Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wild Fermented Funky Peach

This is a beer that's been in the works for quite some time, and has been in the fermentor for quite some time as well. Peach beer has always been something that I avoided, as the first time I attempted to make one it turned out terrible.  There was absolutely no peach flavor and the beer was thin and insipid.  Normally I'm not one to let something beat me, but it seemed at the time that using peaches in beer just really didn't work. In fact reading others accounts and even in Radical Brewing, peaches didn't seem to be a good idea.

Flash forward  until sometime last spring, when the MadFermentationist did a white peach beer that he said turned out quite well.  After a couple quick back and forth comments, it got me wondering if it wasn't so much peach beers but "clean" peach beers that wouldn't work.  Maybe there was something to a sour that could make the peach flavor shine? (I should note Mike also suggests using white peaches, not yellow)

Right around that same time it was peach season here in the desert southwest, and we were lucky enough to pick about 30lbs of very sweet and ripe peaches from a farm here in town (yellow variety).  When we got them home I quickly chopped them up and froze them to be ready when I was gonna brew up a sour peach ale.  Then time got in the way, and I didn't get around to getting this one going until about 3wks ago.

Now Ive had pretty bad luck with wild fermentations in the past, part of me thinks this is due to the constant heat around here in Phoenix.  So was I decided to do was do a "starter" using a bit of grain and some DME.  I stepped it up a couple times to hopefully kill off any enterobacter in there that would cause those awful hot garbage tastes/smells.  The culture seemed to be coming along amazingly well, it reeked of fruit (peaches actually!) and was slightly tart.  So I pitched it into a fairly simple malt bill of some spelt, maris otter and pils. I kept the hopping light so as to mesh well with the anticipated sourness and the peaches.

About 2wks later I pulled a sample and to my astonishment and disappointment the beer was over the top fruity, but didn't have any sourness whatsoever.  So I did something I wish I hadn't and tossed in some grain into the beer, hoping to get a bit of sourness out of it yet.  (part of me wanted to keg it as it was, and save the peaches for another time!)  I let the grain soak for a day or so and then tossed in about 6# of frozen, skinned, peach mush (was likely around 9-10# of peaches).

So that's where things sit today.  I'm hoping that the wild culture wont decimate the peach flavor like every other clean attempt Ive had, but only time will tell.  At any rate, I plan on giving this another try later this spring when peaches are in season again, hopefully that one will actually sour!

Ashley's Funky Peach :)
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
3.0Maris Otter
6.0Ripe Peaches
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.4Sterling (7.9%)60
Mash Schedule
170F2.0qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastCultured from MO grain (2x step up to 2L total)
85% effIBU10
6.5gal BoilFG


Jim Lemire said...

Interestingly, I was just today thinking about using some raw malt as a Lacto inoculate once fermentation had begun. Have you ever tried this before? Any idea how effective this technique is?

Ryan said...

So I made a "starter" with it to ensure that the pH was low enough to kill entero bacteria, but in essence that would a similar thing to do in wort, my only concern would be that there wouldnt be much left for the lactic bacteria (along with other things like brett) to eat in a fermented beer

In the starter it worked pretty well, Im actually gearing up to do another Kentucky common and Im currently growing a souring culture using grain in a starter. The starter is definitely tangy, but not much

Don said...

What does spelt do for you? my home brew store carries this in the grains for other things section and I've been curious.

Ryan said...

Don, Spelt has a bit more golden color and is slightly creamier than flaked wheat. I far prefer it now

You can get it cheap at places like whole foods (~$1.50/lb)

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