Membership questions? Log in issues? Email

Author Topic: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?  (Read 10364 times)

Offline jindenver

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 6
When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« on: August 04, 2011, 08:50:16 am »
So I'm still pretty much a rookie Homebrewer. I've made 5 different batches, none have skunked and all have come out fairly well, but there's still a lot of stuff I don't know.

I'm assembling a recipe for a Cherry Rhubard wheat to brew this weekend, as I have some fresh organic cherries and rhubard from a local farm I want to throw into the mix. I've got all my hops and yeast and malt selections and everything, but the thing I can't figure out is when to add the fruit. Do I let it steep at ~170F for a time, then remove the fruit and continue with the normal boil, or do I do the same thing but after the boil has completed and I've removed the hop bag? Some recipes even recommend adding fruit only as the beer goes into the fermenter.

What do people recommend here in this forum? I guess I'm not sure how the timing of adding the fruit affects the flavor profile. Will adding later make it stronger?

I made a pumpkin beer last fall and used 10lbs of Fresh pumpkin and let it steep pre-boil and it came out fantastic, so I'm tempted to do the same here, but with rhubarb and cherries being a tart flavor I'm questioning where it should be added to help be able to really taste the fruit flavor. I've got 5lbs of each to add to the beer.


Offline Jimmy K

  • Official Poobah of No Life. (I Got Ban Hammered by Drew)
  • *********
  • Posts: 3643
  • Delaware
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2011, 09:13:12 am »
I would freeze the fruit. This will break apart the fruit cells and help release juice as it thaws. Then put the fruit in post boil so that volitile fruit flavors are not lost during boiling. The hot wort will sanitize the fruit and the juice that is released. Put the fruit in a bag for easy removal.

Be aware that fruit that goes through primary fermentation changes in flavor. Its good - hard to describe the change until you try it.  But if you want really fresh fruit flavor then the beer needs to be aged on fruit after fermentation. This is more of a pain. You'd have to santize the fruit by heating to 170 for 10 minutes, then rack the beer on top and let it age. Fermentation will kick up from the added sugars. Personally, this very fresh fruit flavor is not what I'm looking for in fruit beers. It tastes more like beer with juice added.
Delmarva United Homebrewers - President by inverse coup - former president ousted himself.
AHA Member since 2006
BJCP Certified: B0958

Offline denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 27173
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • Dennybrew
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2011, 09:24:00 am »
When I use fruit, I add it to the secondary, after primary fermentation is finished.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline jindenver

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 11:28:46 am »
@MtnRockHopper that's some great info & advice right there. I tend to like a really fresh fruit flavor in a fruity wheat, but you've given me a great idea for when I can put it in to really impart the flavor.


Offline rjharper

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 646
    • Angry Scotsman Brewing
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2011, 12:27:31 pm »
Dont boil the fruit or you'll set the pectins which will lead to really hazy beer.  I've always gone down the road of freezing the fruit, then adding it to the secondary.

Offline euge

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8017
  • Ego ceruisam ad bibere cervisiam
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 02:52:54 pm »
If you keg then a hop bag full of frozen fruit such as raspberries submerged in the keg pre-carbonation is another way to go. If you drop the bag into a keg that is already carbonated be prepared to close the lid immediately as it will foam over in seconds.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Laws are spider-webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones. -Anacharsis

Offline chezteth

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 608
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2011, 05:55:15 pm »
When adding rhubarb be sure to extract the juice and add the juice to the secondary. Leaving the rhubarb stalks in the fermentor could cause unwanted, excessive bitterness in the beer.

Offline stellaandstout

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 10
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 10:44:53 pm »
I have always added it right at the end of the boil turned off the heat and let it set for 10 mins. I then chill the wort to pitching temp then pour it into the fermenter. I always use a plastic bucket when doing fruit beers it is much easier. Also use a blow off tube or you could have some major problems.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1363
  • Saint Louis, MO
    • The South House Pilot Brewery
Re: When to add a fruit, before or after boil?
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 08:05:09 am »
Lesson learned:

If you're adding fruit to a fermentor (carboy).... PUREE FIRST.

I like to add fruit as a flavorant in the secondary.... but it can be interesting as added fermentables in the primary. You could add a certain amount to reach your target OG (no more than 10-15% of total fermentables), then adjust for flavor in the secondary.

I think that rhubarb shouldnt have too much contact time with the beer to reduce bitterness extraction, as mentioned above.

Good luck! Please post your methods/results!
Twitter/Instagram: @southhousebrew

Recipes, Brett/Bacteria Experiments: