Author Topic: Fruit in secondary  (Read 1820 times)

Offline yso191

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Fruit in secondary
« on: April 30, 2016, 05:30:10 AM »
My wife and I made a blackberry melomel.  It is about 4 weeks old and a week in secondary.  I understand that putting fruit in secondary gives more of a fruity punch to the finished mead.  So I bought a pound of blackberries today at Costco.  My questions:

Is that too little?  Will I need to get more, and if so, how much?

I assume I will need to sanitize them.  I'm thinking about putting the berries in a sealed container with some vodka and rolling them around to completely cover the berries, then dumping the whole thing into the batch.

Anything else I need to think about?
Steve
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 11:25:02 AM »
i would freeze the berries overnight. It will sanitize them and as a bonus break up the cell structure so that they release their juice more effectively.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 02:21:26 PM »
Good idea.

I forgot to mention: it's a 5 gallon batch.
Steve
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2016, 02:54:02 PM »
Did you already put blackberries in primary? If not, the normal addition would be at least 5 pounds.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 04:18:52 PM »
Hi Steve
Didn't you put this in secondary a week or two ago? I'm picturing a carboy full into the neck so I am wondering how you will do this in a non big mess kind of way. Maybe I am mistaken about that.
Frankly I wouldn't do this if you are satisfied with the blackberry flavor already. I don't find I lose any berry flavor if this enough to start. Maybe because mead fermentation is slow and steady.
If you did I would just freeze/thaw and rack on top and put in a blow off tube. The pH and alcohol won't be a great place for wild yeast. Unfortunately it won't be a good place for regular yeast and you might end up with sugar at the end. If your not using chemicals later you may end up with a petilant mead.
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Offline yso191

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 12:30:35 AM »
I transferred to secondary one week ago today.

Yes, I used a can of blackberry puree (the wine making variety) in primary.  We sampled it when we transferred it and it had OK flavor, but I'm always for bumping it up.  I read something recently that it would make the fruit flavor brighter or something like that.

Also, it is a "5 gallon" batch but only sort of.  It is one of the things I will do better next time.  This is in a 5 gallon better bottle, and yes I did flush it before and after with CO2:


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Offline pete b

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2016, 12:52:08 AM »
Now you see why I have about 40 carboys from 2 to 15 gallons plus a whole fleet of glass gallon jugs!
Theoretically the purging and topping off should help a lot but that much surface area is something to avoid going forward. You can definitely add the berries, and the secondary fermentation will add more co2 to that space.
It's fine like that for a time but I wouldn't age it for many months like that. Do you have two 2gal carboys or a 3 in a 1? When racking into tertiary you could get full carboys.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2016, 02:37:45 AM »
For me, my rule of thumb is that I use about as many pounds of fruit per gallon in a melomel as I do ounces of hops per gallon in an IPA (2-4). One pound isn't going to do much for a 5 gallon batch. I'd plan on using at least 5 more pounds if you want a solid boost to the fruit character in secondary.

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Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2016, 11:53:07 AM »
Put your one pound in.....in a week or so, try a sample.  If it's to your liking stop there.  If you think it needs more fruit character, repeat until it does.
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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2016, 02:25:33 PM »
I don't know you can say Freezing is = to sanitation.  Freezing yeast to normal freezer temps doesn't kill it, why would wild yeast die off?  I would think you really want to avoid Lacto, Pedio, and Brett in your melomel, but I don't know maybe you do?  If you want to avoid them I am pretty sure  Freezing for <24 hours wont do the trick.  Plus these berries have been through a lot to reach that shelf you bought them off of, who knows what dirt, from what surface got kicked up or came into direct contact to those berries...
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Offline pete b

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2016, 03:21:52 PM »
I don't know you can say Freezing is = to sanitation.  Freezing yeast to normal freezer temps doesn't kill it, why would wild yeast die off?  I would think you really want to avoid Lacto, Pedio, and Brett in your melomel, but I don't know maybe you do?  If you want to avoid them I am pretty sure  Freezing for <24 hours wont do the trick.  Plus these berries have been through a lot to reach that shelf you bought them off of, who knows what dirt, from what surface got kicked up or came into direct contact to those berries...
Freezing doesn't sanitize but the ph and alcohol content of a mostly fermented melomel won't be a place where those microflora would grow. Freezing breaks down cell walls so all the juice gets into the liquid.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2016, 04:12:48 PM »
Freezing doesn't sanitize but the ph and alcohol content of a mostly fermented melomel won't be a place where those microflora would grow. Freezing breaks down cell walls so all the juice gets into the liquid.


