Brewing a Fruited American Wheat Beer: A Guide for Homebrewers

Fruited American wheat beer

This fruited American wheat beer recipe will look very similar to our American wheat beer recipe because we use the exact same base. There are a couple of major differences post-fermentation that we discuss, but brewing the base of this beer is the exact same. Despite the additional fruit flavor, there should still be a grainy, bready character with a low to moderate bitterness. The fruit flavor will vary based on your preference. The style guidelines are below. If you have already read our American wheat beer recipe, feel free to skip ahead to the recipe section.

  • Original Gravity: 1.040 – 1.055
  • Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.013
  • Alcohol by Volume: 4.0% – 5.5%
  • Bitterness: 15 – 30 IBU
  • Color (SRM): 3 – 6

Fruited American Wheat Ingredients

Malt

The fruited American wheat beer has a very simple grain bill, consisting of just wheat malt and an American pale malt. You can split it right down the middle at 50/50, or add slightly more wheat at a 60/40 ratio. Some brewers like to add a slightly spicy character, so they will split the wheat malt addition with rye, but that is entirely up to you. Personally, I prefer just using wheat and pale malts.

Hops

For the fruited wheat, there is a low to moderate bitterness. I would use around a 0.3 – 0.5 ratio of IBU/OG (for example, an IBU of 20 and an OG of 1.040 would be 20/40 or 0.5). A strong hop flavor is not typical since you want to showcase the bready, grainy wheat flavor, so I would only add a 60-minute addition. Even though it is an American style, you can’t go wrong with a German noble hop such as Mittelfruh, Spalt, or Tettnang.

Yeast

The yeast should be clean and neutral for the fruited American wheat, while also non-flocculant. There will be some esters, but they should not be prominent. I also ferment my wheat beers around 62 degrees to further suppress the esters. The following strains are excellent choices.

  • American Hefeweizen Yeast – WLP320 (White Labs)
  • American Wheat – 1010 (Wyeast)

Water

Last but not least, the water. For all beers I brew, I use a reverse osmosis filtration system and build up my water profile from scratch. My water profile looked like this:

  • Calcium: 50 ppm
  • Sodium: 5 ppm
  • Sulfates: 75 ppm
  • Chloride: 60 ppm

Recipe

The following is a 5-gallon version of a fruited wheat beer. The numbers for this beer are listed below.

  • Original Gravity: 1.049
  • Final Gravity: 1.008 – 1.013
  • Alcohol by Volume: 4.8%
  • Bitterness: 16.1 IBU
  • Color (SRM): 3.3

Grain Bill

  • Wheat Malt – 5 lbs (55.6%)
  • Pale Malt – 4 lbs (44.4%)

Since there is so much wheat malt in this style, I would highly recommend adding rice hulls. The rice hulls will help provide stability to your grain bed and prevent a stuck mash. For a five-gallon batch, I would use around half a pound of rice hulls.

Hops

1.15 oz of Mittelfruh at 60 minutes (16.1 IBU)

Yeast

American Hefeweizen Yeast – WLP320

Mash

Some brewers have a protein rest at 122 degrees Fahrenheit for 15-30 minutes to break down the high amounts of protein chains found in the wheat malt, but it is not entirely necessary.

Add your salts if needed, and fill your mash tun to the required volume and temperature. We will add the protein rest, but if you do not want to use one, simply mash in at 163 degrees to get a mash temperature of 152 degrees and hold it for 60 minutes. For the protein rest, have your strike water at 2.8 gallons and 133 degrees. Hold the mash at 122 degrees for 15 minutes, and then slowly raise the mash temperature to 152. Hold the mash at 152 degrees for 60 minutes, and then proceed to mash out. Sparge with 5 gallons of water. Pre-boil gravity should be around 1.043.

Boil

Boil the wort for 90 minutes and add the hops in at 60 minutes. At 10 minutes, I added a yeast nutrient, which is particularly important with this style due to the lower fermentation temperature. Once the boil is complete, whirlpool the wort for 10 minutes and then let it wind down for 10 minutes.

Fermentation

Knock the wort out in your heat exchanger so that the pitching temperature is 60 degrees and then measure the gravity/pitch the yeast. Make sure to adequately oxygenate your wort, again, due to the lower fermentation temperature. Initial gravity should be around 1.049. I let this free rise to 62 degrees as fermentation starts. Hold the temperature at 62 degrees for 5-7 days until the primary fermentation starts to slow down, and then let the temperature free-rise up to 72 degrees to finish. Once the fermentation is complete, we begin to make this a fruited beer.

Adding Fruit

Start by adding 1/2 tsp per gallon of potassium sorbate and 1/4 tsp per 6 gallons of potassium metabisulfite to your fermenter at the very end of fermentation. These two ingredients do not kill the yeast but prevent it from reproducing. This is essential when back-sweetening, especially if you are not filtering and/or pasteurizing. Active yeast will ferment the flavoring, even at low temperatures, which will change your abv and flavor, as well as cause a foamy mess when serving.

Keep the potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite in the fermenter for a full 24 hours before cold crashing to 33 degrees. Keep the beer cold crashed for at least a day. Prior to transferring to your brite tank or keg, add your choice of fruit puree to your sanitized vessel. We recommend taste testing different doses of puree via pint glass of a pre-made batch of the base American wheat beer beforehand. It will not take much more than a couple of mL of puree to get the flavor you want. If you are unable to do this, you can use the ratio we use of 0.25 pounds, or 4 ounces, of puree per gallon and adjust from there. For the puree, we love the company Amoretti. They have countless options and all of them are extremely high quality.

Once you have added your desired amount of puree to your sanitized brite tank, transfer your beer. Adding the puree first allows the beer to evenly mix in with the puree during the transfer without the risk of adding additional oxygen. Once everything has been added, carbonate it to 2.6 vols. After 3 days in the brite tank, keg it, and enjoy!

If you decide to try this recipe, or another fruited American wheat recipe, feel free to send us a comment and let us know how it went! And if you want to see more recipes like this, sign up for our newsletter below to be notified when a new post is released. Cheers!

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2 Comments

  1. Good information, planning on using a combo of peach/guava Amoretti and go with the 60/40 wheat to Pale Ale Malt. I may add some honey malt, about 10%, mostly to use it up. I like the setup you have at your brewery, nice video. Thanks for the information.

    1. Thank you very much! That should turn out great, both the peach and the guava flavors from Amoretti are delicious. Please let us know how it turns out!

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