Let's Make Some Pineapple Beer!

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Introduction: Let's Make Some Pineapple Beer!

I've been making pineapple beer from a young age. Whenever I managed to salvage some pineapple peels before it went to the compost heap, I would drop it in a bowl with some water and sugar and let it stand. A few days later I had some sweet, pineapple flavoured water with a few bubbles. Delicious.

Forward a few years and things got a bit more precise. I started to experiment with quantities and different flavours to get the recipe just right — not only flavour and taste wise, but also to get a bit of buzz from the brew.

In the past I've used an enamel bucket my mother bought years ago for brewing ginger beer. It has a lid with a dome for ventilation and I got about 6 liters of brew from it. But for this Instructable I'm going to upscale everything and go for around 25 liters.

So let's begin...

Step 1: What We Need

Ingredients

4 Pineapples (about 600g each). Make sure they are nice and ripe. Remove the crown and any loose leaves, but do not peel!

1 cup of sugar per liter of water, about 22 cups or 4kg

22 liters of very hot water

2 x 20g packets of granulated yeast (Brewer's yeast)


Equipment

25 liter container/fermentation tank

Blender (sort of optional)

Measuring cup and funnel

Cutting board and knife

Enough 2 liter plastic softdrink bottles to bottle your brew. I never fill my bottles to the top, so keep that in mind. (I do not recommend glass bottles. They can explode.)

Hydrometer (optional)

Step 2: Before We Start...

Clean everything.

Use hot water and soap and clean everything. Your work area, your cutting board, knife and especially your fermentation tank, blender and bottles. Make sure no soap remains in the tank and bottles. Wash the pineapples under running water too.

We do not want unnecessary things to grow in our brew that can alter the flavour or even destroy the brew.

All set? Let's go!

Step 3: Prepare the Pineapple Base

Note: using a blender is optional. I like to get as much flavour and juice out of the fruit. If you do not have access to a blender, just finely chop up the pineapple and collect as much juice from the cutting board.

Chop up a pineapple and put the pieces in the blender. Add 500ml boiling water and, starting with the Pulse function, blend into a smoothie. Pour into the fermentation tank. Repeat the process until all the pineapples are pulped and in the container. Now boil another liter of water and "wash" the blender to get every last bit of pineapple into your tank.

By now we have used 3 liters of water (4 x 500ml + 1 liter). That means we need to add 3 cups of sugar to the tank (since we use 1 cup of sugar per liter of water).

Step 4: Filling the Tank

Now we can start adding the sugar and water. I start by adding 10 cups of sugar to the tank, followed by 10 liters of very hot water. *The water from your hot water tap is fine (if you can drink your tap water of course). The reason we use very hot water is that all chlorine has been evaporated (chlorine can kill the yeast). It also helps the sugar to dissolve.

Continue adding water and sugar until you reach the desired level in your tank. Do not overfill, when the brew starts to ferment, the gasses need to go somewhere.

Before we can add the yeast, the mixture needs to cool down.

* EDIT 2016/07/25: Online forums are divided whether you can use hot water from a tap or whether you should boil the water. I asked a homebrewer I know and he says boil. I've never had any problems with very hot tap water. So... up to you.

Step 5: Adding the Yeast

When the temperature of the mixture reaches about 25-26°C you can add the yeast. If the mixture is too hot it can kill the yeast, too cold and it will not activate.

Put the cap loosely back on the tank. Do not tighten it — the gasses need to escape somewhere. An alternative is to put a clean dishcloth over the opening and keep it in place with a rubber band.

Optional: if you are using a hydrometer you need to take an Original Gravity reading after cooldown but before adding the yeast. (For interest sake, my brew's OG was 1.040.)

Step 6: Ferment

Find a nice warm space for your fermentation tank. Leave it there for at least 7 days.

Step 7: Bottling

After 7 days your brew should be ready for bottling. Take a bucket or any other container and cover it with a cheese cloth or clean dishcloth. I discovered something called mutton cloth and it works really well. Securely fasten the cloth with string. Put the bucket under your fermentation tank and drain your brew through the cloth.

If the bucket becomes full, transfer the liquid to the plastic bottles using a funnel. I use 2 liter bottles and fill it to where the neck part starts. After bottling, fermentation continues. If you want to vent the bottles from time to time or open a bottle to drink, this space will allow you some time to control the venting. Otherwise the brew will just explode out like a geyser.

