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I'm trying my hand at making an apricot wheat beer (my first fruit beer). The recipe I'm using instructs me to add apricot puree after the wort has fermented for approximately 3 days and recommended that I use the Oregon brand of apricot puree. I've seen cans of Oregon fruit in stores all over my town so I didn't think it'd be a problem.

Now that I'm nearing the time to add the apricot I am realizing that it seems as if no stores stock the Oregon brand of apricot puree. About the only thing I can find is Del Monte apricot halves in heavy syrup. I'm a bit wary of trying to find fresh apricots too.

I understand that the Oregon brand is recommended because it's aseptic and makes worries about contamination far less. However, since I can't find this can I safely use something like the Del Monte brand? If I do use it I'm assuming I should drain off as much of the heavy syrup as possible to avoid adding a bunch of corn syrup to my beer. Are there any other options or concerns I should be aware of? Thank you!

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If it were me, I would use fresh apricots, puree them in a food processor/blender, freeze to kill (most) microorganisms, thaw and rack the beer on top of the puree. If you wanted to go the other way, you could boil (then cool) the homemade puree, though you may carmelize some sugars. I agree with your thinking on the corn syrup or whatever else Del Monte uses to pack their processed apricot substitutes.

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Freezing doesn't kill the microorganisms. However, adding the fruit after the majority of primary fermentation insures that the yeast will "out-compete" any infection. This isn't 100%, since some bacteria will still survive and cause off flavors. One approach is to bring the fruit to 150 degrees and hold it there for at least 10 minutes. Boiling makes the fruit pectin cause haze in your beer and often destroys the flavor and aroma. –  Bad Neighbor Feb 9 '12 at 20:42
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