Choosing Fruit Extracts for Brewing Beer
The craft beer movement has taken the country by storm, and as such it is a great time to consider all the incredible ways that extracts can be used to create new and unique beer flavors. Small, independent breweries and major breweries alike are looking for ways to ramp up their product lines with fruity ales, rich and flavorful stouts, and everything in between. What this means for consumers is that there are now more than enough options available to meet their need to experiment with different flavors. What that means for breweries is that there is more room to explore than ever before when it comes to flavoring their beers.
Among the most common types of fruit extracts used in the beer making process are those of citrus fruits such as orange, lemon, and lime. Grapefruit has even seen rising popularity in recent years. These types of flavors have been used with beer for a long time, dating back to before recorded history. The sweet and tart flavors of these fruits are perfect when paired with the lighter taste of pale ales, though they can also be used with darker beers. Citrus fruit flavor ingredients are often paired with spice flavor ingredients, especially clove, as well as flavor ingredients with notes of honey to create a delicious but still somewhat traditional beer.
Berries are also becoming increasingly common as a flavor ingredient in craft beers. Both tart, strong berry flavors can be chosen as well as lighter, subtler berry flavors. Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, are all available, or breweries can choose a “catch all” berry flavor to enhance the flavor of their beer. In general, berries are better with lighter beers. These can make for great seasonal beers, especially in the spring and summer.
Many other types of fruit extract are also available for flavoring beers. Apple and pear flavor ingredients are both growing in popularity, and have a light, sweet flavor that is perfect for lighter beers. On the other end of the spectrum are tart flavor ingredients such as cranberry, pomegranate, and fig. These flavors are great when paired with darker beers, and can be a good seasonal choice for the cooler months.
Another thing for breweries to take note of is tropical fruit flavors. These are rising in popularity, especially among smaller brewing circles. Mango, coconut, and pineapple can be used in more ways than one might think. Breweries should also consider products like a banana flavor ingredient mixed with nutty notes, which can create a beer with the flavor of banana nut bread, or a raisin-cinnamon concoction.
While fruit flavor ingredients remain the most popular in the brewing circuit, there are a number of other flavor ingredients that are growing in popularity as well. Chocolate flavor ingredients, the aforementioned cinnamon and honey, and especially vanilla can add complexity to a beer and transform it into something incredible. It is in any brewers’ interests to be experimental, especially considering current trends. One of the great things about beer is that it is incredibly open to interpretation when compared to other kinds of beverages, whether the brewer wants to do something traditional, classic, or they want to try something completely different.