Fermented Strawberries

Posted on 03.16.08 7:06PM under Fun

Strawberry on the VineI don’t know if you’d call this Strawberry Wine or what… We had some fresh strawberries that we picked in the summer, that we had frozen. I had previously used some of these fresh strawberries in beer by adding them to my American Wheat beer, one pound per gallon, and calling it Strawbeery. It was pink and had a subtle strawberry aroma and flavor, but no real sweetness, and the whole batch was somehow off – getting a banana/clove phenol without Belgian Wit or German Weizen yeast – and it was  all super fizzy. But the basic concept worked.

So we defrosted the last ziploc container of berries a few weeks ago for some reason, and then the remainder sat in the fridge for a week or so. This is the time when Aimée says we have to throw out leftovers, and so it is done. But strawberries seemed so fermentable, and I rescued them from certain landfilling to ferment them.

I took the container, with a bunch of strawberries floating in a deep red strawberry juice, and added a copious amount of bread yeast to it. No sense in wasting a perfectly good dose of brewer’s yeast on the experiment. It started bubbling almost right away. It was done within about 24 hours, at room temperature in my kitchen. It smelled terrible. So bready.

Naturally, I bottled it. I added some table sugar to the mixture, stirred it a bit, and funneled it into a half liter PET bottle. This meant I didn’t need a bottle capper and cap to package it, and it enabled me easy opening and closing, which turned out to be a great benefit. I greatly overestimated the volume in the “primary fermenter” and added two teaspoons of sugar to the mix. In reality, it was about eight ounces of stuff in there. I used way too much priming sugar. But the plastic bottle enabled me to vent pressure a few times over the next few days to maintain a sensible level of fizz. I also diluted with some Pur filtered tap water to fill the bottle to the normal level.

It sat in the bottle for a little while, and I finally got the guts up to try it tonight. I am pleasantly surprised.

It has an assertive strawberry aroma, combined with a bready aroma, but not too much to go “yuck”. The flavor has a strong strawberry component to it, with also a healthy dose of acidic sourness, too. It is like a Strawberry Lemonade Seltzer, with alcohol. I didn’t take any gravity readings, so I have no idea really how much alcohol is in there, probably just a few percent, but it is a fun thing I’ve made here.

Maybe next Strawberry picking season, I could make a Strawberry Wine on purpose with measured gravities and brewer’s yeast, and see if I can get something I like.

The moral of the story is that it’s fun to experiment with fermentable household items. Rather than throw away that old fruit, ferment it with bread yeast!

Read Comments

  1. Posted by phlying penguin on 03.16.08 7:39 PM

    You’re not far off the raspberry mead I started a few weeks back. 2lbs honey + raspberries and wine yeast. I had an OG of 1095 and FG of 1001. It’s tart and dry, but needs to age for a few months yet before I can really have an opinion about it.

    I’m all about fresh fruit for these sorts of things so I got a friend to do strawberry mead similarly. He used 3lbs strawberries and 2lbs honey with bit lower OG of 1085.