How to add Fruit to Beer
- Muslin bag/Re-usable Nylon bag
- Small pot to boil water
- Gloves/Hand Sanitizer
- Container for fruit
This guide is to explain the process of adding fruit to a beer. We will discuss how to do this in a sanitary manner.
- If you are using fresh fruit it is strongly recommended that the fruit be frozen for at least 3 days before use.
- Sanitize your fruit using sodium metabisulfite or campden tablets. This will help limit any unwanted microbes from impacting the beer.
NOTE: You must wait 24 hours before using fruit if you have treated it with sodium metabisulfite or campden tablets.
- Allow a day for the fruit to thaw out in your fridge before adding to your fermenter.
Fruit should be added to a beer when its close to being done. Typically you will add fruit to a beer when there are 5-10 gravity points left till completion.
Take fruit from the freezer and let place it in cleaned and sanitized container to thaw in the fridge the day before use.
The day that you are adding the fruit, you will first need to prep your beer. If you are using a carboy or fermentation bucket then you will use a secondary. A secondary is another fermenter that has been cleaned and sanitized. You will transfer the beer from your Primary fermenter and transfer it to the secondary leaving behind the trub.
If you have a fermenter that can dump the trub then you can skip this step. Simply dump the trub from your primary and continue with the steps.
Skipping this step will lead to off flavors in beer, it is often easier to dump some trub than it is to dump a whole batch of beer.
Whether you are using a re-usable nylon bag or a muslin bag you are going to want sanitize it. This small amount of prevention will pay great dividends later.
Take the bags and boil them in a small pot of water for 5mins before use. Keep a close eye and stir regularly to prevent burning. Once removed from the boiling water place them into a sanitized container. You can add some diluted sanitizer but this step is optional and again it would not hurt to be safe.
These next few steps require you to handle fruit and other products that come into contact with your beer. Using rubber gloves or hand sanitizer can help reduce the chance of contamination.
Are you starting to notice a trend in cleanliness?
Pack the bags with the thawed fruit, tie off the bags once they have been sufficiently filled. It is okay to rough up the fruit a little to break it up. Juice and small chunks of fruit will be left behind, you can add the juice but avoid adding the small chunks.
Add the bag to the fermenter carefully making sure not disturb the beer too much in the process. Ensure the bag is fully submerged below the surface. Seal up the fermenter and be proud of a job well done.
Adding fruit to a beer is not exactly rocket surgery and your miles may vary. This guide is to help you do it without risk of contamination and to maximize flavor.