two words - never again.  If I was adding apple to a beer, I would definitely do it with a juice or cider.  It will be much easier to control the amount being added.  And definitely be a lot less work.

Offline berry_pride

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Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2018, 04:34:39 PM »
Thank you for the input. What is your suggestion for the amount of juice use? I am brewing a 5 gallon batch and just trying to figure out a good starting point. Would you add it in before fermentation or add it in after fermentation is complete before bottling or kegging? Thanks.
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Offline joe_meadmaker

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Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2018, 05:40:29 PM »
In one of your other recent posts (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=32312.0), Dave posted a link to his apple ale recipe.  Not having done an apple ale before, I would say this is a great starting point for you.  He specifies 1 gallon of cider for a three gallon batch.  So for a 5 gallon batch you would be looking at around 1.6.  The recipe specifies to add the cider at flameout.

Adding it when you rack to secondary would also work.  Just make sure you heat the cider up to pasteurize it and then cool it back down.  Also that the volume of the main batch is small enough that the cider addition will be bringing it up to 5 gallons.

You don't want to add it right before bottling/kegging.  The cider will contain sugars and your fermentation should pick back up again for a little bit.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2018, 06:13:11 PM »
In one of your other recent posts (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=32312.0), Dave posted a link to his apple ale recipe.  Not having done an apple ale before, I would say this is a great starting point for you.  He specifies 1 gallon of cider for a three gallon batch.  So for a 5 gallon batch you would be looking at around 1.6.  The recipe specifies to add the cider at flameout.

Adding it when you rack to secondary would also work.  Just make sure you heat the cider up to pasteurize it and then cool it back down.  Also that the volume of the main batch is small enough that the cider addition will be bringing it up to 5 gallons.

You don't want to add it right before bottling/kegging.  The cider will contain sugars and your fermentation should pick back up again for a little bit.

Yeah, what he said.  :)
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Offline berry_pride

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Re: Apples in Brown Ale
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2018, 11:12:53 AM »
In one of your other recent posts (https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=32312.0), Dave posted a link to his apple ale recipe.  Not having done an apple ale before, I would say this is a great starting point for you.  He specifies 1 gallon of cider for a three gallon batch.  So for a 5 gallon batch you would be looking at around 1.6.  The recipe specifies to add the cider at flameout.

Adding it when you rack to secondary would also work.  Just make sure you heat the cider up to pasteurize it and then cool it back down.  Also that the volume of the main batch is small enough that the cider addition will be bringing it up to 5 gallons.


You don't want to add it right before bottling/kegging.  The cider will contain sugars and your fermentation should pick back up again for a little bit.

Great! Thanks for sharing and the feedback. Ill let everyone know how it pans out.
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