After bottling, screw on the caps tightly. I leave the bottles outside for another few days to continue fermenting and only put it in the fridge before drinking.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Put your brew in the fridge to cool down. Remember to take your time opening a new bottle. It needs to vent very slowly. Please take my word on this — I've spent too much time cleaning the floor, the roof, myself after rushing the opening. (Those "flowers" you can see on the photo means a lot of fermentation happened after bottling).

Enjoy!

Step 9: One Last Note...

I'm adding an air lock (for venting) and a temperature strip to my fermentation tank. I've ordered it, but it has not arrived in time.

Since you've read this far, here's a bonus: you can use this recipe for ginger and apple beer as well. Substitute the pineapples for 750g fresh ginger or 2,5kg red apples (I haven't tried green apples yet). When making ginger beer, add 2 or 3 chillies to the mix. Well worth it.

I'm waiting for the mango season, because I really want to try mango beer...

Homebrew Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Homebrew Contest 2016

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    If using mango what will the ratio be

    54 Comments

    Update #3. I won a runner-up prize in the Homebrew 2016 competition with this Instructable! Thanks for all the views, the comments and everybody who voted!

    Hi everyone, quick update #2. Yesterday was (a very messy) bottling day. I updated the relevant step with photos. The spigot eventually clogged up, but I got a siphon just in case. Everything look and taste really good.

    Hi everyone, just a quick update. Today is Day 4 so we are halfway through the fermentation phase. Things are merrily bubbling away and it smells awesome. I am a bit concerned about the temperature, after all it is winter down here in South Africa. But as long as the yeast don't go into hibernation I'm happy.

    What about using mango instead of pineapple

    What about using mangos instrad of pineapples

    Thanks Jaco and all your contributors for this very descriptive recipe, every detail seems to be covered. Just to be sure that I've understood this; the pineapple fruit and skin are used? Didn't read every comment, so not sure if I missed that.

    1 reply

    Yes, I use every bit of pineapple except for the crown. The skin contains a lot of juice and flavour.

    Thank you so much for sharing this knowledge!

    Warm regards!

    Great 'ible! I've made this is the past and really enjoy it! Here are the alterations I made that also resulted in a tasty beverage:

    - Cooked the pineapple for a few minutes (to kill anything off), then blended and used the resulting pulp and juice as my base.

    - Used Red Star Pasteur yeast

    - Moved it to a secondary container after it finished fermenting and let it sit for ~ 3 weeks to further clear.

    - Back sweetened with half a can of filtered pineapple juice at bottling

    Things for you to try on your next batch! For the question on ABV, my batches range anywhere from a OG of 1.065 to 1.091 and fermented all out to 1.000 or just below (I left it fermenting until it was completely done). Gives it an ABV range of 8.5 - 11ish%.

    3 replies

    Thanks! That is some serious alcohol for a beer! ? I'm keeping notes of everybody's comments and advice. Someday I will publish The Ulimate Pineapple Beer Recipe!

    It's truly considered more of a wine with no grains or malt being put in it. As for the alcohol %, that's one of the reasons for the switch to a wine/champagne/high gravity/turbo yeast (though idk on the taste on turbo yeast). They have been bred to tolerate a higher alcohol level before dying off. Baker's yeast might be able to do it, but they are in an environment that they don't prefer, and it could lead to either off flavors from the stressed yeast, or they simply die off, leaving a super sweet (but less alcoholic product).

    Turbo yeast would result in a much drier end result, more like a dry wine in terms of sweetness (or lack thereof). If you want to bump up the ABV, the better option is to simply add more sugar. In a batch this size, each kg of sugar will raise the OG by roughly 0.016 (assuming you have 22L). Most brewing yeast eats 70-80% of the available sugar, so you can estimate the final gravity using OG - ((OG - 1) * 0.75) (you can use other numbers instead of 75%, too, depending on your yeast. Using those values, you can calculate what the estimated percent ABV will be using (OG - FG) * 131.25.

    E.g. OG = 1.040

    FG = 1.040 - ((1.040 - 1) * 0.75) = 1.010

    (1.040 - 1.010) * 131.25 = ~3.94% ABV

    Homebrewer here. Couple of points to hopefully help everyone out.

    With an OG around 1.040, the most you can expect out of average yeast is going to be around 4%. Most brewing yeast has an attenuation (how much of the available sugar they eat) of around 70-80%. This means your FG (final gravity) will likely be somewhere around 1.010, which is slightly sweet, but not very. With those to values, you can calculate ABV. ABV = (OG - FG) * 131.25.

