Plum Crazy is my first recipe at Magnotta, for their newly-launched growler line. I wanted to do a nice fruit beer for summer, and decided to do a cream ale with plums.
Why plums? Because I didn’t see very many plum beers out there. I envisioned a nice, light, slightly fruity beer in a lovely shade of pink/purple, something refreshing for a summer day.
I used one of the Festa Brew bases we make, a cream ale, because I wanted a solid base for the plums. The Festa kits are stable and make a solid background for experimentation (no, it’s not a sales pitch, I just think they are a very good product). 10 bags went into the fermenter with the US-05 that comes with the kit. It fermented from 11-ish brix to 3.3 quickly.
Then came the time to do the plums. This was where I learned that buying a puree rather than whole fruit is the way to go. The plums that came in from Niagara weren’t the lush ripe purple plums I’d envisioned, but smaller, harder and yellow. They were quite tart, and not easy to pit – it took the better part of a day. I simmered the fruit to get rid of any unwanted organisms on the skins, a process that took the better part of the day as we only found a tall stockpot and a hot plate to use.
It. Took. Forever.
The plums were left on secondary for about 6 days, tasting it daily for plum flavour. It was still incredibly tart, so I put in some lactose to try and balance the sourness a bit.
As you can see from the top right photo, filtration was fun. Score another point for puree!
The end result was a light and refreshing beer. The tartness from the plums came across as a slight lactic sour, and dominated over any malt and hop flavours there may be. The plums came through mostly on aroma, but dropped off as the beer sat in the kegs. A keg of it went to the Craft Brasserie in Liberty Village for their Women in Brewing event, and it got some favourable reviews on Untappd.
While it’s not what I envisioned, most customers liked it as a good summer beer. It was definitely a learning exercise!