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Old 08-12-2012, 10:10 PM   #1
WineIsRed
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Default Another "fruit in primary" question

I have a couple lambic kits that are ~9 months in primary, and I'll be adding some fruit sometime in the next few months (raspberry to one, cherry to another).

What are the pros and cons of just dumping the fruit in the primary after all this time vs. racking on top of fruit in secondary? I've read some opinions on this, and I usually see “that's the way it's traditionally done”, or something like that. I don't give a rat's butt what is traditional, I just want to make great brew. I want to reuse these yeast cakes if possible, and I'm thinking that adding the fruit to the primaries will give me better cakes to use. (these started with Wyeast Lambic blend)

Thanks.

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Old 08-12-2012, 10:37 PM   #2
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I add fruit to secondary so I can reuse the yeast cake without having seeds and fruit particles to wash out. Also, by adding the fruit and racking on to it, you don't introduce oxygen by dropping stuff in to it.

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Old 08-12-2012, 10:46 PM   #3
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I add fruit to secondary so I can reuse the yeast cake without having seeds and fruit particles to wash out. Also, by adding the fruit and racking on to it, you don't introduce oxygen by dropping stuff in to it.
The oxygen point makes sense. As for “seeds and fruit particles”, I guess I should have said that I'll be adding puree (that came with the kits).

One thing I keep thinking about is that NB sour beer episode where Dawson has 5-year old kriek guts that apparently worked very well at being reused.

I guess one of my concerns is that if I dump the fruit in primary, will the 9-month old sacc wake up and eat all the sugars, or will the Brett and Pedio get most of it. I'm assuming that this distinction would have a significant effect on the flavor profile.
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:59 PM   #4
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One thing I keep thinking about is that NB sour beer episode where Dawson has 5-year old kriek guts that apparently worked very well at being reused.
Great episode! I've watched it at least 2x. I can't remember if he was doing that for flavor, or to just get the yeast and bugs in to the next batch...

It seems to me that using the yeast cake/fruit/guts/etc, without the expectation of getting any real fruit flavors from it would work just fine. Each time you reuse yeast/bug cake, the ratio of sacc to pedio/lacto changes, meaning that after a couple of times you may need to start adding additional sacc to start the fermentation to help the beer from getting too sour too quickly. I've only ever used a Roselare cake 2x so far, but I've heard that anything after 3-4x can really start to sour too quickly.

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I guess one of my concerns is that if I dump the fruit in primary, will the 9-month old sacc wake up and eat all the sugars, or will the Brett and Pedio get most of it. I'm assuming that this distinction would have a significant effect on the flavor profile.
I'm gonna leave this question to someone with a little more first hand experience. I could probably take a pretty good educated guess, but don't want to pass around incorrect thoughts and ideas.
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Old 08-14-2012, 10:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by WineIsRed View Post
I guess one of my concerns is that if I dump the fruit in primary, will the 9-month old sacc wake up and eat all the sugars, or will the Brett and Pedio get most of it. I'm assuming that this distinction would have a significant effect on the flavor profile.
I'm not sure how this would change between the primary and the secondary. Well, unless you could somehow transfer only Pedio/Lacto/Brett and not the Sacc... yes, there would be less of each type in the secondary, but the sacc would still be there.

That being said, I wouldn't worry about a change in the flavor profile. But, I would (personally) rack of the cake just so I could save it. About to do that tonight, actually. Love sour bottling nights!
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:21 PM   #6
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I'm not sure how this would change between the primary and the secondary. Well, unless you could somehow transfer only Pedio/Lacto/Brett and not the Sacc... yes, there would be less of each type in the secondary, but the sacc would still be there.

That being said, I wouldn't worry about a change in the flavor profile. But, I would (personally) rack of the cake just so I could save it. About to do that tonight, actually. Love sour bottling nights!
Thanks for the response. My understanding is that the sacc will generally flocculate, so the cake will contain a very high proportion of sacc. As far as the Brett and pedio, since they are active they will represent a much higher percentage of the critters in suspension (or on the surface on the cake). Therefore, it seems that if I racked the proportion of sacc would be very, very, very much less than what would exist in the primary. Yes, there would be sacc carried to secondary, but not nearly as much.

Interesting you said that you would rack to save the cake – I was thinking of adding fruit to primary BECAUSE I want to save the cake. Again, I'm thinking of that NB sour beer episode... it seems that reusing used cherry guts will impart complex, subtle cherry notes in subsequent batch

(in case you're not familiar with what I'm talking about:

The whole episode is great, but Dawson starts talking about his kriek at ~ 20:00)
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:30 PM   #7
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On further thought.... you (AmandaK) indicated (on a different thread) that Roeselare was superior to Lambic blend... and in the video they're using Roeselare....

So maybe I shouldn't do this with my Lambic cakes, but maybe with a reused Roselare cake (I have one of those going too)??

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Old 08-16-2012, 05:54 PM   #8
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I know the episode of BTV very well. But personally, I like to keep a "clean" cake of sour bugs, just in case I don't want fruit on the next batch.

Roeselare isn't superior to Lambic Blend, I just only use Lambic Blend in lambics. In fact, I love it for lambics. Would I use Lambic Blend for a Russian River Supplication Clone? No, I'd go with Roeselare because I think the aromas and flavors of that blend work better for what I'm going for.

It's all just my opinion though, homebrewing is a place for experimenting, so do what you want!

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Old 08-18-2012, 03:42 PM   #9
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I wouldn't save a cake that had fruit in it. That cake is going to have a lot of decaying fruit in it.

I just bottled a fruit sour. 8 months on the fruit. The beer is excellent. I left the trub for a couple of hours before cleaning, and it smelled like vomit.

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Old 08-18-2012, 08:48 PM   #10
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I wouldn't save a cake that had fruit in it. That cake is going to have a lot of decaying fruit in it.

I just bottled a fruit sour. 8 months on the fruit. The beer is excellent. I left the trub for a couple of hours before cleaning, and it smelled like vomit.
Once the fruit comes in contact with oxygen it's going to break down, decay and mold over very quickly. It would probably be ok as long as it is washed/rinsed right away or repitched on immediately.
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