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A simple enough question for thoughtful answers. Some good recipes out there for Strawberry Blondes. All the normal tips are understood, i.e., 1#/gal, strawberries will likely kickstart fermentation in a secondary, strawberries will bleach out and really look awful at the end of the secondary so do not be afraid, among other tips.

My wife is going to pick local strawberries and freeze them. I expect her cut the caps prior to freezing.

Any thoughts as to washing the strawberries in StarSan prior to freezing to assist in surface cleansing? Or should I consider the "environment of the beer" to hostile for real bacterial contamination to take hold and just simply "rinse them thoroughly in the sink"?

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Most fruit beer kits will give you a natural fruit extract flavoring to add post fermentation.

With that in mind when I did my last Strawberry blonde from a kit I threw out the extract and made my own, since it was too artificial in flavor.

Making your own for back flavoring. I juiced 3lb of fresh strawberries. Using a centrifuge grater style juicer it gave about 3 cups of total juice with a frothy pink fiber separation of about 1 cup. I separated to only keep the red liquid. I then simmered the red juice to achieve a hot break and then cold crashed it, the fiber proteins was on the bottom and I seperated. This gave me 1.5 cups of strawberry goodness, to which I just added to the kegged finished beer (5 gallons).

I kept the keg cold to prevent secondary fermentation. The beer was well received by my homebrew club as a great example. I was very happy with the color and true fresh strawberry flavor it achieved.

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When using frozen fruit of any kind from a commercial source, those berries are normally flash pasteurized to kill surface microbes.

Following suit, I have brought water to a boil and dropped fresh berries in for 30-60seconds followed by a dunk in ice cold water to halt the process. Never had an issue putting them in beer that way.

Frozen strawberries always come out of thaw as a syrupy mess, though tasty. So I'd blanch them as I describe then freeze them for storage. Freezing then blanching is likely to create just a strawberry flavored blanch water.

Is the beer environment harsh enough to control any unwanted microbial activity? Depends on the ABV of the beer, the pH of the beer and the microbial load on the berries. Impossible to say for sure. But if you were going to make the beer with the intent of not storing it ambient for long and serve it at an event soon after packaging, you'd probably be fine. Otherwise, keep the carbonated bottles or kegged beer cold to slow the process.

  • That's a good note on pasteurization. Thanks. Followup to your note on storage (maybe edit the answer for posterity: given a 5gal batch, or 48-52 bottles, I could see this batch lasting 4-6 months at room temperature before being entirely consumed. Too long? – javafueled Mar 29 '16 at 17:19
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I have made strawberry/rhubarb wheat. With both, I cook the fruit and make my own puree, which I add to the secondary. 6 lbs of strawberries and 4 lbs of rhubarb that is cooked down. I did not post-cook weigh the puree.

I do like the idea of flash boiling, then freezing.

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