Grilled Pineapple Wheat Beer

So the other day I split the 10 gallon batch of Perle Wheat into two secondary carboys, one to remain a traditional American Wheat and the other to have fruit added to it.

So for this years variation I decided to go with a Grilled Pineapple Wheat Beer. Sounds weird right? Well, I also thought it sounded kind of summery, so I went for it. I really had no idea how much pineapple was going to be necessary, so I guessed at one pound per gallon, or five pounds of pineapple total. Originally I was going to use fresh pineapple, but the ones I was looking at were about $5.00 per pineapple at about 4-ish pounds a piece. I figured I’d probably need two pineapples after they were skinned and cored. So instead I looked at my options for canned pineapple, which happen to be on sale, four 20oz cans for $5.00, nice! So I opted on five cans to go on the safe side, assuming I would loose some weight after the juice was removed. Speaking of which, I meant to pick up all the same style pineapple, preferably whole slices in juice. Some how I grabbed whole slices in juice, in syrup, chunks in juice, and chunks in syrup … I guess I REALLY wasn’t paying attention.

Anyway, I essentially drained the juice/syrup and retained it, not sure at the time if I was going to use it, though I didn’t. I then got the grill nice and hot and scraped down all the chunkies, last think I needed was for a bit of hamburger or something gross to get in my beer. The whole slices were pretty easy to grill and looked (and tasted) pretty good. The chunks were a little bit more of a challenge, trying not to loose them between the grill and to still try and get a nice caramel to them. After they were grilled I chilled them out in the fridge as to not change the beer’s temperature too much. Before adding them to the carboy I also slightly pureed the bits together to help them fit into the fermenter and to increase the surface area.

As I began to add the fruit to the beer I realized how much room there wasn’t going to be in the fermenter. I was using a 5 gallon jug where I really should have been using a 6 gallon or larger, knowing I was adding fruit, plus room for a secondary fermentation of the fruits sugars. After I reapplied the air-lock I hoped that it would still be attached in the morning and not blown across the room with beer and pineapple everywhere. When I came down in the morning to check I was lucky to find the air-lock still in place, but there was sanitizer/beer coming out of the holes on top. I quickly tried to clean things up by removing the airlock and relieving some of the pressure, which turned out to kind of be a bad idea as it released too much pressure and beer and pineapple started splooging all down the sides of the fermenter. I quickly grabbed the fermenter, threw it in a big-ass Rubbermaid-type container, tented the opening with some foil, and gave the beer a little anti-contamination blessing and left for work.

The beer was rolling pretty strong for about 48 hours, then I was able to clean things up proper and apply the air-lock again. Since then the beers been bubbling away. It’s pretty cloudy, I assume from the pectin in the pineapple, hopefully it’ll clear some, if not it’s a wheat beer so it won’t be completely unexpected. I may do a tetrary phase just to help with clarification, we’ll see. With any luck, this will be a lovely summer time sipper, with any bad luck I’ve got the potential for one hell of a drain pour, haha.

6 Responses to “Grilled Pineapple Wheat Beer”

  1. Garrett Says:

    Should be interesting… and yeah, with fruit you almost always need a big (6 to 6.5 gal) fermenter. I think I would probably do the tertiary fermenter just to let the last of the fruit pulp settle out – that stuff could pretty easily clog a keg’s poppit then you’d be REALLY hosed.

  2. John Says:

    Would have been nice t use fresh golden pineapple, but that would have cost you way more than $5. Can’t wait to read how this one turns out……


  3. Brian Says:

    Garrett – I know. It kills me that I was so lazy that I didn’t use a larger carboy, and I am totally leaning towards a 3rd fermenter, patience isn’t my friend, but it is the beers.

    John – For real. I really wanted to, but I just wasn’t feeling it at the time while at the store. Hopefully this will be a good experiment and motivate me to try it with fresh fruit next year. The second option for a “summery” wheat beer was toasted coconut, could be … different too 🙂

  4. Beer Scientist: Honey Brown Ale Secondary Fermentation | Home Brewing Beer Equipment Says:

    […] Fool Circle – Artisanal Ales » Blog Archive » Grilled Pineapple Wheat Beer […]

  5. Tyler Says:

    Looking forward to the results on this one. I’m probably making my own Pineapple Wheat soon. My sister-in-law requested it for her birthday.

    First instinct was to dice one large pineapple and include during the boil (extract brewing, not all grain). I was going to bag it, fish it out after cooling, freeze, then use it to make a pineapple upside down cake when I serve the beer. Now I’m thinking one pineapple might not be enough. I’m also concerned that boiling the fruit will pull the sugars and flavor from it. That kills the cake plan, but it also has other effects. By doing that I think the yeast might consume so much sugar during fermentation that I’d lose all pineapple flavor in the beer.

    My next consideration is adding pineapple to secondary fermentation like you did. How did you make sure it wasn’t contaminating it? Is the assumption that since it was canned it’s okay, or is it because you grilled it? (Speaking of grilling, the chunks could be skewered for easier grilling if you try it again.)

    Third idea is to add a wedge of pineapple to each bottle as I fill it.

  6. Brian Says:

    Tyler – I will definitely post more later on this beer, it’s looking good right now. I agree that adding it to the boil you will lose the pineapple profile you are looking for, I think secondary is the way to go for sure. Good question, I have no way of KNOWING I wasn’t going to infect my beer, it just felt “right”. I did feel that using called pineapple plus grilling it did raise my chances of not having to worry as much. If you are going to use fresh pineapple in secondary, two thought to help reduce infection: 1) you could cut and freeze the pineapple first, this should help destroy and critters that may be lurking, and 2) you could cut and soak the pineapple in booze, like rum for example, and have a sort of pineapple daiquiri type wheat beer. I would avoid the individual pineapple bottles. I did something similar with individual hop cones in bottles and it created gushers, probably too many nucleation sites for the CO2 to develop. Though you could consider serving the beer with a pineapple wedge similar to the orange slice people serve with Wits. Great suggestion on the skewers, thanks! GOOD LUCK, and let me know how your beer turns out.

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