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Help with an Experiment...Need ideas!

I am definitely a newbie still…10 or 12 extract kits is the extent of my experience so far…but having a total blast.

Here’s what I have up my sleeve: I brewed the NB American Wheat kit 2 weeks ago. As I was trying to fall asleep yesterday evening, I recalled the dozen or so 1/2 gallon glass milk jugs that I have in the basement. This morning I confirmed that they will accept a standard carboy bung and airlock. Yes!

I intend to break up the 5 gallon batch of the American Wheat into a bunch of separate experiments and try up to 12 different things…for example 1/3lb of Oranges into one, 1/3 lb raspberries into another, 2/3 lb of blueberries into another, honey + fruit into another, spices in some, more fruit, less fruit, more honey, less honey.

Typically, I am not a huge fan of fruit beers, but the temptation to play around here is too much to resist.

What else should I be thinking about? What spices should I consider? What standard or exotic combinations of things have others had good results with in the past?

Additionally, my coolish temp MN basement is probably the only feasible place that I can do it and keep things safe from 2 kids with a combined age of 7. Will the cool temp down there be a prob given that this is all post primary fermentation?

Thanks for any ideas… I will post some photos once I get things rolling.

I would try some spices. Chamomile,Corriander,lavender and honey.
I have tried Chamomile in a hef and it turned out great. IMO I would strat out with less and add more next batch.

CHEERS and good luck.
:cheers:

Like plastic milk jugs? Hope you like sours. If they’re glass you’ll probably be fine with a pbw or starsan soak.

Do something weird. Prickly pear cactus fruit. Will give it a hell of a red/purple hue too.

I have used Ginseng, Ginger and raspberries in a stout before that was really nice.

In a wheat I’d think that Ginseng, Ginger and lemon would be nice…make a vodka tincture with the roots.

To address your question about the basement temp, that actually sounds perfect for a cool conditioning on some additives…

Have a ball.

Experiments are cool! Especially as a newer brewer. It really let’s you pinpoint what you may or may not like. I’ve done 2 experiments so far. One was a hoping experiment. Brewed 3 batches of identical beer. Played with the hop addition times. The second idea, which I think you could do and is a cool experiment specifically with a wheat, is to ferment your different 1gallon batches at different temperatures. I made a Festweisse in November and split it into two 2.5 gallon batches. One fermented at 60F. The other at 70F. It was neat to taste the difference between the two. Then I blended the two together and it was completely different. The blended version was actually preferred by most who tried it.

So, I say play with fermentation temperatures. 2 different temps with several different yeasts. It will really give you an idea of what your palette likes.

[quote=“spykeratchet”]Like plastic milk jugs? Hope you like sours. If they’re glass you’ll probably be fine with a pbw or starsan soak.

Do something weird. Prickly pear cactus fruit. Will give it a hell of a red/purple hue too.[/quote]

I did a prickly pear/raspberry wheat many years ago. It tasted great fresh but I ended up with a lot of gushers later on. :slight_smile:

They are glass milk jugs…perfect size opening in the tops for standard bung. Must be a sign from the beer gods, eh?

What is the best source for prickly pear cactus fruit?

I figure I can fill about 12 ½ gal bottles with a 5 gal batch because the fruits in several of them will take up volume.

Here’s my first stab.

Any reactions?

½ gal #1: no additions
½ gal #2: 1/3 lb oranges/peels + ¼ cup honey
½ gal #3: 1/3 lb raspberries
½ gal #4: 1/3 lb peaches + ¼ cup honey
½ gal #5: 1/3 lb cherries + ginger
½ gal #6: 1/10 oz. Cascade or Fuggles
½ gal #7: ¼ oz. Cascade or Fuggles
½ gal #8: 1 tbsp. Cinnamon + ¼ cup honey
½ gal #9: 1/3 lb raspberries + 1/10 oz Cascade or Fuggles
½ gal #10: 2 tsp coriander
½ gal #11: 2/3 lb cherries
½ gal #12: 1/3lb prickly pear fruit (assuming I can find it)

It really depends on what you want to get out of this experiment. If you want to figure out the best mix of fruits/spices/special ingredients go the route that you laid out. That sounds good to me (other than the fact that I wouldn’t drink any of them with my distaste for fruit beer).

Another option which was already kind of stated would be to learn more about yeast strains. Split it up and use different yeast to see what happens. That way when you’re designing recipes later on you’ll be able to reference back to this. I’ve wanted to do this for a while now but don’t have enough smaller fermentation capacity. Either way, enjoy playing around!

Playing around with yeasts will be an adventure for another day, as the primary is already done on this one.

[quote=“HaleBrewer”]They are glass milk jugs…perfect size opening in the tops for standard bung. Must be a sign from the beer gods, eh?

What is the best source for prickly pear cactus fruit?

[/quote]
Look for a store that caters to the Hispanic market. All kinds of wonderful produce you’ll never see anywhere else.

We get prickly pear in the produce section of our grocery stores here in socal.

I’m assuming that you plan to use cans or to pasteurize these ingredients?

To add onto this post, from another Newbie. How much yeast would you add to each bottle?

spykeratchet - I was going to use frozen fruit. The guy at the LHBS indicated that since these are all adjuncts to the secondary that the alcohol produced in primary would keep anything that snuck in on the frozen fruit at bay. Is that not the case?

shadk - I’m not planning to add any add’l yeast. If I were to start the experiment(s) with the primary fermentation I guess I’d figure out a pitch rate (like single smack pack for 5 gal in this case) and divide the yeast proportionally among the various "experiment” vessels according to the share of the wort that each received.

There’s nothing wrong with a plastic milk jug as long as you clean and sanitize it.

IDK, probably will be fine, might not. The fact that it was frozen makes it safer, for fresh stuff I would worry more. I’m super careful so I’d do a quick pasteurization. I just bring a small pot of water up to 160 and add the fruit, holding it at 160 for 10 minutes. I then pour off most of the water and throw it in a blender that has been sanitized, puree and pour into the fermenter. You’ll get a better absorption from the puree anyhow.

Cool. Thanks a lot for the tip.

I think I’ll put the frozen fruit directly into a sanitized (or fresh out of the dishwasher) saucepan and warm it up slowly to near boiling…kind of mashing it up as it heats with a fork like I do when making pancake topping for the kiddos…then puree it in a sanitized blender.

I’d worry about the water leeching some of the fruit goodness if I heated it up w/water. Maybe I lose fruit liquid to evaporation doing it the way I suggested? Who knows. One way or another I’ll definitely do something to heat it up and reduce chances of a problem. Thanks again.

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