I recently brewed a 6.5% IPA brewed with Galaxy and Equinox. Although the samples tasted great and it smells really good in the fermenter I had set out at the start of the year to try and make more beer, either by brewing smaller batches or by splitting larger batches. With that in mind, I decided to draw off a 1 gallon glass demijohns worth of my IPA and age it on mango. I felt like the mango would really compliment the pineapple and grapefruit aroma and flavour and really turn this beer into a tropical fruit punch. And if not, well at least there’s only four and a half litres wasted.
When I add fruit to beer I usually follow this process;
- Clean and chop the fruit into chunks (with bigger fruits, smaller soft fruits like raspberries I don’t bother to chop).
- Freeze the fruit – this breaks cell walls and allows you to get more fruit flavour into your beer.
- Add the fruit to a large pan with a little bit of water. Heat slowly to 80 degrees C being careful not to burn the fruit.
- Gently mash the fruit into a puree, it should naturally soften as it heats up (though mango is not a particularly fun fruit to do this with!).
- Keep the fruit at 80 degrees C for 10 to 15 minutes to kill off any bugs.
- Cool the puree down to as close to the temperature of your beer as possible and pour it carefully into your secondary vessel. The small neck of a demijohn makes this a real pain.
- With sanitised equipment, syphon your beer on top of the fruit.
When you add the fruit to your beer the sugar in the fruit will cause fermentation to kick up again so make sure you account for this (ie. don’t bottle too early). Use a hydrometer and check for a stable reading over two days before bottling to be sure fermentation is complete.
When it comes to amounts of fruit to add it really depends on how much fruit you want to come through in the beer but there is a really good guide on the Port66 homebrew blog or else pick up a copy of Denny Conn and Drew Beechum’s great book, Experimental Homebrewing.
In my experience, raspberries work really well for fruit additions, as do blueberries. What you want to avoid is fruit with a large water content (watermelon or strawberries for example) as they offer very little flavour for the amount you will have to use. You should also take into account that, like dry-hopping, fruit will absorb some beer and take up space in your fermenter so you should plan for this in your losses.
And speaking of dry hopping, many commercial breweries are now dry hopping beers that they add fruit to. I prefer not to do this as I think it lets the fruit flavour come through more cleanly but if you are after a ‘fruity’ flavour rather than a specific fruit flavour then I would suggest picking hop varieties that have the same flavour or complimentary flavours to your fruit choice. For this beer, I drew my 4.5 litres off before dry hopping the rest of the batch.
Make sure you keep checking back to the blog as I’ll be updating with tasting notes for the mango version of this IPA shortly.
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