Mango IPA is the most talked about beer in Bangalore. Pune loves strawberry craft beer from Mahabaleshwaram. While Delhi has a fascination towards Honey beers. Today the brewers are making fusion beer by adding fruits, honey and spices to beer. Here, we will talk about some common techniques to infuse these flavors and design your own craft fruit beer recipe.
Ideas for Fruit Wine and Fruit Beer
- Mango: amazing for fruit stout and IPA. You cannot go wrong with mango man.
- Jamun: gives amazing color and body to dark beer. In wine, its deep red color makes amazing full-bodied wine. Do remember that removing the stone is a tedious job. Its seed (Naval seeds) is bitter so gift it to someone suffering from diabetics.
- Orange: We cannot understate Indian’s love for citrus notes. Use with a bit of coriander seeds and wheat malt for the best effect.
- Mulberry Shahtoot: You can pick them in buckets from any silk farm in Karnataka. These fresh berries can be frozen also. It pairs amazingly with Imperial Red Stout.
- Pumpkin: Perfect for hazy Christmas ale. A classic European recipe.
- Strawberry & Litchi Wine and Beer: use about 250gm of juice (2kg of fruit) per liter
- Watermelon wine & beer: Avoid heating this fruit. It has very mild flavors.
- Amla Gooseberry: It is a difficult fruit to work with. However, we can pair it with a prepared beer that has a sweet aftertaste. Astringency from Amla Gooseberry is a great tool for a beer looking to balance a malty beer.
- Pineapple: Frozen or fresh pineapple along with a dash of chili is amazing for all light session beer and white fruit wine. Boiling strips it rapidly of its tropical aromas, hence do flash pasteurization if needed.
- Kokum Passion fruit: It imparts a really lovely red color to wine and a hue to the beer. If you have access to fresh fruit, nothing beats it.
- Try Plums from North East. Apples from Shimla or Pears from Uttrakhand. As long its a locally produced fruit, your patrons will love it. The french call it goût de terroir
Popular Fruit Beer in India
- Orange peel & grape fruit infused wheat or Belgium wit beers. Indian’s love for citrus notes cannot be under rated. In face this style of beer is now synonymous to craft beer in India.
- The most popular fruit beer in India is Mango IPA. It is a slightly hazy ipa full of aromas.
- Almost all sour beer recipes can benefit from infusion of strawberries, cranberry, blueberry or passion fruit. The color and residual sweetness clubbed with the inherent tartness is a killer combination.
- Plums, Hibiscus and aromatic roots can greatly enhance the porter or high alcoholic stout experience. We can further enrich the color of dark beer with the addition of fruits, herbs and flowers.
7 Different Types of Fruit Beer:
- Add fruit directly to the boil: This is the brewer’s first choice. Replace a part of the grain mill with the fruit and add along with hops and spices. Not recommended for fruits like Litchee, watermelon who have very feeble aroma and flavors as the heat will mellow down the flavors further.
- Frozen fruit is an amazing ingredient. The freezing burst opens the cell wall which makes the resulting beer much more clearer, crisp, and aromatic. Also, one can freeze the fruit when the most flavorful harvest is available and use it all year round. However, do remember that frozen fruits take forever to thaw. So it can easily add 1/2 an hour to your mashing process if you don’t de-freeze them before.
- Wine Cider using fresh fruit & Honey: This is a hybrid of fruit wine cider and beer brewing process. Here the flavors are pure and natural. However, the issue is that the natural fruit often introduces new micro-organisms in your brew which can alter the profile drastically.
- Using Tetra Pack juices: Tetra pack juice is the next best thing for home brewer who don’t want to go through the trouble of juicing and sanitizing the fruits. The preservative-free 100% fruit tetra-pack pulpy juice is a better choice. The manufacturer does UHT (Ultra Heat Treatment) before packing them. Hence, we can introduce them directly to the fermentation. Best way to make it is by replacing 30% of water with tetra pack juice.
