I use a lot of adjuncts in my brewing and there are a ton of ways one can go about adding fruit to their brew. I don’t like to mess with extracts and I don’t really like the way juices work in beer. However adding a little juice to your beer till you get the flavor you want is a good way to test how much you may need to add without spoiling a whole batch. You just want to be sure to use something that doesn’t have added sugars because it will completely through you off.
There are all sorts of considerations when talking about what to do with different fruits but if you’re just looking to get started I have a few recommendations for you.
- Use whole fruits. A lot of the flavors you want from the fruits are in the skin.
- Freeze your fruit first. Freezing burst a lot of the cell walls in the fruit allowing access to more sugars. Whether you’re putting it in the boil or in the fermentor it’s just going to benefit from this. A
- Prepackaged puree/concentrated is just fine. Just don’t get any with added sugars or preservatives.
- If you’re going to add it during fermentation do it in the secondary. The beer environment at this point is a low pH, less oxygen and has alcohol. Which is not a very good environment for other bacteria and yeasts to grow in.
- Don’t squeeze your bags. If you’ve put your juice mush into a muslin bag or similar, just lift and let it drain when you take it out. Squeezing will impart more bitterness than you want to get out of fruit.
- Compliment with hop profiles. I find there are a lot of similarities in hop profiles and fruits. Finding hops that compliment your fruits really help the flavor come across. But don’t overdo your hops!