Using Fruit in Brewing April 29 2015

Planning to use fruit in your next brew? A pineapple wheat for lounging on the deck or a cherry smoked imperial stout for winter, perhaps. Well, here's some things to consider:

  • Try freezing the fruit first, then gently smash and add to the secondary fermentor. Freezing bursts the fruit's cell walls, making the sugars more readily accessible to your beer yeasties!
  • Add some unfermentable sugar along with the fruit (or prior to bottling). A sugar like lactose or sweeteners like xylitol or nutri-sweet work. Start with just a bit, then add more to taste if needed. This will bring back some of the sweetness we expect from fruit, sweetness that's no longer present in the finished beer since all that sweet fructose will be eaten up by your beer yeasties!
  • You could also use a fruit flavor extract to supplement the actual fruit. A little goes a long way.
  • Expect any addition of fruit to restart fermentation, so have your blow-off tube or extra head space in the fermentor ready!