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Old 07-05-2009, 03:34 PM   #1
coldrice
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Default Sterilizing Fruit Before its Addition?

So, I am gearing up to put my "Moonwalker Strawberry Ginger Wheat" into secondary. I washed my berries (3#) very well before freezing them, and I really don't intend to Campden or pasteurize them before their introduction to the beer in secondary. Just wanted to get some opinons and see if anyone finds the sterilization of the fruit to be truly necessary and why.

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Old 07-05-2009, 05:32 PM   #2
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Fruit has a lot of natural bacteria and can form wild yeast in your beer. Sometimes this can lead to good beers, but why risk it? I usually steep my beer in 170-180 degree water for about 20-30 minutes and then cool back to fermenting tempurature.

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Old 07-06-2009, 04:14 AM   #3
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my concern is that even this minimal amount of cooking degrades the flavor of the berries. this is why i consider risking it...

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Old 07-06-2009, 06:55 AM   #4
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I was convinced to go with pasteurization in part due to a post by someone who got an infection when using unpasteurized melon. Ten minutes at 160 didn't seem to hurt flavor when I made a fruit beer, and I imagine the Campden method would make even less difference. For that matter, a brief poor of boiling water over the fruit like some use would only affect the outsides in any case. The fermentation process is going to do more to the flavor than the pasteurization process, in any case.

All the same, as long as you clean the fruit off, and you're adding to secondary where you already have high yeast and alcohol levels, I imagine chance of infection should be pretty minimal. If the risk of a ruined batch is less in your mind than the risk to the fruit of pastuerizing, go to it. Just let us know how it comes out so we'll know whether copying the example is a bad idea or not. I do like when these questions have followups rather than speculation.

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Old 07-06-2009, 12:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer_Robot View Post
All the same, as long as you clean the fruit off, and you're adding to secondary where you already have high yeast and alcohol levels, I imagine chance of infection should be pretty minimal.
This is the path i take. Wash fruit, freeze, thaw, add right to secondary - no sterilization necessary. Like robot said, high yeast & alcohol levels typically keep most nasties at bay. All beer's got some level of "infection" anyway, it's just an issue balance & detection.

I've done numerous fruit beers with the freeze/thaw/dump method and they've all turned out fine. I'm over-paranoid about any level of cooking for fear of loss of fruit flavors/aromas, as well as any pectin haze.

Everyone's got their method, though, and everyone will tell you theirs works.
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:19 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, I don't think I'm going to Pasteurize it. I washed it well before freezing, and I intend to let the bag sit in sanitizer for a time prior to opening it just so the berries don't contact any nasties on the way out. I will certainly provide a follow-up post for everone's benefit, it will be a month or so, obviously.

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Old 07-06-2009, 05:31 PM   #7
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I agree that everyone has their own methods, and everyone thinks theirs is best. Truth is, they all work fine. I prefer not to add fruit without boiling because of a recent episode of Bite Me w/ Dr. Mike. He ate unwashed fruits and vegys and contracted worms that setup shop in his intestines.

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Old 07-06-2009, 07:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I agree that everyone has their own methods, and everyone thinks theirs is best. Truth is, they all work fine. I prefer not to add fruit without boiling because of a recent episode of Bite Me w/ Dr. Mike. He ate unwashed fruits and vegys and contracted worms that setup shop in his intestines.
I agree, while at the same time, not washing is a different thing. Not to mention the difference in environments between your gut & your fermenter - namely 5% ABV... Just playing devil's advocate.
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Old 07-13-2009, 06:40 PM   #9
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Any tips for sterilizing ginger? I know boiling ginger milds the flavor quite a bit and I'd like to avoid that.

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