For those in Tulsa unfamiliar with fruit beers, there are several varieties available in Oklahoma. Go to BeerTownTulsa.com to see what is available.
Fruit beer cans be very fruit forward or the fruit flavor can be very subtle and enhance the underlying style. Many fruit beers are based on lambic beers which are spontaneously fermented using wild yeast and bacteria to produce a sour character that blends very well with fruits. Other fruit beers use different beer styles such as porters, stouts and cream ales to create a complementary backbone to the fruits that are added to the beer.
To brew a homebrewed version of fruit beers the possibilities are endless. The most asked for recipe at High Gravity is usually a fruit beer that is based on a wheat beer such as Sam Adam’s Cherry Wheat or Pyramid’s Audacious Apricot Wheat. Stouts and porters with bold fruits like raspberries and cherries are very popular as well.
The following recipe is a simple extract recipe that can incorporate fruit extracts or the use of real fruit. If the recipe is using fruit the fruit should be frozen first to break down the cell walls, allowing more sugars from the fruit to be released.
Fruit Wheat beer:
5 lbs Muntons Wheat LME
0.50 lb. 2-Row Pale Malt
0.25 lb. Light Wheat
1.25 lb. Flaked Wheat
.20 oz Magnum pellet hops (Bittering)
1 tsp. Irish moss
2/3 to 3/4 cup corn sugar to prime
Wyeast 1056; White Labs WLP001; US-05
3-5 pounds fruit or 2-4 oz fruit extract
If using Wyeast liquid yeast, activate the yeast 3-5 hours prior to pitching.
Place enough water into a 4 gallon or larger pot to completely cover specialty grains and heat to 150°. Place crushed grains in muslin grain bag and steep at 150° F for 30 minutes. DO NOT BOIL THE GRAINS. Carefully remove the grain bag and allow it to drain into the brewpot without squeezing. Sparge (slowly run water through) the grains with 2 gallons of 170° water. Discard the grain filled bag.
If needed, add enough water to bring to 3 gallons. Add the liquid malt extract. Bring to boil and use the following boiling schedule.
Beginning of boil: Add bittering hops (be sure to place the hops in the muslin hop bag). Bittering hops are boiled for the entire 60 minutes. ****Note: If doing a full wort boil of 6 gallons for the extract or mini-mash version, reduce the bittering hops by 15% to 0.17 oz.
45 minutes into the boil: Add Irish moss directly to the boil.
60 Minutes into the boil: Remove from heat. Discard hops after a few minutes.
Cool the wort rapidly to about 80° F and transfer to fermenting vessel. Add enough cold water to bring wort level to 5 gallons. ****Note: cooling can be done quickly by placing the brewpot in the sink with ice water. Other methods are available to the homebrewer. Ask High Gravity for advice and instructions regarding wort cooling.
- Sanitize a hydrometer and take the Original Gravity reading. Starting gravity may not match exactly. Write down this number for future reference. ****Note: please refer to hydrometer instructions to adjust for temperature variation.
- Carefully open the yeast package and pour into the wort. There is no need to stir. Secure the lid onto the fermenter with the airlock in place (approximately half filled with clean water).
- Place the fermenter in a warm area to maintain a temperature of 66° to 72° F. Keep the fermenter away from sunlight and fluorescent lights. You should notice bubbling in the airlock within 24 hours.
- If using real fruit, after 3-5 days, transfer the beer to a secondary vessel and add fruit. ****Note: when using real fruit, fermentation time will be extended by several days. Expect formation to take an addition 2-4 weeks, depending on the fruit.
- When bubbling has stopped, sanitize a hydrometer and take the Final Gravity reading. If this reading matches the reading specified in your recipe, then go to step J. If the reading is higher than the reading specified in your recipe, place the lid back onto the fermenter and allow the wort to sit a few more days and repeat this step. ****Note: your Final Gravity may not match exactly. The best way to determine whether or not your wort is finished is when the hydrometer reading is the same for 2 consecutive days.
- Thoroughly clean and sanitize the following items using No-Rinse cleanser:
6.5 Gallon Bottling Bucket;
Bottle filling wand;
48 12 oz bottles;
Boil bottle caps in a few cups of water for 5 minutes to sterilize.
In small saucepan dissolve priming sugar in 1 cup clean water and boil for 5 minutes. Pour into the bottling bucket.
If using fruit extract, add the extract to the bottling bucket. Use the recommended usage on the extract bottle.
Siphon beer from the fermenter to the bottling bucket, being sure to leave the sediment behind. The siphoning action should thoroughly blend the wort, extract if used, and the priming sugar. Fill bottles using the siphon tubing connected to the spigot at one end and the bottling wand at the other. Bottles should be filled to one inch from the top. Cap the bottles. Carbonate at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.
Beer will be ready to drink once carbonated but will improve if conditioned for a few months.
High Gravity Homebrewing & Winemaking Supplies
7164 S Memorial
Tulsa, OK 74133