Fruit Sour Brewing Techniques
Craft brewers have always been inventive when it comes to creating new beers. One popular style that has seen a recent resurgence is fruit sour beers. While many beer styles rely on a variety of malt and hops for flavor, sour beers get their tartness from added fruits or berries. While this style may seem daunting to novice brewers, with a little bit of know-how, you can create your own delicious fruit sours right at home.
This blog post will outline some of the best brewing techniques you can use to get started crafting your own unique sours today. Brewing sour beers can be a fun, rewarding experience. So, let's get started.
Choose the Right Type of Fruit for Your Beer
The type of fruit you use in your beer can have a big impact on the flavor. That's why you should consider what flavors you want to add to the finished product, as well as the sweetness and acidity of the fruit before brewing your fruit sour beer. For example, using citrus fruit purees will add a tart and acidic flavor, while using berry purees will add sweetness to the beer. Many types of fruit purees can be used in sour beers, including cherries, raspberries, blackberries, blood orange, and plums.
With fruit purees, you do not even need to worry about adding fruit that is in season, because you can get Fierce Fruit purees that are picked at the peak of ripeness. Plus, fruit puree made from 100% natural fruit with no preservatives is the greatest option for brewing smooth, fruit sour beer at home.
Decide on Amount of Fruit to Add to the Beer
This will depend on various variables like the type of fruit you want to use, the amount of fruit flavor you want, the style of beer, and your brewing process. For example, if you wanted to add a large amount of strawberry puree flavor to a beer, you might use a pound of strawberry puree per gallon. On the other hand, if you just wanted to add a subtle hint of raspberry flavor to your beer, only use an ounce or two of puree.
It's also important to consider how much sugar is in the fruit. Too much sugar can cause your beer to be too sweet or even stall your fermentation. One way to determine how much fruit to add is by using the following formula:
- (Total Fruit Weight in lbs) x (Percent Sugar by Weight of Fruit) x 0.75 = Pounds of Sugar to Add
To calculate the amount of fruit to add to your fruit sour beers, simply reverse the calculation:
- (Pounds of Sugar to Add) / (Percent Sugar by Weight of Fruit) / 0.75 = Total Fruit Weight in lbs
Add the Fruit to the Beer Early on in the Brewing Process
Depending on the various brewing techniques available, brewers can add fruit to the beer at different stages in the process. For instance, some brewers might add fruit during the boil, while others might wait until fermentation is complete. There are pros and cons to adding fruit at different stages in the brewing process. For example, adding fruit during the boil can help extract flavors and aroma from the fruit, while adding fruit after fermentation can help preserve some of the delicate flavors and aromas that can be lost during the boiling process.
As a general rule of thumb, brewers should add fruit to the beer early on in the fruit sour beer brewing process if they are looking to extract flavors and aromas from the fruit. If brewers are looking to preserve delicate flavors and aromas, they should add fruit after fermentation is complete.
Use a Quality Yeast Strain That Will Ferment Well with the Fruit
Another critical factor to consider when brewing a fruit sour beer is the yeast strain that will be used. A quality yeast strain that ferments well with the fruit is essential in order to produce a great-tasting beer. There are many different strains of yeast available, so it is important to do some research and choose one that will work well with the type of fruit you are using.
Use a yeast that can handle the acidity and has a high alcohol tolerance. It's also vital to ensure the fermentation process is well-controlled. Fruit sours can be notoriously difficult to ferment, so it is important to pay close attention to the temperature and gravity of the fruit sour beer during fermentation. Keeping a close eye on these factors ensures that your beer turns out exactly the way you want it to.
Monitor Your Beer Closely as It Ferments
As your beer ferments, keep a close eye on it. Check the specific gravity (SG) with a hydrometer or refractometer to see how much sugar has been converted to alcohol. The SG should decrease as fermentation progresses. Fruit sours can be tricky, as sometimes the fermenting fruit will raise the SG. Be sure to take final SG readings after the fruit has been added.
Take pH readings daily with a reliable meter to track how sour your beer is becoming. Fruit sour beers will generally have a lower pH than other styles of beer due to the lactic acid produced by fermentation. Lower pH levels are recommended as they also help to preserve your beer and make it less susceptible to infection.
Enjoy Your Delicious, Homemade Fruit Sour Beer
You've followed all the steps, and now it's time to enjoy your delicious, homemade fruit sour beer. Whether you're sharing it with friends or enjoying it solo, this beer is sure to please. Brewing fruited sour beers can be a great way to explore new flavor combinations and experiment with different brewing techniques. With a little practice, you'll be brewing amazing fruit sours that everyone will enjoy.
To make your brewing process easier, get started with fruit purees made with real, sun-ripened fruits from Fierce Fruit. Our products are non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free, and began. Order ready-to-use fruit purees for your fruit sour beer brewing process and enjoy fresh, consistent quality products at competitive pricing.