I tasted a great IPA with mango and apricots (IIRC) on the beer BOS table at the NHC. I think there are a couple people here that might be able to help you out with that one. HINT HINT. (Translation: I'd like the recipe too!!)
I appreciate the compliment.
Here is the base beer which is simply an IIPA. We weren't setting out to make a fruit beer per se. The 1272 does leave a bit of sweetness that 1056 doesn't and I think that made it a better base for a fruit beer than a bone dry IIPA.
6.5 gallons post poil (I use whole hops on a false bottom, this gets about 5 gallons into the keg I dry hop in and 4.5 in the serving keg)
84% Weyermann Pilsner (probably about 1%-2% of this was actually acid malt to adjust the pH, I would have to check my handwritten notes at home)
8% Orange Blossom Honey at flameout (had this laying around from mead making, not sure it is a huge part of the beer, wouldn't go buy it at Dean and Deluca or anything as sugar would likely work).
RO water with 1 tsp CaCl and 2 tsp CaSO4 per 5 gallons.
2 Northern Brewer HopShots at 60 minutes.
2 oz CTZ, 1.5 oz Amarillo, 1.5 oz Centennial, and 3 oz Simcoe after flameout and hot steeped/whirlpooled for 30 minutes
2 oz Simcoe, 1.5 oz CTZ, 1 oz Amarillo and 1 oz Centennial dry hop at 68-72 F for 7 days. Dry hopping was carried out in a keg which was shaken to agitate the hops whenever it is walked by (a few times a day).
2 Liter stir-plate starter of Wyeast 1272, pitched at 62 and fermented at 68.
So initially how this came about was that we were taking a break from bottling for the first round and I had a glass of the beer above. We had just purchased a product called Mio which is something you squirt into water to make a Kool-Aid or Crystal Light type beverage in the Apricot Peach flavor. We had an extra first round entry (we made a conservatively high number as they were clearly closing out and we weren't quite sure what we were sending yet) that we would otherwise send something pretty marginal in, so we mixed up some of that and sent it. The fruit flavor was pretty artificial and it added too much sweetness, but it wasn't bad. Miraculously, this slipped through what must have been a weak fruit beer category down in Dallas.
We rebrewed the IIPA for the second round. With the reliance on late and dry hops it is pretty aromatic but not very shelf stable. We definitely wanted to do a bit better for the second round. We held onto the option of using actual fruit but also considered other options. After some research online I ordered Peach and Mango extracts from Olive Nation. We experimented with these in other beverages and they add no sweetness and have very natural flavors so we decided to proceed with the extracts.
The extracts were added to taste. Actually my wife did this while I was in Japan so she probably deserves most of the credit as this obviously makes or breaks the beer. It was 5 drops of peach and 12 of Mango in 48 ounces out of a standard drugstore eyedropper.
So the moral of the story is:
1. The base IIPA recipe is pretty good.
2. I am embarrassed about what we entered in the first round and was surprised that it got through and the base beer did not.
3. I am proud of what we entered in the second round and I wholeheartedly recommend the Olive Nation products. I've gotten homebrew shop extracts in the past and I think the character of these is much more like natural fruit.
As for why we used Pilsner malt, we found out we were out of domestic malt on brew day. I will likely continue this in the future as one of the challenges with a really hoppy IIPA is getting malt to come through without just adding a bunch of crystal malt. I think the Pilsner has a richer flavor that cuts through better. I might blend Pilsner with domestic next time (I know Tasty and some other people have been doing this for a while, I am late to the game).