Originally Posted by hayabusa
Does puree vs. slicing them up or "smashing" then impact the potency?
I just made a strawberry cider with fresh berries + apple juice. I use a "Mister Squeezo" brand fruit crusher-strainer thingy. It's basically a meat grinder, but made to extract the juice and light puree of the fruit.
Strawberries have a lot of bitter, white tissue on the inside that doesn't hold much sugar or juice. The Mr. Squeezo dumps this material out the end to be discarded. It just squeezes the heck out of it until there's no more juice and then it dumps it out. Out of 4 pounds of strawberries, I got perhaps 2.5 pounds of juice.
So if you just puree the whole berries as-is, you're going to get a lot of unfermentable material. True, it'll probably just settle out and won't affect the final beer, but it does take up fermenter space if that's an issue for you.
So as far as potency of what you're putting into the fermenter, yes, it makes a difference how you strain/puree/crush it.
But as far as the final beer goes? Probably only a minor difference.
You can probably duplicate what the squeezo does with either a basket press or a makeshift type of press. Get a small pan or bowl and something heavy and just crush them and strain off the juice. That's what I'd do, at least.
I also pasteurized my fruit. 140*F for 20 minutes. By taste, I detected no difference in the juice before vs. after so I don't think it'll have a negative affect on the cider.