Pineapple beer 2.0: seven simple tips for a brilliant brew

Plus try our new and improved pineapple beer recipe

16 July 2020 - 00:00
Cheers to pineapple beer!
Cheers to pineapple beer!
Image: 123RF/Mykola Lunov

It must have been a sixth sense, but hours before the president cracked down on alcohol sales on Sunday, my husband and I polished off the last of the pineapple beer we’d brewed during the previous booze ban.

Weeks of maturation had resulted in what must have been our best batch yet — we’ve made several during lockdown. Served ice cold, the beer was a crystal clear, almost a schnapps-like drink that packed a hefty punch, leaving not a hint of pineapple flavour on the palate.

Here are seven tips for making a great pineapple beer; scroll down for my easy recipe.

1. Yeast is a must

Although you can brew pineapple beer without yeast, like I initially did, the fermentation process is painstakingly slow. Add some yeast and you add the vuma needed to turn a pineapple-flavoured 'cold drink' into a boozy sip with the kick of a donkey. 

Brewer’s yeast is in short supply, but dry/instant yeast works too.

2. Don't bin the skins 

Using both the skins and the fruit of the pineapple will give your beer a stronger flavour.

3. Use white sugar 

Using white rather than brown sugar results in a clearer beer.

5. Bottle it in glass

I’ve used both plastic and glass bottles when making pineapple beer — I’m not sure why, but glass bottles gave it the edge.

Don’t overfill the bottles as the longer the beer ferments the more it expands, so leave a gap of about 4cm at the top before sealing tightly.

Always sterilise the glass bottles before use: wash them well, rinse in hot water and place in a 100°C oven for 20 minutes. To sterilise the lids, place in a pot, cover with water, bring it to the boil and boil for 10 minutes.

6. Longer means stronger

The longer the pineapple beer is left in the fridge, the more it matures and the boozier it becomes. The bottles I stored on their sides seemed to ferment better than those stored upright.

7. If in any doubt, chuck it out

If at any stage there is any mould formation and/or the mixture has an unpleasant smell instead of a beer-type yeasty aroma, discard it immediately as it can be toxic.

4. Brew it in a metal container

I found the pineapple beer worked better when it was made in a metal container as opposed to a plastic one, as metal is a better conductor of heat. Ensure the vessel has been well washed and rinsed with boiling water before use.

Using both the pineapple's flesh and skin in your brew will give it more flavour.
Using both the pineapple's flesh and skin in your brew will give it more flavour.
Image: 123RF/Ольга Гагарова

EASY PINEAPPLE BEER RECIPE

A word of caution: this pineapple beer is a seriously boozy drink and is not suitable for persons under 18.

Makes: about 4 litres

What you'll need:

Large metal container, well washed

Dishcloth

Fine sieve

Muslin or Superwipe cloth 

2 x 2 litre glass bottles with lids, sterilised

Ingredients:

2 large ripe pineapples

4-5 litres freshly boiled water, cooled but not cold (the amount depends on the size of the pineapples)

10ml (2 tsp) dry/instant yeast  

4 cups (800g) sugar 

Ice and fresh pineapple slices (optional), to serve

Method:

  1. Remove the green stalks from the pineapples and rinse and scrub the fruit well.
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut the pineapple (skin included) into pieces.
  3. Place the pineapple chunks in the metal container and pour over the cooled, but not cold, water — if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. Add the yeast and sugar and stir well to dissolve.
  4. Cover with a clean dishcloth and leave the mixture to stand in a cool spot, out of the fridge, for up to seven days until it starts to bubble. Don't stir the mixture. If there are no bubbles after seven days, wait a day or two longer.
  5. First strain the mixture through a sieve to remove the pineapple solids. Then strain it though a muslin or Superwipe cloth to remove the last of the sediment.
  6. Decant into sterilised glass bottles, ensuring you don't overfill them (see tip 5 above) and seal tightly.
  7. Chill and serve with lots of ice and a slice of pineapple if desired.