Let's Make Some Pineapple Beer!

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Introduction: Let's Make Some Pineapple Beer!

Homebrew Contest 2016

Runner Up in the
Homebrew Contest 2016

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...

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    52 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.

    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.

    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%.

    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