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brianwofford

First time with a fruit beer

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I'm still a newbie, but loving every minute of making my own beer, and I'm getting ready to brew a batch of the rasberry wheat. I have heard that when brewing a fruit beer you need to be careful and keep an eye on the keg during initial fermentation, I was just looking for some details of what to look for that points to signs of the batch going wrong or making an incredible mess.

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Welcome.  Spend some time reading through the forum, especially the stickies at the top of most of the sections.

For a fruit beer, most of us recommend adding the fruit after a week into the fermentation, to get more fruit flavor.  Then let it go another two weeks.  Make sure it's not warmer than 70-72 (the wort, not the room), lower is better.  After 3 weeks, bottle condition at room temp for 4 weeks, chill for 3 days, and enjoy!

It's highly likely that your fruit beer will NOT overflow.  However, placing it on a cookie sheet or inside a plastic tub is a good safeguard.

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Brian, I am currently brewing my first batch of fruit beer (High Test Blue recipe) and just added the two cans of blueberries (after 7 days of initial fermentation) on Friday evening. I had some of the same concerns prior to adding the fruit but it has been just fine. I was definitely perving the brew over the weekend to make sure it wasn't getting too wild but haven't noticed anything more than maybe a slight rise in the krausen and a thicker trub (LBK thermometers read 61 degrees in my basement).

Hope it goes well for you!

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I agree with Rick.  Yeasties are pretty lazy and will start munching on the simple sugars found in the canned fruit quicker than on the malt, so to preserve flavour it is best to add later.  For the most part, Ive given up on fruits and started using extract as the results are more repeatable.

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Thanks for the help, I will take your advice on adding a week into the fermentation. I'll repost after I get it bottled.

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RickBeer,  When adding the fruit puree a week in to fermentation do you mix the wort after adding it?  I know you typically don't stir the wort after sprinkling the yeast on top, so I was not sure here.  Thank you for the advice here.

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No, do not stir the wort  after adding the fruit. pour it in gently and replace the lid as soon as possible..

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I finally got off my butt and am brewing tonight. I'm following the advice and waiting for a week before I add the raspberries. 

How did yours work out?

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I have Northern Brewer's American Wheat that I'll be making and dividing into 2 LBK's.  I've read several review that adding 1 lb. of honey is a good idea but also to add fruit.  I've never used fruit before and was looking for any helpful insight possible.  Thank you in advance.  I've read cherry is a flavor many have liked adding but also lemon is a potential fruit.

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SlickRick07 said:I have Northern Brewer's American Wheat that I'll be making and dividing into 2 LBK's.  I've read several review that adding 1 lb. of honey is a good idea but also to add fruit.  I've never used fruit before and was looking for any helpful insight possible.  Thank you in advance.  I've read cherry is a flavor many have liked adding but also lemon is a potential fruit.

I just did the Cherries Jubil-ale a couple of batches back.

It had 2 cans of cherries. Dark Sweet and Royal Anne (both in syrup) 

I added them at the one week mark in fermentation after pureeing them in a small sanitized Ninja blender. There was some pretty vigorous action afterward (kind of like a second Krausen) but nothing that ever breached the top. 

I cold crashed for about 4-5 days in the refrigerator (propped up with CD cases in the front) after 3 weeks fermentation and then bottled. Just follow RickBeer's instructions in this thread and you're all set. 

The longer I let the beer sit the more the cherry flavor has come to the front. I shot for 2.5 volumes of CO2 w/ 4 TBSP/.25 cup of cane sugar batch primed @ 64 degrees but it seems a tad less carbonated than other batches at the same ratio. On the other-hand the flavors are more prominent because of that. Maybe I just like overly carbonated beers. :-)

I have to say that this has peeked my interest as far as adding REAL fruit to some of my future beers. I'm now on week 10 conditioning. Here's tonight's "sample".

It's definitely "lawn mower" thirst quenching passable. I'll say that.  

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.   

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This really is uncharted territory for me.  With my American Wheat Ale, I'm thinking of splitting the 5 gallons into two LBK's.  Then adding this:  I'm actually considering adding honey and wondered if NB's Orange Blossom Honey might be nice. Here is the link:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/cali ... honey.html

Secondly, I wanted to split this into two fermenters in order to add peach to only one of them. Would NB's Peach Puree be a good choice? Here is the link:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/oreg ... puree.html

The honey size is 3lbs but I'm assuming I only need to add 1.5-2lbs of honey. Anyone care to plug that in to QBrew or Beersmith for me? How would that affect the American Wheat Ale's ABV? Similarly, I'm not sure how much of the peach puree I should use if I'm only adding that to 2.5 gal instead of the full 5 gal. Any advice from brewers who have used fruit? I fear overpowering the beer if I split it in two and add all of that fruit flavor.

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SlickRick07 said:This really is uncharted territory for me.  With my American Wheat Ale, I'm thinking of splitting the 5 gallons into two LBK's.  Then adding this:  I'm actually considering adding honey and wondered if NB's Orange Blossom Honey might be nice. Here is the link:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/cali ... honey.html

Secondly, I wanted to split this into two fermenters in order to add peach to only one of them. Would NB's Peach Puree be a good choice? Here is the link:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/oreg ... puree.html

The honey size is 3lbs but I'm assuming I only need to add 1.5-2lbs of honey. Anyone care to plug that in to QBrew or Beersmith for me? How would that affect the American Wheat Ale's ABV? Similarly, I'm not sure how much of the peach puree I should use if I'm only adding that to 2.5 gal instead of the full 5 gal. Any advice from brewers who have used fruit? I fear overpowering the beer if I split it in two and add all of that fruit flavor.