+1.  We freeze hops and dry hop with them as is, too. A low pH environment with alcohol present is pretty inhospitable. Not saying it's impossible, but I've never gotten an infection from fruit in secondary, dry hops, coffee or vanilla beans. Hell, Denny adds mushrooms to secondary.  ;D
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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2016, 03:44:12 AM »
I don't know you can say Freezing is = to sanitation.  Freezing yeast to normal freezer temps doesn't kill it, why would wild yeast die off?  I would think you really want to avoid Lacto, Pedio, and Brett in your melomel, but I don't know maybe you do?  If you want to avoid them I am pretty sure  Freezing for <24 hours wont do the trick.  Plus these berries have been through a lot to reach that shelf you bought them off of, who knows what dirt, from what surface got kicked up or came into direct contact to those berries...
From what I understand, honey has some natural antimicrobial properties in addition to the low pH and alcohol content of a finished mead. I've heard several reports of people intentionally trying to make a sour mead and being unsuccessful, so I have little concern with unintentional contamination.

Personally, I've never sanitized fruit in any melomel (primary or secondary) and have never run into any contamination issues.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2016, 12:15:24 PM »
I don't know you can say Freezing is = to sanitation.  Freezing yeast to normal freezer temps doesn't kill it, why would wild yeast die off?  I would think you really want to avoid Lacto, Pedio, and Brett in your melomel, but I don't know maybe you do?  If you want to avoid them I am pretty sure  Freezing for <24 hours wont do the trick.  Plus these berries have been through a lot to reach that shelf you bought them off of, who knows what dirt, from what surface got kicked up or came into direct contact to those berries...
From what I understand, honey has some natural antimicrobial properties in addition to the low pH and alcohol content of a finished mead. I've heard several reports of people intentionally trying to make a sour mead and being unsuccessful, so I have little concern with unintentional contamination.

Personally, I've never sanitized fruit in any melomel (primary or secondary) and have never run into any contamination issues.
Honey is said to be the only natural food product that doesn't spoil. According to accounts from the time Alexander the Great's body was packed in honey when he died to preserve it for the long ,hot journey home.
I made mead before beer and had to learn the hard way when I started brewing beer to take sanitation seriously. My girlfriend had been making mead for years before that and had come to learn that infections just didn't happen and would, for instance, give the bottle bucket and autosiphon a quick rinse with tap water before use. Now I apply the sanitation I find necessary for beer to mead just out of habit.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Fruit in secondary
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2016, 07:22:51 PM »
I don't know you can say Freezing is = to sanitation.  Freezing yeast to normal freezer temps doesn't kill it, why would wild yeast die off?  I would think you really want to avoid Lacto, Pedio, and Brett in your melomel, but I don't know maybe you do?  If you want to avoid them I am pretty sure  Freezing for <24 hours wont do the trick.  Plus these berries have been through a lot to reach that shelf you bought them off of, who knows what dirt, from what surface got kicked up or came into direct contact to those berries...
From what I understand, honey has some natural antimicrobial properties in addition to the low pH and alcohol content of a finished mead. I've heard several reports of people intentionally trying to make a sour mead and being unsuccessful, so I have little concern with unintentional contamination.

Personally, I've never sanitized fruit in any melomel (primary or secondary) and have never run into any contamination issues.
Honey is said to be the only natural food product that doesn't spoil. According to accounts from the time Alexander the Great's body was packed in honey when he died to preserve it for the long ,hot journey home.
I made mead before beer and had to learn the hard way when I started brewing beer to take sanitation seriously. My girlfriend had been making mead for years before that and had come to learn that infections just didn't happen and would, for instance, give the bottle bucket and autosiphon a quick rinse with tap water before use. Now I apply the sanitation I find necessary for beer to mead just out of habit.

My understanding of honey's ability to stop anything from growing is only in its pure form.  The sugars are so condensed that the cell walls of any normal yeasts or bacteria are broken by the pressure thereby killing anything that gets in the storage container.  This won't be as true once you dilute the honey.  If the yeast can survive to ferment it, the bugs can survive to infect it, prior to completing fermentation.  As has been said once the PH drops and there is alcohol present you should be okay adding fruit, hops, coffee, spices, nuts or whatever.

Paul
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