    While bread yeast will work, it won't work WELL. Those strains have been bread to primarily eat different types of sugar than brewing yeasts. It's likely you'll end up with some off-flavors when using bread yeast. In a lot of cases, though, letting the beer sit and age longer before bottling can help with this, as the chemicals causing the off flavors will be eaten by the yeast and cleaned up.

    Instead of bottling after only 7 days, I would recommend waiting a few weeks (2-3) for fermentation to completely finish, then racking (transferring) the beer to a clean container (try to splash it as little as possible, as this will cause the beer to oxidize and get a cardboard flavor), adding a SMALL amount of sugar (there are online calculators for how much priming sugar to use, target 2.0-2.5 volumes of co2), and then bottling that. This lets you control the amount of carbonation in the beer, which eliminates almost all risk of exploding bottles. If you do that, it's very much safe to use glass bottles.

    When it comes to cleaning, the rule you will want to follow is that if it touches the wort (unfermented beer) or beer at any point before you pour it to drink, it should be sanitized. Hot water alone is not enough to sanitize items. I recommend a sanitizer like Star-San if you are in the US (I'm not sure what's available elsewhere, sorry).

    Before I end on the topic of boiling, I need to point out a correction here, chlorine, in quantities safe for human consumption will NOT kill yeast. What it will do, however, is bond with other chemicals and create chlorophenols which have a plastic-like or medicinal taste (think nasty cough syrup). Boiling water for 15 minutes will get rid of chlorine, but it won't get rid of the more stable chloramines that most municipalities in the US (and many abroad) are now using. Those can only be removed by filtering. Alternately, you can use purified water from the store if you want to make extra sure.

    Finally; boiling. The purpose of boiling when making beer from grain is multi-faceted. It sanitizes the wort, eliminates some to most dissolved gasses, and facilitates enzyme reactions that enable a more effective and efficient fermentation. In this scenario, I would recommend boiling the entire mixture (pineapple included), primarily for the reason of sanitation. You can't know what bacteria or wild yeast are hiding in the water (though if it's treated water, there shouldn't be much) or in the pineapple (fruit commonly have yeast living on the surface, so unless it's pasteurized, it has something living on it). 99% chance that anything that IS in there isn't going to hurt you at all, but it is likely to hurt the flavor and quality of your beer.

    The last thing I'll say is to echo others in that you should ONLY use items/chemicals/etc. that are food-safe. If you wouldn't be ok with it touching your food or going in your mouth, keep it away from your beer.

    All in all, well-written 'ible and great idea. Thanks for sharing, and congrats (belated) on getting runner-up in the competition.

    For All...

    In my Village / Indonesia so many many pine apple and I'll make home industry pine apple beers from pine apple. but i have some problem + confused with the Brewer's yeast.

    Please help me kind of yeast

    In the market Indonesia have yeast for bread, this can use for brewer beer ?

    thanks for All

    2 replies

    Yeast for baking bread is fine. Instant yeast will work too.

    I would never use Turbo yeast! They were developed for fuel production, hence why they can handle a lot of sugar!! Taste they produce is really ... average... but can't see anything wrong with using any of the other more brew specific yeasts. Bakers yeast is the easiest to get a hold of and is the best priced, but it depends on your taste.

    As for boiling or not boiling, beer brewers have learned and documented the best most consistent methods for making brews! I am not a beer brewer, but I have learned to follow their practices, which seem excessive at times, but will guarantee a good end product. Your choice.

    Whisky and Wine 'brewers' tend to have open vats fro fermentation preferring the yeast (not bread yeast) to stop the infection of the ferment ... depends where your going to go with this!?!

    I must agree, though, that using anything but food grade plastics is the way to go! BPA has been linked to premature raging and is suspected to have influences in cancer cases (but they don't really know - theres so much plastic in our lives its hard to separate it from any influences on our health)...

    I like this recipe and will have a crack at it myself. Summer is coming up and ti would be nice to have something refreshing!

    1 reply

    I'm starting a batch of ginger beer this weekend. I will do the boiling thing this time. I'm planning on doing another Instructable based on this one (or edit this one), so something else you can make for summer. Oh, and I received a big bag of passion fruit. I'll be making a smaller batch of passion fruit beer too ... lets see how that turns out.

    in Mexico its called tepache and they sell it on the streets in any corner of a hot City. Its cheap and not even considered an alcoholic drink. Its done without yeast , just the sugar fermentation and a light beer. Google it for Tips

    1 reply

    Somebody else mentioned tepache as well. I will try it. The addition of spices sounds delicious.