|Attribution: Alexander Klink |
The inside of a passionfruit
Creative Commons 3.0 Unported
I was at the supermarket a couple months ago and happened to see fresh passion fruit for $3 each. Many brewers (and chefs) skip the actual fruit and opt for purée, but I bought two with no plan of what I'd make with them.
I’m certainly not the first brewer to add passion fruit to beer, I've enjoyed Breakside Passionfruit Sour, Jolly Pumpkin-Maui Brewing Sobrehumano Palena’ole, and Tired Hands’ Such Passion (Simcoe IPA "Conditioned on heaps of passion fruit purée"). J. Wakefield Brewing's neon-pink Dragon Fruit Passion Fruit Berliner gets plenty of hype, although I’ve yet to try it.
When I got home and opened one of them, that pervasive tropical aroma reminded me that I had a gallon of leftover base sour beer from Atomic Apricot. I scooped the pulpy interiors, seeds and all, into the jug for infusion.
Passion Fruit Sour Wheat
Appearance – After a few cloudy but delicious beer reviews, I thought it was time for something a bit more visually transparent. Faint haze, but I’ll take that in exchange for the beautiful head retention (thanks to both wheat flour and pre-acidification of the wort).
Smell – The passion fruit comes through nicely, although nothing approaching the intensity of the apricot (which was over 2 lbs/gallon). The Brett doesn’t come through distinctly, a hint of rubber behind the fruit. Glad I added the fruit, it shines on a bland canvas.
Taste – Bright lactic-citric acidity, much mellower than the apricot. Nice tropical fruitiness, but I could see doubling it to four passion fruits per gallon. Beyond the fruit and acidity not an especially interesting beer. Maybe a hint of pale maltiness. The ECY Dirty Dozen seems reliable for primary fermentation, but sadly having 12 Brett strains didn't provide 12 times the aromatic complexity.
Mouthfeel – Light and crisp, but not thin and watery as even my favorite Berliners can be. Carbonation could be a notch higher, but I didn’t want to risk gushers.
Drinkability & Notes – A fun gallon of beer, glad I answered the calling of the eternal thought “I could ferment that!” I have the yeast/bacteria I harvested from this batch at work in something resembling a Berliner weisse with oat malt; it will be interested to see how it does as a mixed rather than staggered fermentation. Chad Yakobson's research suggests Brett produces less of several interesting esters when starting at a low pH, so that may account for the blandness.