anyone ever add citrus fruits to beer?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by newk340, Mar 24, 2012.

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  1. newk340

    newk340 Initiate (0) May 29, 2010 Wisconsin

    just wondering if anyone has ever added citrus fruits (ie. lemons, oranges etc) while homebrewing? if so do you just add juice, zest, whole fruit? and when would you suggest adding it (primary/secondary)? thanks for the suggestions!
  2. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (569) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    I've used orange zest, lemon zest and grapefruit zest with good results. Blood oranges are my favourite. How much is subjective, but I generally use the zest of two or three of the smaller fruits and the zest of just one grapefruit in a five gallon batch. I find that adding the zest to the fermentor after vigorous fermentation has ceased gives the best results.
  3. naterock

    naterock Initiate (0) Jan 31, 2008 Missouri

    I just did a witbier with Tangelo peal, and lemon peal. I used about an ounce total in the boil and flameout. turned out well.
  4. rmalinowski4

    rmalinowski4 Disciple (329) Oct 22, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    How do you sanitize the zest before adding it in?
  5. mjryan

    mjryan Zealot (569) Dec 22, 2007 Minnesota

    Wash the fruit well and swab it with alcohol. Use something like Starsan for the zester and bowl that will hold the zest. I suppose you could soak the fruit in Starsan as well, but I've never tried that.
    alanbw likes this.
  6. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,328) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    If you mean something like isopropyl alcohol, this would be a bad idea IMO. Open a bottle and smell it. I wouldn't want that in my beer, even at the miniscule amounts that would be residual on the fruit.
  7. Donerik

    Donerik Initiate (0) Dec 22, 2008 Michigan

    I put the fleshy part of 2 mango's into a gallon of citra IPA, It smelled amazing but the mango didn't overcome the refermentation. I should have used a riper fruit.

    When adding fruit you want them at their most perfectly ripe when the fruit is as juicy and flavorful as possible.

    Also process has alot to do with results, when I did this O2 was more of a problem in my proccess. Now that I keg I have CO2 on hand. O2 drives off delicate aromatics in my experiance.

    I also made a ginger saison, I cleaned the ginger, peeled it and the grated it with a sanatized grater, I then put acked it into a small canning jar and soaked it in vodka for a week, the vodka was minimal, less than an oz per ounce of of ginger. Worked great, preserved the ginger aromatics. If you want to read more about it my blog links from my profile. The process and a review of it are there.
  8. rmalinowski4

    rmalinowski4 Disciple (329) Oct 22, 2010 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Could you use capmden on fruit? Give it a soak for an hour or so in a water solution? Of course this would only be for anything post boil. Anything going into the boil will get taken care of by the heat.
  9. H-Minus

    H-Minus Initiate (0) Mar 18, 2012

    I finished a Gluten Free Beer with great results. I made my own Belgian candied syrup with corriander and spices. Basically I successfully made a Glutard Beer that tastes a lot like a Blue Moon. The fruits I used were Cuties, you know, the oranges. I used 3 whole peels for the zest and then used one whole cutie during the second fermentation to give a bit more citrus flavor.
  10. blacklabelbrewer

    blacklabelbrewer Initiate (0) Jan 27, 2011 California

    I have been reading a lot of recipes that call for half an orange or etc. at 5 mins before flameout, unsanitized. Has anyone tried this method with successful results?
  11. molzman

    molzman Initiate (0) Jan 25, 2006 Virginia

    I did a hoppy american pale ale with grapefruit and it turned out great. I added four sliced up white grapefruits in secondary.
  12. StuporJew

    StuporJew Initiate (0) Nov 21, 2012 Texas
    Beer Trader

    I recently used almost 2 pounds of blood orange in a bier de garde, fruit and zest, and added to primary at pitching time, with minimal results. Added some light honey-type notes, and a hint of citrus, but not as much as i wanted. I'm wary of adding anything during the boil due to the tiny amounts of residual pith that I may miss... Anyone have success adding after Krausen, or in secondary???
  13. Ford

    Ford Defender (692) Sep 8, 2012 Texas
    Subscriber Beer Trader

    I only use primary for fermentation... doing small batches (2-2.5 gallons) so I generally go 3-4 weeks in primary before bottling... I'm planning on making a Blackberry ale this spring... the wild berries around here are almost ready...

    My plan is to drop them into the primary with about a week to go... in a small nylon bag...

    Anyone go this route? Or anything I should be weary of?
  14. thewrongtone

    thewrongtone Initiate (0) Oct 15, 2006 Texas

    I would worry about acetic acid bacteria on the surface of fruit. Plus, I think you would get better results from mashed or puréed blackberries.

    In cooking, it is common knowledge that the majority of citrus flavor comes from oils in the zest, not the juice or fruit itself.
  15. firstthenlast

    firstthenlast Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2013 Massachusetts

    What about freezing fruit to sterilize it? Thats what they do to sushi after all?? Just thought of that now.
  16. jae

    jae Initiate (188) Feb 21, 2010 Washington
    Beer Trader

    Whole kumquats at knockout. Didn't add much.
  17. koopa

    koopa Poo-Bah (1,825) Apr 20, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    I did that a few weeks ago with some citrus fruits I zested and added to a witbier in secondary. 1oz of zest per 5 gallons gave it an amazing nose. No signs of infection at this time, but the keg probably won't last long enough for that to happen anyway.
  18. Ultra-Plinian

    Ultra-Plinian Disciple (370) Mar 1, 2013 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    I used 3 whole grapefruits in a DIPA that I made. First, I peeled the grapefruits and used only the peels at 10 minutes before flame out. Then I took the 3 grapefruits and put them in the freezer, while the beer was in Primary ferment. The day before secondary, I thawed out the grapefruits, so that I wasn't adding extremely cold the to secondary to shock the remaining yeast. I sanitized with SO2 my blender and added the 3 grapefruits to puree them. I took a mesh bag and poured the full blender through this. All the juice went into the secondary and then I tied off the mesh bag and added to the secondary. I left this bag in secondary along with my dry hops for 5 days. The result was a DIPA that was both bitter and sour and had wonderful grapefruit aromas and flavors. My only regret was that I made it in November and that beer needed a hot summer day. I will be making a second batch of it soon and it will be ready just in time for those hot summer days!
    Elicoleman likes this.
  19. mattmmille

    mattmmille Initiate (0) May 5, 2015 North Carolina

    Regarding fruit and zest sanitizing, I always cover the fruit with just enough vodka to cover...average vodka is okay for this. Keep it refrigerated and covered while the beer is in primary fermentation. Add the fruit and the vodka when racking to secondary. Depending on the beer style, you could use bourbon/whiskey/tequila...whatever. Freezing fruit before you soak it, that helps it break down and give up its flavors.
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