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Aseptic Fruit Puree in Beer


DAS FRUIT BOOT: The Ins and Outs of Fruiting the F*ck Out of Your Beer

One of the most polarizing movements in recent brewing history is the proliferation of “smoothie-style” fruited sours.  Beers brewed with fruit have obviously been around for over 9,000 years, and we currently have more access than ever to multiple different fruit varieties in various forms.

Many traditional beers, such as fruited lambics, always used fruit as fresh as possible.  This fruit often has a pit or seed to be removed (some are even poisonous) and prepared in ways that maximize surface contact with the beer.  This can be insanely time consuming and can often introduce wild yeasts and bacteria if not prepared or sterilized properly.  Not to mention the time needed to get the character needed and expected for the final product.

The good news is that we have aseptic fruit puree at our disposal!  Aseptic purees give us the ability to have access to fruit no matter the typical harvest times.  They have a much longer shelf life than fresh fruit and don’t require any preparation.  The impact is immediate, although not the same as fresh fruit.  There still are situations where fresh fruit is preferred, especially those where skin contact is sought.  Aseptic purees are processed using only the flesh, so the skin is never in play. 

I find when using aseptic puree, that having an idea of what profile you are looking for well before ordering is incredibly important.  Using inspiration from things that already exist, desserts, candy, other beers, etc.  Figuring out the ratios of how other folks are using them and how they will play with other specific facets of the beer (hops, grist bill, yeast) is great to consider, too.  I also recommend ordering samples ahead of time.  This gives you a great idea of what you’re working with.  Remember that fruit is an agricultural product, so there will be slight variations between batches. 

The next aspect to think about is how much fruit to use.  This is going to be all over the place, and once again, it all comes down to what the end goal is.  The ratios are going to be all over the place.  From 0.5 pounds per barrel all the way to 1/3 plus of the total volume of the beer.  Different fruits will have different usage rates, as their impacts range widely, in terms of intensity.  Examples of these rates can be found on our website.

Another factor to consider is whether to ferment out the fruit that you’re using.  Traditionally, fruit is fully fermented out and added during the secondary stage of fermentation.  The fermentation itself does remove some of the vital characteristics of the fruit, but it does create a shelf stable product.  Leaving fruit unfermented gives the full expression of the fruit, but also creates challenges.  First, it’s difficult to gain “homogenization” as the fruit is often more dense than the beer and gravity will always win.  Second, you are adding fuel for your yeast to use to do what it’s here to do: feed.  There are ways around this (filtration of base beer to remove yeast, pasteurization, sorbates, etc), but we 100% recommend that you use the method of your choice so that you don’t create a potentially dangerous product for the consumer. 

However you decide to use your fruit, we are here as your one stop shop.  We are always working to source the best fruit from around the world at the best prices.  We are always here as your reference point and can answer any questions that you may have about any of our products.  Happy fruiting!

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