Author Topic: Racking beer off fruit  (Read 632 times)

Offline rbowers

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 216
Racking beer off fruit
« on: October 29, 2018, 08:16:55 PM »
I recently racked a sour beer out of a carboy and into a keg off the fruit I had it sitting on and noticed how much beer I lost to the whole process.  This had been aging a year, the last 5 months of it on tart cherries and was fairly painful to see at least a gallon or more go down the drain with all the fruit and such at the bottom of the carboy.  I was trying to rack off just the beer with as little fruit matter/yeast/etc as possible. 

Is there a way to extract more for next time?  I used a siphon and racking cane.  I was thinking about either attaching  screen or loose cheesecloth to the end of racking can so it could submerge deeper into the carboy but still filter out most of the fruit matter.  I worry that would clog off easily though.  Then I wondered about simply pouring the carboy out through a coarse screen also lined with cheesecloth or other more fine filtering substance.  Would pouring it over a screen/fine filtering cloth (sanitized), down a funnel, and into a keg risk substantial oxidation?  I have always racked the beer gently with a siphon but with these beers with a lot of fruit you can sacrifice so much of the beer.  A year or longer effort seems cut substantially short on final beer to drink.  Thoughts?

Offline ynotbrusum

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3718
Re: Racking beer off fruit
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2018, 09:14:29 PM »
I experience the same issue - I know that some guys go the concentrate or extract route for this reason.  I get blackberries for free from my brother in law, so I make an annual brew using them and lose easily a gallon to a gallon and a half to the sedimentation.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline jeffy

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3810
  • Tampa, Fl
Re: Racking beer off fruit
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2018, 09:30:53 PM »
I've experienced this as well, most memorably with a cranberry mead.  It would be best to transfer as much as you can gently without disturbing or aerating it and then when done you could pour the remainder through a sieve into another container for immediate serving or carbonating.  That way it wouldn't be exactly wasted.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
Homebrewing since 1990
AHA member since 1991, now a lifetime member
BJCP judge since 1995

Offline rbowers

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 216
Re: Racking beer off fruit
« Reply #3 on: October 30, 2018, 12:13:34 AM »
That is an excellent idea for a compromise.

Offline Briscarben

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Racking beer off fruit
« Reply #4 on: October 30, 2018, 02:05:37 AM »
I am in the process of my first attempt ever at a fruit beer. I'm working on a cherry porter and was thinking about trying to use a cheese cloth to keep the fruit pulp together. Have any of you ever tried doing this? If so, was it worth it, or should I just let them be free?

 

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3399
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: Racking beer off fruit
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2018, 04:07:45 PM »
Fruit breaks down into fairly fine particles so the only way you can rack out the liquid and leave behind the sediment is with a really fine filter. A fine nylon mesh is a good choice but won't leave everything behind. It will also clog because all the larger fruit particles want to get sucked up too. You'll probably still find more sediment in bottles (or the keg) because you're still getting really small bits of fruit coming through the filter.

But give it a try and see if you can find a happy medium that recovers a little more beer. I do this myself but it's not a perfect process. You may be happier leaving more beer behind and getting fewer clean beers and an easier bottling day.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing

Offline metron-brewer

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 164
  • White Bear Lake, MN
Re: Racking beer off fruit
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2018, 05:07:39 PM »
How about using a paint strainer bag suspended in the carboy to hold the fruit? I do this for dry hopping, and in combination with a siphonless Bubbler get very clear beer into the keg, leaving pretty much everything behind. Not sure how it would perform over that long a time period. You could also look at some sort of stainless mesh to hold the fruit, similar to the "Depth Charge" by NB.
Ron B.
White Bear Lake, MN