Synesthesia Pêche is our first venture into fruited beers, OK… it’s actually our second but we prefer to forget the abomination that was Kiwi Kaleidoscope. We’ve brewed a couple batches of Synesthesia Saison with good, consistent results so it was a perfect choice to try a fruit addition. Since we’re in Georgia it seemed that peaches were the logical choice so Synesthesia Pêche was born.
I did some research on the various methods of adding fruit and after careful consideration decided to ignore them. While watching Mind of a Chef on Netflix I saw an episode where they played around with some freeze-dried foods and the chef mentioned that this method (with fruit) produced the most true fruit flavor in his dishes. A bit more Googling showed a couple of people have tried this in brewing but it isn’t a widely used method, it seems a few more people tried it with mead than with beer. As a side note, I saw several people using the term dehydrated and freeze-dried interchangeably and they are very different preservation methods. Dehydrated/dried fruit has had most of the moisture removed (usually with a combination of heat and air) where freeze drying works by freezing the product then using pressure to remove the moisture. With either method there may be preservatives used, so make sure what you get is additive free. After emailing them to confirm they used only peaches I ordered this can from Honeyville Farms on Amazon.
Most of the others I could find that used freeze-dried fruit in their brew made a slurry in a blender before adding it to their beer/mead. My fruit came in small dices and I wanted to add it straight to the beer so I got as much of the flavor as possible without diluting the beer with more liquid. However I wasn’t sure if this posed an infection risk so I dropped an email to Michael Tonsmeire (The Mad Fermentationist and author of American Sour Beers) and he felt that although the fruit wouldn’t be sterile the environment in the beer likely would not allow it to grow. Good deal, full steam ahead.
I brewed the saison as normal and allowed it to complete fermentation which finished at 1.006. I used 12 oz of freeze dried peaches in a 5 gallon batch. My Google-fu suggest that freeze dried fruit is 8-9x lighter than fresh so I’m estimating this is equivalent to 6.5’ish pounds of fruit. I cleaned and sanitized a carboy and added the fruit then purged it with CO2 before racking the beer onto the fruit. After that I placed it in the fermentation chamber at 65°F and let it work its magic. Saturday will be two weeks and I sample and see if this one is ready to keg. I’ll post an update with results once the beer is done. I think I may even have a bottle of the regular saison around to do some comparison.
You may notice the airlock on my carboy looks a bit different, I’m trying out a new waterless, sanitary airlock called Sterilock. It’s not available for purchase in the US just yet but should be headed this way soon. This is my first brew with it but I’ll post a review of that as well as the plastic Big Mouth Bubbler in the near future.