- Using Puree: The first 2 methods work only if you are adding fruits early on. However, fruits are seasonal. Sometimes brewer sources them late. Sometimes they want to make a good beer better by dry-hopping some fruits. We recommend the puree method for this. Essentially one mashes the fruit into a pulp. Then heat them over a flame for 20-30 minutes. Remember to keep stirring so that the sugars don’t get burnt or caramelized. The idea is to use heat to thicken the juice and kill all the bacteria. After that, we put the pot over an ice bath and chill it to room temperature before adding them to the fermenter.
- Using fruit Chunks: This is completely different from the puree method. Here we use the power of heat/roasting to introduce new aromas and flavors. I cut large chunks of pumpkin with skin. Wrap it in aluminum tin foil and bake them in the oven. You can do the same with pears and apple as well. The heat caramelizes the sugar makes new inverted sugar. Also, the roasting process adds new flavors (like malt roasting). Which helps you make a wonderful fruit ale. Another fruit that benefits from a good roasting is singhara (water chestnut) सिंघाड़ा
- Artificial flavors, colors, and essence. It is good for special purpose theme parties. Commercial breweries, who want to get the flavor essence faster, also use it. However, I prefer natural methods. artificial lemon juice can never mimic the real stuff.
How to Design Fruit Beer Recipe
- How much fruit to use? I typically use between 30-250gm/liter for fruits and 2-5gm per liter for aromatic roots, chili and spices. The ratio that you use depends a lot on how much aroma, color, flavor, and haze you are looking for.
- As a rule, if you have a good base beer that just needs infusion (inside the fermenter) you will use less quantity. If you are adding them in the boil and using fruit to add to the fermentable sugar (reduce grain bill) then one would add more.
- Use the French Press method (picture above). Idea is to mix the ingredients together and allow them to steep for 20 minutes. This helps to figure out the aromas of the interaction between your craft malt, your hops, spices, and fruits.
- Fruits come with sugar. When you ferment, the sugar gets converted into alcohol and more subtle flavors start emerging. This may alter the desired flavor profile a lot. Adding a bit of lactose or unfermentable crystal malt helps in restoring the fruity balance and aromas.
- Spices and fruits can dramatically alter the perceived flavors. Remember Eliachi Cardamom tea is perceived sweeter than regular tea. So choose the pairing wisely.
- Experiment with small batches. Add different fruits in secondary to test out your perfect recipe blend.
- For pepper, chili and spices use 1/3 of what you think is right. Alcohol is able to extract aromatic oils and resins at a very high efficiency. You will sooner realize that it is easier to add spices then dilute it down.
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Fruit Beer vs Cider vs Sour Beer
Unfortunately these three terms are used Interchangeably in India. Technically fruit beer is a malt based alcoholic beverage that also has fruit juice/pulp for flavoring. Fruit cider is technically a made from 100% fruit juice with sugar (instead of malt) to increase the alcohol content.
Sour beer on the other hand are low alcohol beverages that use Lacto-fermentation. This means that sour beer is dominated by lactic acid with slight puckering from the acetic acid. While fruit beer and fruit cider typically have malic acid (fruits), tartaric acid (grapes), citric acid (oranges). Typically in the fermentation process, some calcium carbonate is added to remove out the oxalic acid that is naturally found in fruits. Traditional sour beers require kettle souring for its signature tart taste. However, most commercial sour beers also have 15-20% fruit juice to appeal to the cider and fruit beer market as well. Some practitioners also use kombucha SCOBY in making sour beer to make a boozy kombucha (booch) as well. That is the beauty of craft beer, one is independent to follow their own mind and invent a new recipe style.
