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Apricot Wheat - second thoughts on fruit extract

Hey folks,

Just got our American Wheat delivered, along with a 4oz bottle of Apricot extract. We were planning on doing a quick (and cheap) apricot wheat by adding it at bottling, but I’m reading a lot of negative stuff about the fruit extract. Anyone have any experience with the apricot extract from NB? I’d rather not have to use puree, but if the extract route is going to end badly I’d rather do that than have 5 gallons of undrinkable beer…

Pick up a 6 pack of a wheat beer and add a couple of drops to the glass. Your taste is the most important one.

If you must make an apricot wheat, the flavor you’re looking for will only be achieved via extract. I have been making my dad blackberry wheat beer for his birthdays (his choice, not mine) and after a number of iterations, it was extract that got that berry flavor and aroma. Adding fruit puree will cause the yeast to wake back up and ferment out the sugars in the fruit. The result will end up very dry and will not have that sweet juicy flavor and aroma. Might smell more like a dried apricot but will not have a sweet flavor.

+1 to the idea of tasting it until you get it, but adding a couple drops to a bottle will mean you’re going to do that for each bottle. I just sanitized a thief and kept adding it to the bottling bucket until I got the flavor and aroma I was going for (took pretty much the whole bottle on the blackberry).

I was thinking on the lines of seeing if the OP likes the flavor of the extract. Some I have tasted don’t taste very good.

If you like the taste, add it to the bucket and bottle away.

That’s a good point. The only one I have used is blackberry.

The latest Brewing TV episode for Dry Dock had a section where they discussed their Apricot Wheat. Just as you said - fruit ended up dry and thin, but flavoring was a little too artificial, so the Dry Dock guys used both. I made a raspberry wheat a year ago with a whole can of fruit puree and I was disappointed how dry it turned out. Going to try again soon with the flavoring.

Go watch the BrewTV episode if you want.

That has not been my experience at all, especially with blackberries. I’ve gotten really strong, even overpowering, fruit flavors from real blackberries. Apricots are a little trickier, but a good fruit flavor without extract is definitely possible (and preferred, IMO). If you do decide to go with the apricot puree, I’d start with 2 cans. You can also compensate with different malts and yeast to bring back the sweetness lost during fermentation.

If dryness is a concern using real fruit, you can add some lactose or mash at a higher temp (if doing AG).

I didn’t perceive a dry beer with a Kiwi wheat I made a couple years ago. Somewhere in the 6-8lbs of fruit were used.

The extract will be fine and a lot more stable than fresh fruit/purees. I wouldn’t automatically add the whole 4oz bottle, just enough to get a whiff and a hint in the flavor is what you’re after. Thats where the extracts are most effective, above that and they get more artificial.

I make regular wheat beer and cream ale, and the wife uses Da Vincis syrups in her glass. This way she can have variety and the sweetness of the syrup compliments and brings out the fruit flavor.

I’m with Lennie. Make a good but plain beer and let the syrup be an afterthought for those that choose to add it. Then you can have a variety. Torani even makes a bacon syrup…

I’m with Lennie. Make a good but plain beer and let the syrup be an afterthought for those that choose to add it. Then you can have a variety. Torani even makes a bacon syrup…

I guess I agree to an extent, but the corollary is that if you want more than a whiff and a hint of fruit flavor, you need to use fruit, juice, or puree. Otherwise, it will taste artificial.

I admit that I’ll sometimes add syrups to the glass. But I enjoy the challenge of brewing a good fruit beer without them. I think they are one of the tougher styles to brew correctly, as there are many more things to worry about (dryness, body, wild yeast, pH, clarity, etc.) than in a standard ale.

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