Brewing fruit beer is a great way to add some extra flavor and excitement to your brew. There are many ways to go about it. We’ll walk you through the steps necessary to make a delicious fruit-infused beer. We’ll start with the basics of brewing fruit beer, including how to add fruit, the fermentation process, and more, so you can create a unique and refreshing beer.
1. Choose Your Fruit
Any type of fruit will work, but we recommend adding 100% natural fruit purees. Feel free to experiment! Fruits can be used to add sweetness, acidity, and color to your beer. Some of the most common fruits used in brewing are tangerines, limes, strawberries, and even pumpkins. When choosing fruit for your brew, it’s important to consider how the flavor will change as the beer ages.
For example, cherries will become tarter over time, while raspberries will become sweeter. If you’re not sure how the fruit will taste after fermentation, it’s best to start with a small batch. That way, you can always add more fruit if you want a stronger flavor.
2. Add Your Flavors to the Beer
Don’t overdo it on the fruit. It’s easy to get carried away when adding fruit, but too much can result in an overly sweet beer. Start with a small amount and then taste as you go. You can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it’s in. There are a few different ways to add your fruit or starter:
- Adding fruit during the boil: This is the most common method and will result in a more subtle flavor. To do this, simply add the fruit (chopped or pureed) to the boiling wort for the last 15 minutes of the boil. This will help to sanitize the fruit and also prevent it from clogging your fermenter.
- Adding fruit during fermentation: This will result in a more intense flavor since the fruit will be in contact with the yeast for a longer period of time. To do this, add the fruit (chopped or pureed) to the fermenter after primary fermentation has been completed. Allow it to sit for a few days to a week before bottling or kegging.
- Adding fruit after fermentation: This is the easiest way to add fruit flavor, but it will be the weakest since the beer won’t have any contact with the fruit. To do this, simply add some of your favorite fruit juice or puree to the finished beer before bottling or kegging.
If you want to add some other unique flavors to your beer, you can also try mixing beer with cocktail starters—like flavored syrups or sugar-free syrups—or even mixing alcohol with your beer, such as a shot of whiskey for a whiskey beer (boilermaker).
3. Get the Fermentation Process Right
Fruit beer can be a bit tricky to ferment since the added sugar from the fruit can throw off the fermentation process. To prevent this, it’s important to pitch enough yeast and to keep the fermenter at the right temperature. We recommend using a yeast starter and pitching twice the amount of yeast you would normally use. This will help to ensure a healthy fermentation.
As for temperature, fruited beer should be fermented at the lower end of the yeast’s temperature range. This will help to prevent the fruit flavor from becoming too intense. For most yeast strains, this means fermenting at around 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Here are simple fermentation tips to keep in mind:
- Use a clean and sanitized fermenter: This is important for any type of beer, but it’s especially important for fruited beer since you don’t want to risk contamination. Sanitizing every piece of equipment that you use prevents contamination and ensures that your beer tastes great.
- Transfer the beer to a fermentation vessel: This can be anything from a glass carboy to a plastic bucket. Be sure to leave enough headspace for the yeast to do its work.
- Choose the right yeast: Different yeasts will result in different flavors. For example, using Belgian yeast will add some spicy notes to the beer. Doing a bit of research on the different types of yeast available will go a long way in helping you choose the right one for your beer. Keep in mind that some yeast strains are better at fermenting fruit than others. If you’re not sure which one to use, ask your local homebrew shop or do some research online.
- Be patient: Fruited beer can take a little longer to ferment than regular beer. Be patient and let it ferment until it’s done. Rushing it will only result in a subpar beer.
4. Bottle or Keg Your Fruited Beer
Once fermentation is complete, you’re ready to bottle or keg your beer. If you added fruit during fermentation, you might want to rack (transfer) the beer off of the fruit before bottling or kegging. This is completely up to you and will depend on the type of fruit you used and how intense you want the flavor to be.
If you’re bottling, be sure to use fresh bottles and sanitize them well. Bottling fruited beer is the same as bottling any other beer. Simply fill each bottle with beer, leaving about an inch of headspace at the top. Then, cap the bottles and store them in a cool, dark place until they’re ready to drink. Once ready, get yourself a cooler so you can enjoy your beer anywhere you go.
That’s it! You’ve now brewed a delicious, fruited beer.
Enjoy Your Fruited Brew
Brewing a fruited beer can be fun and easy. The key is having fun, experimenting, and finding what works best for you. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to brewing fruit beers. So go out there, brew some great beer, and enjoy it with your family and friends.