Ladies love Fruit Beer
Fruit beers are in Vogue right now in India. They are fast replacing Breezer type of alcoholic fruit drinks and Rum & coke. For parties where having fun is more important than getting drunk, fruit-flavored drinks are replacing cocktails too. Most college student parties open crates of fruit beer. Now people are realizing that fruit beer is more natural. They don’t contain artificial flavors and agents. Hence they are healthier. Also since less hops are used, they tend to be much easier to drink for ladies. The residual sweetness from malt and lactose also appeal to the sweet Indian Palate.
Mango IPA Beer
- 35 Liter Brewzilla
- 4.5 kg Pale Ale Malt Base malt with ~3.5SRM
- 250 gm Biscuit Malt/Victory 28 SRM
- 120 gm Carapills, Dextrine Malt 2 SRM. Improves the mouthfeel of the fruit beers
- 250 gm Crystal Malt Unfermentable sugar for the sweet after taste mouthfeel
- 20 gm Nugget Hops Bittering Hops
- 25 gm Cascade Dual Use Hops
- 30 gm Simcoe Hops Dual Use Hops
- 15 gm Citra Aromatic Hops
- 200 gm Freeze Dried Mango Powder You can replace it with 1Kg of Mango Puree, or frozon mango slices.
- 11 gm American IPA yeast any strain
- This is a single grain infusion recipe. Maintain 50 to 55 Degree Celsius for 60 minutes. Use a hydrometer to check the mashing efficiency periodically.
- Add bittering hops ~30 minutes prior to boil off. This will allow the maximum isomerization of alpha acids
- Add 1/2 of the dual purpose hops 15 minutes prior to the flame off
- Add remainder of dual purpose hops and 1/2 of aromatic hops 10 minutes prior to flame off
- Add the rest of the hops 5 minutes prior to flame off.
- If you are using freeze dried powder, add it 5 minutes prior to flame off. This will kill off all microbes. If you are using fruit puree then use it along with bitter hops. Fresh/frozen fruit chunks can be added along with the grains, so that the fruit aromas and flavors are best extracted.
- Add yeast, kettle fining agent as per your regular process. Secondary fermentation is recommended if you want a clear fruit ale.
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What is difference between cider and beer?
- Ingredients: Beer is made primarily from Malt. Fruit is used as a flavoring or adjunct only. Cider on the other hand is made primarily from Fruit. Both beer and cider can be made into a sparkling alcoholic beverage with a foam. However this is the crux of the differences.
- Process: Beer is Brewed. Heat is used to to convert starch into maltose. Cider on the other hand follows the wine making process. Yeast is added to the fruit juice to ferment.
- Color: The malt especially roasted barley. It can transform the color from pale yellow to brown to even black. Cider unfortunately is made from juices. Typically most cider is pale yellow or straw color (like white wine). Most fruits yield yellow, orange and brown cider. Some special fruit cider like Jamun, Mulberry can even give red, even violet colors.
- Flavors: The malty flavor and bitter hops of beer makes it very flavorful. Cider on the other hand has much watery taste and mouthfeel. Cider unfortunately does not have as many flavors.
- Aromas: Beer Aromas primarily come from Hops. Fruits and Citrus notes are mainly to complement the hops in beer. Cider comes with variety of the fruity flavors from which it was brewed. Most ciders are mulled with a lot of spices.
- Sugar Content: Beer mostly is dry. The residual malt and sugar in beer is very lot. However sweet cider, which most Indian’s like, can have as much as 10% sugar content.
- Alcohol Content: Most beer are 3-5% Alcohol range. Some strong beer can have 7-8% alcohol as well but it is a stretch and those high alcohols are reached using sugars. Ciders can easily have 7-10% alcohol.
- Haze: Most beer esp. lagers are very clear. The hazy beer also are stable colloidal solutions. However most ciders are crisp and clear because they are aged and filtered. The hazy cider are mostly young wine. If hazy cider is bottled, they end up with a sediment in the bottle.
Fruit Beer Market in India
India is gifted with so many unique fruits and spices. It is our duty as a brewer to make seasonal ales enriched with the fruit of the month.