As an operator and brewer of home-brewed beer, I choose home-brewed beer not only because of its low cost, but also because of the unrestricted and varied variety and taste. Brewers can brew beers of various flavors and styles according to their own preferences, such as dark beer, red beer, sour beer, chili beer, etc.
Among them, the use of fruit in beer has a long history, but the choice of fruit and how to use it in brewing is very particular. The key points for brewers to consider are the sugar content and pectin content: if the sugar content is too high, it will prolong the fermentation time in order to obtain a dry beer; if the pectin content of the fruit is too high, it may result in a thick milkshake IPA, unless that is what you want.
Common brewing fruits
The most common fruit used in brewing is citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits. Their pulps have high pectin content and low sugar content, so brewers often use the peels instead of the pulp. The peels have a stronger citrus flavor without worrying about sugar and pectin.
Sour citrus peels are a perfect match for sour beers, saisons, and more, creating a light and easy-drinking character. Of course, the flavors of citrus fruits and hops can also be well combined, and many fruit IPAs are born from this combination.
Summer is the ripening period for all kinds of berries, and brewers can’t do without these colorful little cuties. Whether it’s blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries, these berries are low in sugar (less than 10%), not excessively sweet, and have high acidity, which makes them ideal for sour beers and dark wines. Brewers often use a variety of berries to add a little acidity to the body, and the additional sugar can also help when making high-alcohol beers.
Using berries in light-colored beers is a particular challenge because they don’t have the same rich skins as citrus fruits. To bring out their flavors in beer, a large amount of berry fruit needs to be added, and the fermentation time needs to be extended. Alternatively, the juice can be added directly after fermentation is complete.
Ripe apricots in summer are also a good choice for brewing.
A sour beer is perhaps the best companion for apricots, as apricots lack sufficient aroma and can be overwhelmed by strong citrus aromas in an IPA. However, the acidity of apricots really shines in a sour beer.
Passion fruit is an amazing fruit that you may rarely see people eating directly, but it can be found in almost all styles of beer, including IPAs, sours, saisons, stouts, wheat beers, lagers, etc. This is because the intense tropical scent of passion fruit evokes the feeling of summer.
Moreover, passion fruit is very easy to use. It has moderate sugar content, perfect acidity, and extremely low pectin content. Its strong aroma can quickly penetrate into the beer. Enjoying a glass of passion fruit wheat beer or IPA is like enjoying summer.
Don’t worry about whether chili is a fruit or not. In fact, chili brewing has been popular for a long time, and more and more breweries have started to explore it. Adding a little spiciness from chili to heavily hopped beers is an interesting experience. Hops and chili complement each other, making it a perfect choice to cool down the heat and humidity of summer.
In addition, cucumbers, sour lemons, peaches, plums, watermelons… Almost all the fruits you can find in a fruit store have been incorporated into craft beers, just waiting for you to discover them.
The pursuit of fruit by brewers has no end, and combinations that seemed impossible yesterday, such as high-sugar lychees, kiwis, and high-pectin red and black currants, may become popular tomorrow. What fruits and beers have you prepared for yourself in front of the screen?