Fig Beer Report

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Bubba Wade, Aug 23, 2020.

  1. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    #1 Bubba Wade, Aug 23, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2020
    Back on July 17th, I decided to brew a beer with some figs. We have a large fig tree and it was loaded. So I took a Farmhouse Ale recipe and modified it to include 2 lbs of figs for a 2.5 gallon batch.

    Everything went as planned. 2 weeks in the fermenter and then to the keg. I had a bit extra, so I was able to fill two bottles as well. I carbonated naturally with sucrose as I usually do. I also had a taste and it was pretty good.

    Two weeks after kegging, I sampled one of the bottles. Very god, just a bit more sediment at the bottom than usual. I chilled the keg and tapped it on Friday. I got one good glass and then the entire system plugged up.

    When I looked at the beer lines I could see big globs of something. So I pulled the keg out of the keezer and siphoned as much as I could into bottles and sealed them. I them took apart the keg system and cleaned out all of the goop.

    Theory: When I prepared the figs for the wort, I probably heated them too much and liberated the pectin. I am guessing that when the keg cooled, lots of suspended pectin droplets consolidated into larger particles.

    The good: Beer tastes good with just a slight fig taste.

    The bad: Globules plugged up the whole system.

    Does anyone else have any theories or suggestions for next time?
     
  2. Megary

    Megary Well-Known Member

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    Really interesting stuff. How exactly did you prepare the figs, and when did you add them? Also, did you add any Pectic Enzyme along the way?
    Glad the beer tastes good.
     
  3. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I heated the figs in a pan with a teaspoon of lemon juice and a half cup sugar. I mashed them up a bit and heated to about 170 And held for a few minutes to kill any wild yeast or bacteria. I used an immersion blender to make a purée and added this to the fermenter.
     
  4. Head First

    Head First Well-Known Member

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    Could it just be pieces of fig that snuck through racking? Personally I like to leave fruit whole but smashed and put them in a large paint strainer bag. Peaches plugged up my system the first time with a puree. Just mashed them after that. May not get fully utilized but no plugged lines that way. Do you make ciders? Figs may work well for that. Just throwing that out there.
     
  5. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    When I transferred from the fermenter to the keg, it was all clear. All of the fruit remnants remained in the fermenter. That’s why I’m thinking it was pectin formation.
     
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  6. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    Maybe add a pectin specific enzyme with the fruit? I've seen them in the homebrew shop, though I'm not sure if they break the pectin down to a small enough sugar molecule that the beer yeast will then ferment them. Though that could be a good or bad thing depending on which way you want it to go.
     
  7. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Figs... in beer... I've actually never heard of that. I don't think that I could even comment on a comment. I would think that being a dried fruit, there must be an additional fermentation of some kind to some degree...
     
  8. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    And yet, I comment...:(
     
  9. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    These were freshly picked figs, right ok of our tree here in Louisiana. Much different than the dried figs inside of a Newton.
     
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  10. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I'm not aware of any enzyme that does this but I'm not an expert on fruit. If I tried this again, I might remove the peels first as I understand that much of the pectin is there.
     
  11. Craigerrr

    Craigerrr Well-Known Member

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    Interested to hear how this turns out!
     
  12. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    #12 Mark Farrall, Aug 24, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2020
    There's a few different brand names, pectinase, pectic enzyme. It's big in wine making. Any home brew stores that caters to wine or cider makers should have some.

    Edit: though I normally hear of used to reduce a haze. Never heard of clumps.
     
  13. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    The pectin clumps are my speculation of what happened. The beer is tasty, but plugs up the lines.

    Thanks for the heads up on the enzyme.
     
  14. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    I love figs! I'm always looking to get their flavor in a beer via malts... Suppose I ought try try actual figs some day! - I'd probably leave them cut in half or quarters.

    What you speak of @Bubba Wade must be pectin... Sounds like it is time for some research on the topic!
     
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  15. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Think your favorite jelly for toast, without coloring, flavor or sugar.
     
  16. Blackmuse

    Blackmuse Well-Known Member

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    That is exactly how I used them the one time I had them fresh! Was as a "spread" on toast! lol SO GOOD
     
  17. Bubba Wade

    Bubba Wade Well-Known Member

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    I think the key is to sanitize the figs at lower temperatures and a higher pH. After some research, it appears pectin form at higher temps and acidic conditions.
     

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