FRUIT TO YOUR BEER AND MEAD
Adding fruit to your organic beers is easy.
The main consideration is how to kill unwanted organanisms in
the fresh fruit without overcooking the fruit or adding unwanted
chemicals. The easiest way to do this is by pasteurizing. Berries
(all types), apples, plums, apricots, cherries, grapes, and kiwi
fruit are all great fruits to use.
To add fruit in the primary fermentor:
The fruit will be added to the brew pot
after the boil is complete and before the wort has been chilled.
Wash and pit the fruit, and mash with a potato masher, or use
a food processor. When your beer has reached the end of the boil,
turn the heat off and wait until the wort has cooled to about
200 oF. Once it has cooled, add the fruit pulp and
replace the lid on the brew pot. It is important that the fruit
is not boiled-
this will release the pectins in the fruit which could cause
haze problems in the finished beer. Allow the wort to stand for
a full twenty minutes. If adding a large amount of fruit you
may want to check the temperature: if it falls below 160 oF
you will need to carefully add heat. If you do this, watch the
carefully to make sure the heat is not raised above 180 oF. Use
a sanitized spoon to stir the mixture- this will help to distribute
the heat more evenly. After 20 minutes proceed with chilling
the wort as you usually do. To get the most out of the fruit
it is a good idea to leave the pulp in the beer during the primary
fermentation, and then rack the beer off the fruit into a secondary
fermenter after the primary fermentation.
add fruit to the secondary fermentor:
If you add fruit in the second stage of
the fermentation, the fruit flavors are usually more pronounced.
To do this, prepare the fruit as described above. If you do not
want to transfer the beer after the secondary fermenter, you
may want to strain the pulp after you mash it. You may want to
add a small amount of water if the juices from the fruit are
not sufficient to make a consistancy that is easily stirred.
On a low flame, carefully raise the temperature of the fruit
pulp to 180 oF, stirring frequently. Cover and let
rest for 20 minutes. Cool it down and add the pulp to your secondary
Allow the beer or mead to ferment for an additional 1 to two
option is to add the fruit without pasteurization. This can be
done successfully in the secondary
fermenter if the beer is relatively high in alcohol (over 5%
by volume), and if you take great care in cleaning the fruit
and all utensils use in pulping it. This method can introduce
wild yeast or unwanted bacteria to the beer, especially if the
skins of the fruits are added with the pulp. As a further precaution,
campden tablets (sodium or potassium metabisulfite) can be used,
but these add sulfites to the beer or mead.