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Old 07-24-2013, 12:39 PM   #1
rockytop714
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Default berries in the kettle... big mistake?

All,

Normally I wouldn't repost the same question, but I put this up on the techniques column and didn't get much feedback. So I thought maybe this would be the more appropriate forum for it.

My original post:

I brewed a berry saison on Sunday.

This is both my first saison and first fruit beer, so I'm not 100% what to expect with either. I had read that if you put the fruit in the kettle or in the primary, you will get a "hint" of the fruit, as a lot of it would ferment out and, if you really want the fruit to come through, put it in the secondary. I decided to split the difference; I'm putting a pound of raspberries in the secondary, when I rack it over, but decided to do a pound of blackberries with the primary.

That being said, I added that blackberries with 5 minutes left in the boil and, as I'm watching them float in the bubbly wort... too late to change my mind, I remember something I read on a cider forum, once, and that was not to cook the cider or you would set the pectins and make the cider very cloudy.

So, my first of two questions is, did I screw up by adding them to the boil, instead of just adding them to the fermenter? I don't mind cloudy beer, but I don't want opaque beer, either. Thoughts?

My second question is, since I'm racking onto raspberries in the secondary and expect fermentation to pick back up again, would I need to rack to a tertiary to clarify, or just let it settle out in the secondary?

Any thoughts/help is appreciated. Thanks!


I would like to add another part to this, though, too; instead of racking onto the raspberries in the secondary and then possibly needing to rack to a tertiary to let it clear out, since I don't have an extra 3 gallon carboy currently, how would it be to add the raspberries directly to the primary, after a week, then rack to a secondary in another week?

again, any thoughts or advice is definitely appreciated.

Thanks!

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Old 07-25-2013, 08:44 PM   #2
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Yes, adding the blackberries to the boil will probably activate pectin, but it won't ruin your beer. You probably won't get any blackberry flavor, but my guess is that it will turn your beer purple-y and add more fermentables.

I always rack my beer to a bottling bucket 30+ min before bottling which helps reduce little bits, but for a strawberry saison I brewed recently, did go with a full day in tertiary, then into the bottling bucket. There should be no problems either way.

You can absolutely add your raspberries to the primary fermenter, but a) be sure you wait until primary fermentation is complete and b) you'll definitely need to let it settle in another vessel and/or filter it.

With all the timing, just rely on looking at the yeast colonies on the surface and watching the airlock. Add berries once primary is done, rack to secondary once the berry sugars are converted, then bottle/keg.

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Old 07-26-2013, 12:46 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for the input.

Ideally, I would rack onto the raspberries in the secondary and then transfer to a tertiary... but, I only have one 3 gal carboy and it's a little hard for me to justify buying another, just for this batch, as it's not something that I would see myself using all that much. I'm not necessarily a huge fan of fruit beers, this was more so an experiment/suggestion from my wife.

I think, with that being the case, on this particular batch, at least, I think I may add them to the primary and then rack to a secondary to clarify.

I know it's hard to gauge when primary fermentation is done but based on your suggestion, above, how long can you typically expect for a saison? 2 weeks? ...or just keep an eye on it? with the blackberries in the boil, the OG came in at 1.062, if that information is helpful.

I guess another question would be the amount of fruit. I had planned on a pound of berries in the primary and a pound in the secondary. If I'm going to lose most of the flavor of the first pound in the primary, would one pound in 3 gallons of beer be enough to get a raspberry flavor in the final product, or would you suggest more?

I don't want the raspberries to be overpowering, but I would like to taste them.

Thanks a lot!

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Old 07-26-2013, 01:44 PM   #4
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That's a really high OG! Probably will end up with a high ABV, maybe 7 or 8%. What yeast did you use? My recent strawberry saison used 3711 and it was still munching away at 2 weeks. You don't need to wait until primary is completely finished to add the fruit, but if you're pretty close to your FG at 2 weeks, toss the berries in. Just make sure you've got a blowoff tube not an airlock!

As for quantity, most recommendations I've seen say about a pound per gallon. With my strawberry saison, that was right on the money. Not overpowering, but enough to give some aroma, a hint of tart and a lovely pink color.

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Old 07-26-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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yeah, the gravity came in higher than I'd expected. I am guessing somewhere around 8%, when it's all said and done. Is there such a thing as "Imperial Saison"? haha...

I'm still fairly new to brewing but very new to all grain. Until this batch, I've done 3 stove top BIAB batches and, given my limited equipment, I had to split my mash into two vessels, even for a 3 gallon batch (start with 5.5 gal). I've made a few upgrades, recently. Still BIAB but in a 10 gal kettle on a patio burner. I can only assume that the new "system" improved my efficiency. It seems to be the case, at least.

I also used 3711. So it sounds to me like I should give it at least another week before I even consider adding the fruit.

It also sounds like I should be picking quite a few more raspberries between now and then, too

Thanks a lot for the help. I really appreciate it!

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Old 07-26-2013, 02:08 PM   #6
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I just did a nectarine-plum saison on the 20th, and my OG clocked in at 1.057. For it I used 1.25lb/gallon, all in secondary. Problem with this (as I've had in the past), is with my yeast strain (Mangrove Jack Belgian, M27), the attenuation is really high so fermentation gets crazy in the secondary. Once again, it blew my blow-off, but when that happens I typically just stick it back on.

As far as racking, I let it sit on fruit for 2-3 weeks, and let it all settle in the secondary. If you're bottling, rack to a bottling bucket, or just straight rack to your keg. If you're careful and calm, all that sediment will remain settled. I use an auto-siphon and move it down as the beer is racked (i.e., don't just drop it in the bottom and walk off).

According to BJCP, there is a table, export and strong (I believe that's the name for the highest).

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Old 07-26-2013, 02:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockytop714 View Post
It also sounds like I should be picking quite a few more raspberries between now and then, too
Fun fact, you can get a lot more flavor profile from the fruits if you run it thru a freeze-thaw cycle (I do it twice). The beauty of this is that you can pick your fruit in season, freeze it down, and in the winter when you need a summer-pick-me-up, thaw those puppies and brew a saison!
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Old 07-26-2013, 03:38 PM   #8
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I've been freezing a few here and there, little by little throughout the growing season, until I had a pound. we probably pick close to a quart a day, when they're at their peak but I'm usually lucky if I get a small handful, once my three year old daughter is done with them

It seems that ours have slowed, now, though. So I may have to swing by the farmer's market, soon, and get two more quarts to add. we plan to plant more, next year. So, if this recipe turns out well, I should have plenty to work with, if I want to make it again.

Thanks for the help!

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Old 07-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #9
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Dunno when your season is, but down here in Texas we've got about three weeks end of June when berry picking is good. Past that, its farmer's market for me.

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