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I was recently at a beer festival and one of the breweries (Fulton) had a delicious pale ale that had been infused with grapefruit. I asked the brewer how they did it and he told me that the night before when they kegged it, they quartered a bunch of grapefruits, scored the peels, and threw them in the a bag in the keg.

I have 10 gallons of pale ale that I need to keg soon, and was thinking about doing this in one of the kegs but I don't want to destroy 5 gallons of perfectly decent beer. This is where I need your help.

  • Is this safe to do if the whole keg isn't going to be drank the next day?
  • Are there any sanitization precautions I should take before just throwing a bunch of grapefruit into my keg?
  • How many grapefruit do you think would do the trick without being overpowering?
  • Is this just a plain bad idea?
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4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I ended up adding some Simply Grapefruit juice from the store. I figured it would add the flavor I wanted without the risk of contamination because it is pasteurized.

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I'm a little confused about how you asked this in August before this forum existed, but I'm mostly interested to know how your beer turned out! –  Jeff Roe Nov 23 '10 at 1:07
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It came over from the brewadvice merger. The beer turned out great! I made a 10 gallon batch and dumped a bottle of grapefruit juice in one of the kegs and left the other keg for comparison. It was a big hit and everybody loved it from pale ale lovers to pale ale haters. I will definitely do this again. –  Joe Lencioni Nov 23 '10 at 2:10
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I would do what he said and just throw it in. The beer should be alcoholic enough to ward off any infections. As for the number of grapefruit, I have no idea, but if you can wait a while longer before kegging all of it, I would recommend testing it out on a growler or something smaller and scaling from there.

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I brewed a grapefruit wheat ale a few months ago and it turned out great. I started doing what was suggested to you and it was ok. I used 5 pounds of grapefruit in a 6 gallon batch. The flavour was ok, but tasted too much like the bitterness of the peel for my liking. So I added an additional 3 pounds that I peeled and crushed. This added more of a juice like flavour.

As for the risk of infection, adding the grapefruit shortly before bottling or kegging means there should be enough alcohol to prevent an infection.

The only other concern I had was the amount of sugar in the grapefruit that would cause the beer to be over-carbonated once bottled. I decided to wait a couple days before bottling, but it still had more carbonation that it should have. Next time I'll cut down on the amount of bottling sugar.

The beer has been a big hit with friends a family and I'll definitely be brewing it again.

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The rind of citrus is quite hardy and you could sanitize it as well as your knife / cutting board using a normal acidic sanitizing solution. Once you've floated the fruit in the solution for a while - bobbing it, you can then chop it into quarters after scoring the rind.

The rind has a lot of oils that will give a very different flavor than just the juice. I'll definitely be asking about at Fulton next time I'm there to get any more hints as to how they are doing this flavor addition.

I presume the downside of adding the quartered fruit to the keg is that you'll want to drink it down or bottle the remainder after 12 to 36 hours of soaking.

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