How Celis Has Optimized Its Use of Juice

Some fruit beers are certainly defined by fruit-forward flavor, and for some of these, working with juice is the method they’ve chosen.

Celis Brewery’s Belgian White Ale — their flagship beer — has been around since the brewery opened in Austin in the early 1990s. The Belgian White style creates a good canvas for the fruit and their fruit beers, but it’s the way they use the juice and the order in which it’s added that gives their Celis Peche the peachy, yeasty character that’s apparent from the first sip.

Fruit beers play a big role in Celis’s portfolio, Brewmaster Brian Destree told Brewer, explaining that fruit beers are common in Belgium and the Texas Hill Country grows a lot of peaches, so using peaches is the best way to marry the late founder — Pierre Celis — and his homeland along with the state that later became his home.

“Peach is definitely the backbone of the beer,” Brian Destree, Celis Brewmaster, told Brewer Magazine. “We use concentrated peach juice and add it post fermentation. Adding the juice post fermentation is what gives the beer that fresh, juicy peach pop. If it were added prior to fermentation, the peach flavor/aroma would be muted.

“We want the peach to be the start, so we use very mild, neutral malts and just a little hops for the base beer that is fermented with our proprietary Belgian yeast strain.”

They prefer juice over purees for their fruit beers. It comes down to brix measurements, especially in the case of the Celis Peche.

“We use a 40 brix juice concentrate and it packs a much more potent flavor than a puree,” he said. “Purees are typically only between 15-20 brix. Using concentrated juice allows us to impart a strong peach flavor without diluting the finished beer too much.”

Great care and precision are compulsory to maintain consistency.

“Following our standard brewing and quality control procedures allow us to produce a consistent product,” Destree said. “Adding juice, and the sugar in it, will obviously cause secondary fermentation in the beer, so we pasteurize it shortly after its added to avoid this.”

Celis’s other fruit beers in its portfolio include their cherry Waller Kriek and Celis Raspberry, but fruit and juice costs can play a role in how much of the beer is made available to the public. 

“Raspberry has been on a bit of a hiatus the past few years, as the price of raspberry skyrocketed due to back-to-back poor harvests,” Destree said. “Once raspberry prices normalize it will be back in the rotation. That being said, we did make a small batch of it for draft-only sales at our tap room and beer garden.”

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