Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Puna Noni Sour

Time for some Radical Brewing!  When Bryan came to visit us from Oahu I asked him to bring an interesting and wild Hawaiian ingredient. Noni juice is what arrived. The noni fruit is loaded with carbs, dietary fiber, and a host of other micronutrients and phytochemicals. The Puna Noni juice label describes the product as a nutrient supplement with a suggested daily dose of about 1oz (should be about an ounce per serving of beer in the final product). Searching the web, you can find several noni homeopathic applications none of which have been thoroughly investigated.  From urinary tract infections to cancer inhibitors, noni juice seems to have a number of health benefits.  This beer might be the cure you're looking for! Apparently, the juice is already fermented prior to bottling so there might already be some interesting critters in the juice.  This would also explain why I didn't see a jump in OG after adding the juice.  For better or worse, I applied the juice after the boil so as not to disrupt the funkiness already present in this concoction.
Puna Noni Juice
This has got to be radical brewing, right Randy Mosher?  This fruit develops a strong odor as it ripens that give it nicknames like "cheese fruit" and "vomit fruit".  You'd never think that this species is in the coffee family!  According to the noni Wikipedia article, people will only eat this fruit during times of famine.  Well, let's see how it does in a homebrew.  Should be an interesting experiment and I have several glass carboys that are screaming for long-term projects.
Noni Fruit, Morinda citrifolia
Chillindamos Homebrew Recipe
Puna Noni Sour
Specialty Beer

Date: 12/20/2011
Type: All Grain
Brewer: Sean
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min
Equipment: Chillindamos Brewhaus
Est Original Gravity: 1.061 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.059 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.9 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.4 %
IBUs (Tinseth’s): 38.1 IBUs
Est Color: 14.3 SRM
Total Hop Weight: 3.80 oz
Calories: 196.2 kcal/12oz
Description: The noni juice is dark brown and very aromatic. The flavor and aroma are hard to describe since I haven't had anything like this before. Definitely funky! Should put most recipes found in "Radical Brewing" in the tame category.
I'll categorize this brew in BJCP Category 23 - Specialty Brew for its unusual and exotic fermented fruit ingredient and no definitive baseline style.


Amt Name Type # %/IBU
8.40 gal SD/RO 50/50 Water 1 -
0.50 tbsp pH 5.2 Stabilizer (Mash 90.0 mins) Water Agent 2 -
8 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 65.6 %
4 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 4 32.8 %
3.2 oz Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 5 1.6 %
1.60 oz Tettnang [4.10 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 24.5 IBUs
1.00 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 7 -
1.20 oz Saaz [3.80 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 8 8.4 IBUs
1.00 oz Saaz [3.80 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 5.1 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Saison I Ale (White Labs #WLP565) [35.49 ml] Yeast 10 -
3.00 qt Puna Noni Juice (Primary 0.0 mins) Flavor 11 -
2.0 pkg Belgian Sour Mix 1 (White Labs #WLP655) [50.28 ml] [Add to Secondary] Yeast 12 -

Mash Steps

Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 13.42 qt of water at 173.8 F 152.0 F 90 min
Mash Type: Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out
Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs 3.2 oz
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F
Pre-boil Volume: 5.95 gal

Days in Primary: 14.00
Primary Temperature: 65.0 F
Days in Secondary: 365.00
Secondary Temperature: 60.0 F
Days in Tertiary: 7.00
Tertiary Temperature: 65.0 F

Carbonation Type: Keg
Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 12.54 PSI
Carbonation Used: Keg with 12.54 PSI
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 45.0 F
Storage Temperature: 60.0 F

Notes: Added noni juice directly to the primary just before pitching WLP565. Saison I yeast was choosen for its known ability as an underachiever leaving food behind for the sour blend to do its work. 60 seconds of oxygen via diffusion stone also applied prior to pitching. No yeast starter used, single vial only. Started ferment at 65°F and insulated well to allow free-rise.  I will not ramp up the temperature like most saison fermentation profiles. Instead, I will let 565 do what it can before racking to secondary and pitching two vials of WLP655 Belgian Sour Mix I. Then, it will sit for a year.
Created with BeerSmith

Image Source:
Rodríguez, Wilfredo. Noni Fruit (Morinda Citrifolia).jpg. 2008. Photograph. Morinda Citrifolia., 15 Oct. 2008. Web. 21 Dec. 2011. .


  1. Sean, you got it. I know you like the funk and this should prove to be a wild experiment. A visit to Portland is on my list.

  2. Sounds neat. I'll have to bring over a few of my sours and I'll want to try this one.

  3. Hey Jeff, I can now brew up to 20 gallons so filling that barrel shouldn't be difficult. Will only need to test the barrel for bad bugs like acetobacter.

  4. Alright you mentioned you'll be keeping this beer in bulk storage for about a year. This is something I've always been curious about, how do you prevent spoilage and especially oxidation over that amount of time? I know how I do it with my wine, but with beer you don't have the higher alcohol content to ward off spoilage bugs and you can't use SO2. Is this one of those times in beer making you are extra diligent in cleaning and sanitizing and then just hope the beer gods are kind to you?

    Also, I don't know if you've seen this trend in California but we are seeing craft distilleries pop up in the midwest. They are using smaller oak barrels (there are cooperages in MO and MN)those smaller barrels would be perfect for beer.......just sayin

  5. Aging beer has its own tricks just as with wine. Along with good sanitation, beer has alcohol and hops creating less ideal circumstances for undesirables. Aging a big beer like a barleywine, extensive amounts of hops should be used similar to sulfite management in wine. In a beer like this, additional flora added will also out compete any critters that may slip by sanitation defenses. Wild saccharomyces, brettanomyces, and bacteria strains pediococcus and lactobaccilus are being added to this beer. These species will stay in solution for quite some time and also change the pH (lactic acid) of the beer, inhibiting other undesirables. Another bonus with brewer's yeast and friends is their ability to scavenge oxygen. For beers that need extended aging like the Burton Ale I brewed last year (needs another year), transferring to keg and partially or fully carbonating can be a great strategy. Cheers!

  6. Oh, and craft distilleries. I know of only two and they tell gruesome stories of getting in business. The laws are probably different otherwise I think we'd experience the same.
    There's at least one place in town that sells smaller sized barrels but also a number of breweries offer spent barrels to homebrewers. They are usually full barrels though!
    I have a 15 gallon barrel from Dave's days with zinfandel. Sadly, it has had water in it for years. Hoping to heat sanitize it but will need to check for nasties before use.

  7. If you have access to a boiler you could setup a steam system for Dave's barrel. I've heard of wineries using ozone as a sanitizer........

    I'm hoping to setup a tour for my winemaking club at The Barrel Mill cooperage in MN this summer.......secretly I'm hoping that if I get a group order I'll get a discount. I'll let you know if something pans out.

    Merry Christmas!

  8. You guys are welcome to stay with us any time! Although I might not be here for too much longer, so we should talk about you visiting sooner than later. We have plans to move to Ohio by summer or fall at the latest.

  9. Why is it that when you want WLP565 to dry out your saison, it stops at 1.015. And when you plan on conditions being less ideal, it chews down to 1.007!? It didn't taste sour going into secondary but I have a feeling there was some Puna Noni flora also working the fermentation. It is now in secondary with the Belgian Sour Mix.


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