It’s the middle of summer, and what better way to cool off on a hot day than to grab a nice cold homebrew! You probably aren’t reaching for a heavy IPA or a dark porter style beer in this situation, and if you’re like me you might prefer something with a nice, refreshing, fruity flavor. There are a few different ways to add that fruity twist to your brews, and today I want to let you know how!
The first method that many people use to add hints of fruit to their beers is pretty simple: they add hops! As I discussed in one of my previous blog posts, hops can add many different notes to your beer including fruity and citrus-like flavors. Some of my favorite hop varieties like citra and cascade are perfect for this, but there are many hop options available to you.
Now if you want to add some real fruit to your beer, this is a great option as well. Adding fresh whole fruit, frozen fruit, or fruit puree are all great options for incorporating real fruit into your next recipe. Many people add these ingredients to the secondary fermenter, and it can be beneficial to put the fruit in a muslin sack so that the fruit particles are more contained and don’t end up in your final product.
If you choose to try the real fruit method, then I highly suggest that you sanitize your fruit before adding to the secondary fermenter. This can be done by putting the fruit in some water and bringing the mixture to approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes. If you use this method, it is best to allow the fruit to cool before adding it to the fermenter. Taking this step can also be beneficial because it begins to break down the fruit membranes and allows more of the flavor to be released.
The last method I will discuss for adding fruity flavors to your beer involves the use of fruit extracts. This highly concentrated ingredient can add a lot of flavor to your finished beer with less than five fluid ounces per five gallons of beer! Since fruit extracts are so potent, I highly suggest that you start with a little bit and taste the beer before adding more.
The best time I’ve found to add fruit extracts to your beer is during packaging. I like to combine the extract with my priming sugar and then place this in my empty and sanitized bottling bucket. Then you simply rack your beer from your fermenter into the bottling bucket, and the swirling motion of the beer will adequately mix the extract and priming sugar into your beer. I have used this method to make a raspberry wheat beer and it turned out great! Keep an eye out for my future post which will review my raspberry wheat and provide you with the recipe.
Do you add fruit to your beer using a method that hasn’t been discussed in this post? Comment below! If you’ve been following my blog up to this point, then you know that we’ve now gone over all of the basic ingredients used to make beer at home. This post on fruit flavoring wraps up my first blog series, “Basic Ingredients,” where I’ve talked about grains, extract, hops, water, and yeast! I hope you enjoyed this first series, and I’d love to see any comments that you may have. If I left out a key ingredient that you’re interested in, or you want to know more about anything I have talked about, reach out through the comments section below or contact me directly using the “Questing/Comments” tab!
Keep an eye out for my next series on “Basic Equipment” as well as some reviews and recipes from my personal experience. Until then, cheers!