QBrew is free and downloadable by anyone.   Get QBrew here

Can't comment on either that honey or the peach puree, never used either of those.  However, adding 1.5 - 2 lbs of honey to a 2.5 gallon batch is excessive.  You should do some reading regarding the amount of adjuncts vs. malt here, which is a sticky on the first discussion forum.  You should also read about the impact of honey - ABV and taste (little to no honey taste, dry finish), and learn about honey malt if you want honey taste.  Most 5 gallon recipes call for a pound...

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Right, I should explain that it's a 5 gallon recipe that I will split into two LBK's.  So the honey is for the entire batch, the puree would be used in only 1 LBK.  I've read on the NB site that several people have added 1.5-2lbs of honey for their American Wheat Ale 5 gallon kit.  I have never used honey in a recipe, nor added fruit before in at the primary fermentation phase.  I guess that's my main question.  Not being familiar with honey and it's affect on the overall ABV, how much would I use on a 5 gallon recipe?  Then that fruit puree, how much would I add to just the 1 LBK? 

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SlickRick07 said:Not being familiar with honey and it's affect on the overall ABV, how much would I use on a 5 gallon recipe?  

To find the effect on ABV, download QBrew and see for yourself.

If you're adding honey to raise ABV, and that's your sole purpose, you aren't brewing smartly - raise ABV by adding LME or DME instead.

If you're adding honey to add honey flavor, do some reading as I suggested on using honey malt instead, since honey doesn't add much flavor and dries the beer out.

SlickRick07 said:Then that fruit puree, how much would I add to just the 1 LBK? 

As I said, I've not used that fruit additive from NB so I can't comment.  Mr. Beer recipes for 2.13 gallon batches, add 1 or 2 cans of Oregon fruit, which are 15 oz cans.  However, how much fruit is in them and how much ferments, as compared to their peach puree, I have no idea.

I guess I'm wondering if you're brewing a NB kit with additions recommended on the NB site, why you're not focusing your questions to them vs. posting them on a New Brewer and FAQ forum for Mr. Beer?  I'm sure it's widely discussed on the Northern forum.

To me, if you've never added either, you shouldn't be doing what you plan.  You should make the kit, like you make a Mr. Beer kit, AS IS.  Then, you make it with honey (or fruit) and compare the two.  That way you learn the impact.  Having never used honey or fruit, or brewed this kit, you're playing with too many variables IMHO.

FYI, I've put honey in 5 gallon batches and never exceeded ONE pound.  Two is still excessive in my book.  And I'd again recommend you read that thread and calculate the amount of honey and fruit vs. other fermentables and see how you come out.

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@rickbeer, I appreciate the help and insight.  I actually have posted this on NB's site as well.  There isn't a great deal of info on it, but the posts I did receive all recommended the honey/fruit additions.  The recommendations weren't specific on amounts which is more of what I was inquiring about.  I've posted a similar question over there but have yet to get the responses I need.  I do mostly MB kits so was hoping for more of the great insight I've gained over here on past brews. 

Typically I really have went with the tradition of brewing the kit as is and run with it.  As I'm sure you're aware, those NB kits are 5 gallons.  I simply thought it might be fun to add them to two LBK's and tweak one.  Being summer, I would love to try peach as it's one of my favorite fruits.  I did look at the MB site for fruit additions but did not see any that were for peach. 

The honey isn't for taste but for ABV and crispness.  The original kit comes in at 4.4% ABV.  It would be nice to bump that at least a little. 

Again, I appreciate the input.

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Being summer, I would love to try peach as it's one of my favorite fruits. I did look at the MB site for fruit additions but did not see any that were for peach.

Not sure how you feel about using extracts but they make life a lot easier when it comes to getting the flavor and aroma. It is cheaper than two cans of fruit and is easy to adjust for volume and/or taste. Basically, you add it while batch priming and your done.

I like my fruit beers a bit on the heavy side so I typically adjust up about 1/2 ounce on a 2.5 gallon batch.

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ANR, great info.  How much would be a good starting point for the 2.5 gallon batch?  Doing it during batch priming is appealing as I always batch prime.  I could simply just add the extract in once I split the 5 gallons as I prime.  I read on the reviews someone added the entire bottle of the peach extract with horrible results.  I'm definitely going to be on the safe side and add a little at a time.

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SlickRick, I use Brewer's Best extract (LD Carlson) and the peach calls for 4-5 ounces per 5 gallon batch. I would recommend using about 2 ounces for a 2.5 gallon recipe and then go from there. The extract bottles (at least the ones that I am buying) are 4 ounces so it's pretty easy to split it and get two batches out of it.

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I sure wish they would include better instructions with the refill kits!  I added the fruit right away as there was nothing that said to wait.  Is there anything I can do with this?  I sure do not want to hear I will have a ruined batch!

Thanks,

Brian in MI

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Your good Lancerdad, the only think that will happen is you won't pick up as much flavor from the fruit from the fermentation blowing out the flavor along with CO2. BE SURE to keep the temperature of the wort under 70 deg. preferably 66-68.

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I think Mr. Beer does themselves a disservice with respect to the instructions such as encouraging short fermentation, etc.  Thank goodness for forums! 

Most likely they have you add the fruit right off the batch to help the noobs.  If it said to add after the first week, a goodly percentage would most likely open the fermenter, plop the fruit in, and start swishing it around with an unsanitized spoon after sneezing several time into it while perving.

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