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Adding Fruit Prior or After Lagering?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by koopa, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    Been planning on making a pineapple kolsch beer for a long time now. Nothing like creating a delicious middle finger to the German Purity Law! Will be doing so in the spring when Pineapple is in season. Am going to chunk, freeze, thaw, puree, and add to secondary. Only thing I haven't figured out is whether I should lager FIRST then add the fruit or ferment on the fruit THEN lager?

    If I add the fruit first, I'm worried the flavor contribution might mellow after the 6+ week lagering period I like to utilize for my kolsch beers. If I lager in secondary first, will it be bad to then add the fruit to the carboy rather than racking the beer onto the puree? Will it be a problem to take a beer that has cold conditioned for 6+ weeks then warm it up to allow the fruit to ferment?
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    I've never fruited a lager, but from a process standpoint, I would probably do it before lagering. But if you do it after lagering, I would rack onto the fruit, leaving behind everything that settled out and precipitated out during lagering. Otherwise, you'll be mixing that stuff back in.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Champion (930) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009 Verified

    People have successfully bottle conditioned lagered beers without adding additional yeast, so I suspect this would be possible. One thing that would concern me though would be a relatively low cell count (post lagering) fermenting a significant amount of sugars from the fruit, which means there might be significant propagation going on, which is generally less desirable in lagers.
  4. I would definitely fruit before lagering. Fruit, ferment, crash cool, rack, lager is how I'd do it.
  5. koopa

    koopa Champion (835) New Jersey Apr 20, 2008

    And probably just do the lagering in the keg then to keep the transfers to a minimum right? I'll primary in primary, rack onto the puree in secondary, then rack to a keg and do a 6+ week cold condition...
  6. Exactly.