Style Details

Fruit Beer
Fruit Beer
BJCP Style Code
29 A
Appearance should be appro­pria­te for the declared base beer and declared fruit. For ligh­ter-colo­red beers with fruits that exhi­bit distinc­ti­ve colors, the color should be noti­ceable. Note that the color of fruit in beer is often ligh­ter than the fle­sh of the fruit its­elf and may take on slight­ly dif­fe­rent shades. Fruit beers may have some haze or be clear, alt­hough haze is a gene­ral­ly unde­si­ra­ble. The head may take on some of the color of the fruit.
The distinc­ti­ve aro­ma­tics asso­cia­ted with the declared fruit should be noti­ceable in the aro­ma; howe­ver, note that some fruit (e.g., raspber­ries, cher­ries) have stron­ger aro­mas and are more distinc­ti­ve than others (e.g., blueber­ries, straw­ber­ries) – allow for a ran­ge of fruit cha­rac­ter and inten­si­ty from subt­le to aggres­si­ve. The addi­tio­nal aro­ma­tics should blend well with wha­te­ver aro­ma­tics are appro­pria­te for the declared base beer style.
As with aro­ma, the distinc­ti­ve fla­vor cha­rac­ter asso­cia­ted with the declared fruit should be noti­ceable, and may ran­ge in inten­si­ty from subt­le to aggres­si­ve. The balan­ce of fruit with the under­ly­ing beer is vital, and the fruit cha­rac­ter should not be so arti­fi­ci­al and/or inap­pro­pria­te­ly over­powe­ring as to sug­gest a ‘fruit juice drink.’ Hop bit­ter­ness, fla­vor, malt fla­vors, alco­hol con­tent, and fer­men­ta­ti­on by-pro­ducts, such as esters, should be appro­pria­te to the base beer and be har­mo­nious and balan­ced with the distinc­ti­ve fruit fla­vors pre­sent. Remem­ber that fruit gene­ral­ly add fla­vor not sweet­ness to fruit beers. The sugar found in fruit is usual­ly ful­ly fer­men­ted and con­tri­bu­tes to ligh­ter fla­vors and a drier finish than might be expec­ted for the declared base style. Howe­ver, resi­du­al sweet­ness is not neces­s­a­ri­ly a nega­ti­ve cha­rac­te­ristic unless it has a raw, unfer­men­ted quality.
Mouth­feel may vary depen­ding on the base beer sel­ec­ted and as appro­pria­te to that base beer. Body and car­bo­na­ti­on levels should be appro­pria­te to the declared base beer style. Fruit gene­ral­ly adds fer­men­ta­bles that tend to thin out the beer; the resul­ting beer may seem ligh­ter than expec­ted for the declared base style. Smal­ler and dar­ker fruit have a ten­den­cy to add a tan­nic depth that should over­whelm the base beer.
Over­all Impression
A har­mo­nious mar­ria­ge of fruit and beer, but still reco­gnizable as a beer. The fruit cha­rac­ter should be evi­dent but in balan­ce with the beer, not so for­ward as to sug­gest an arti­fi­ci­al product.
Over­all balan­ce is the key to pre­sen­ting a well-made fruit beer. The fruit should com­ple­ment the ori­gi­nal style and not over­whelm it. The key attri­bu­tes of the under­ly­ing style will be dif­fe­rent with the addi­ti­on of fruit; do not expect the base beer to tas­te the same as the unadul­tera­ted ver­si­on. Judge the beer based on the plea­sant­ness and balan­ce of the resul­ting combination.
Com­mer­cial Examples
Bell’s Cher­ry Stout, Dog­fi­sh Head Aprih­op, Ebu­lum Elder­ber­ry Black Ale, Foun­ders Rübæus
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
0.000 - 0.000 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
0.000 - 0.000 SG
0 - 0 SRM
0.0 - 0.0 %vol
0 - 0 IBU