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I am trying to brew a beer for my brother's 50th birthday in late April (who had a large part in getting me into homebrewing, though he has since hung it up). He is a huge fan of figs, so I thought I would try to incorporate them into a brew. Typically, he's into the hoppy end of balanced beers (not particularly into complex malt-profiled beers, porters/bitters, etc.), and can get into some mega-hopped beers.

I brewed a fig-gose by adding 12oz of pureed fresh figs to the boil @ 5min, along with the coriander and salt. It was somewhat of an experiment, since I felt like I had some time to mess around before I needed to deliver the batch. The finished product is good, drinkable, but a bit cidery, i'm guessing because the majority of the fig sugars fermented out. A couple of questions/requests for advice:

1.) Should I stick to a simpler style such as a Gold/Blonde/Cream Ale since my bro isn't really into lambics/wits, etc. that might be more receptive to a fig? Maybe I could brew another gose and add figs to a secondary, as I thought the style would work well (below-threshold saltiness with a fig essence to balance -- my understanding is traditionally this style can be served with fruit syrups)

2.) Should I addand simply add the figs/fig puree to the secondary to get more of the fig essence? I was somewhat worried about sanitization which is why I added them pre-fermentation. Any ideas on how to sanitize the figs? Boil a puree then cool?

3.) Any suggestions on a more suitable style?

Thanks!

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I have always been told to put fruit into vodka and cover it and leave it over night. Then add to secondary. –  Steve M. Jan 25 '12 at 20:35
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

To my mind, a Belgian dubbel is good candidate for the addition of figs. I'd aim for a somewhat sweet finish (1.015 or thereabouts). I'd add dark crystal and Special B to the mash to provide caramel flavors, and I'd add finely chopped dried figs to the secondary. Dried figs are less likely to contain spoilage organisms as the moisture content is low, and the sugar content high. Of course, use figs that were dried without the use of sulphur, as that will affect the flavor of the beer and the viability of the yeast.

You say your brother is not into malty beers, so maybe the dubbel won't fly. My second choice would be a Hefeweizen or Imperial Hefeweizen. A normal gravity (1.045 or so) wheat beer will finish quit dry, so the figs will contribute a perfume to the beer, but no sweetness. The stronger Imperial Hefeweizen finishes more sweet, which will make it taste more "figgy", I should think.

Take this advice with a grain of salt (or three), since I've never actually brewed with figs. This is just me speculating. But since I just moved into a house with a fig tree, I may end up putting these theories to the test in the autumn.

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