Air-lock activity has stopped. Krausen has fallen. Gravity readings are terminal. Brewers everywhere know what this means: time for packaging! The Passion Fruit American Wheat has finished secondary fermentation after a substantial addition of passion fruit juice. Frankly, I am relieved this beer is near process end. The planning and execution of this recipe was much more involved than my standard brews. Typically, I go the brew store to pick up fresh yeast, and after some recipe design, that’s really it for planning. I have most base malts, hops, and speciality grains on hand. Brew it, ferment it, keg it, done. However, for the passion fruit wheat beer, the process was much more involved. Finding a quality passion fruit product took some time, trial and tastings. Also, estimation of the amount of passion fruit in beer samples was fun, yet circuitous. Adding fruit to a beer also complicates the process by adding a secondary fermentation. With this one finally kegged, I am excited to finally try this one out. Carboy sample tastings suggest this one is going to be refreshing, especially since it has been in the mid-80s in Austin, TX. Hopefully, this one will be ready for the Austin Zealots April meeting.
While cleaning the keg for the passion fruit wheat, I enjoyed a fruit beer I brewed last summer. I call it the Cherry Beer, a pale ale brewed with 3 lbs of cherry purée. At 7% ABV, it’s quite big for a standard fruit beer, although roughly the same size as the Apricot Wheat I previously brewed. After 9 months of ageing, the cherry flavors have really intensified, and meld well with the malt character from the pale ale. Although well-brewed and quite tasty, it does not live up to my expectations. I think this beer would be much better if it was more tart or soured, more along the direction of a kriek lambic, or tart cherry pie. The lack of acidity in this brew leaves the cherry character pleasant, but one-dimensional (in my opinion). I’ll have to try a Cherry Lambic in the future.
Lastly, the fermentation of the Falconer’s Flight pale ale is very active. The krausen was pretty epic during its high period, and as a result, had to remove the airlock before the carboy became pressurized. The fermentation chamber (chest freezer) smelled particularly fruity/cirtrus-y in aroma, a sign of good times to come. Fermentation started up within 12 hours, which makes me happy since the washed, re-pitch yeast (US-05) worked very well. Once fermentation ends, I’ll transfer this one to keg as quick as possible. I want to drink this one very fresh. I need some hops, everything on tap is malty!
Brewed/brewing something interesting this week, or have used cherry fruits in a beer before? Leave some advice in the comment section below. Cheers and happy brewing!