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Old 01-16-2013, 04:10 PM   #1
Bisco_Ben
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Default Using a bucket for secondary when adding fruit?

I currently have 5 gallons of a porter sitting in a carboy. I plan to add 6 pounds of blueberry puree to it and was wondering if I could rack to a bucket and add the fruit there and leave for 2 weeks. Since adding blueberries will cause some more fermentation, I am curious as to whether there would be enough CO2 off-gassing to purge the bucket and make it safe for a 2 week secondary fermentation? I would like to do this because I can imagine that adding the puree through the small hole of a carboy would be a major PITA. Any insight would be very much appreciated! Cheers!

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Old 01-16-2013, 04:20 PM   #2
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I wouldn't worry too much about oxygen entering the beer as long as you rack carefully and don't shake the bucket. Just racking it will release trapped CO2 in ybe beer and it should be purged within a day.

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Old 01-16-2013, 04:27 PM   #3
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It is totally fine. I have done it countless times because I think using a carboy for secondary in a fruit beer is too big of a pain. My fruit beers have won several gold medals so I don't think there's an oxidation problem if you are careful.


Also, I realize you are using a puree, but I have found that using a bucket lets me put all the fruit into a nylon mesh bag to substantially contain the mess from using fresh or frozen fruit. Makes it much easier to rack off the fruit when packaging. Using a carboy is a nightmare when you have little bits of fruit getting into your equipment clogging up hoses, etc.

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Old 01-16-2013, 04:42 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input guys! @weirdboy, I was planning to make a puree from 6lb's of frozen blueberries, but I think that using a bag (muslin?) to contain the fruit is a great idea! How would you recommend preparing the blueberries so that they are sterilized while still being able to be contained with a bag for much easier racking?

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:06 PM   #5
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I don't sterilize or pasteurize my fruit, personally. What I do is hand-wash and inspect every piece and make sure there aren't any bits that are rotting or show other signs of potential infection. Then I put it in the mesh bag, close the bag securely, and put the bag in a sanitized (closed) tupperware container and freeze it. That breaks open the inner cell walls, allowing you to extract more color and flavor from the fruit. For stuff like blueberries or blackberries, what I do then is bang it around a little bit to break open the outer walls...not a lot, just enough to crack the skin a bit. Then when I rack to secondary, I just stick that mesh bag in the bottom of the bucket and rack on top.

Some years ago I did some experiments with doing purees and pasteurizing and whatnot, and I found I preferred the flavor from using the above method. The pasteurized ones had a sort of "cooked" flavor going on. Not necessarily bad, but certainly there are some reactions that take place in fruit which changes the flavor substantially when you pasteurize it. I guess it's like the difference between eating a blueberry pie vs eating a fresh blueberry. They both taste good, and in many ways they are similar, but you can easily tell the difference between the two.


Also if you check around here and elsewhere on the internet, you will see people claiming that freezing the fruit sanitizes it by killing the bacteria, etc. This is completely untrue. All freezing does (apart from rupturing the cell walls in the fruit) is slow down growth while it's in the freezer. You want to have clean, fresh, undamaged fruit to start with.

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:12 PM   #6
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Thanks for the insight weirdboy. So are you saying that I should not use the frozen blueberries and should start with fresh? What if the fresh selection is either not good looking or wayy too expensive? I would assume that the frozen blueberries were the same to start but were just frozen for shelf-life, allowing me to skip the first few steps of your process.

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Old 01-16-2013, 09:14 PM   #7
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No I don't really think you should purposefully avoid the frozen stuff...I think generally speaking that stuff is going to be in pretty good condition and free of issues.

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Old 01-18-2013, 03:09 AM   #8
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Store-bought frozen fruit is individually quick-frozen, which is a much better way of preserving the freshness of the fruit than you'd get by freezing it at home. It also allows you to add it to the beer on your schedule, not the fruit's. I've had no issues with infection adding it straight from freezer to beer. There's not a lot of microbes that can survive in a 5% ethanol solution or find anything to eat after the sacch has finished. Most of the big chunks settle out pretty well without a nylon bag. If a lone seed or tiny chunk is an issue, I would put the nylon bag over the racking cane when you move it to bottling bucket or keg.

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Old 01-18-2013, 09:14 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input kingwood! that is exactly what i needed to hear. Now I am actually looking forward to adding this fruit to the beer, as opposed to dreading the idea of stuffing 6lb's of berries through the neck of a carboy.

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Old 01-20-2013, 03:55 AM   #10
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Hope it tastes great. I've tried at least 6 different fruits in beer, although never blueberries. Blackberries were the runaway winner, but cherries are nice too.

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