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Old 08-06-2012, 08:40 PM   #1
EndlessPurple
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Default Fruit in secondary or delayed primary

Puttiong fruit in the secondary vs primary has been commented on in various threads, but I do not remember seeing a thread specifically on delaying in the primary.

I understand that by putting fruit in the primary at the beginning can cause the flavors to be lost during fermentation. However, how many here put it in after fermentation is nearly done? and what are the thoughts on differences if there are any?

Put fruit in primary after fermentation done VS rack onto fruit in secondary after fermentation done?

I have one batch going from both techniques, however they are not he same fruit and honey so I can't do a one to one comparison. Hmmm, have to do another batch I guess.

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Old 08-06-2012, 10:01 PM   #2
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My guess is that you will get more vigorous re-fermentation after adding the fruit back to primary, due to the much higher yeast population compared to a true secondary. The increased fermentation may or may not result in reduced flavor making it through.

Racking isn't that hard, I would say just rack and be done with it.

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Old 08-09-2012, 02:48 PM   #3
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I highly recommend using your late primary for the purpose of adding fruit, and this is how I've been doing things for quite a while. It seems you get the same benefit (ie; less loss of fruit aroma/flavor) as you do by adding to secondary, but with the benefit of having all your "mess" in the primary container...it's one less racking. I have not appreciated that the re-fermentation is all that more vigorous, but usually you're not getting that much activity from the relatively small amount of fermentables added anyway.

While I agree w/ bk0 that racking isn't "hard," it does expose your mead to potential contamination, oxidization, and volume loss, so why do it if it's not necessary. I believe in the dictum, "primary is for fermentation, secondary for clearing (and aging)," so I think it's best to keep all of that fermentation, including the re-ferment, in that first container. You do have to plan ahead to have enough headspace, but that's isn't an issue with the primary, since the active CO2 production will rapidly purge that area of oxygen (and you need oxygen in early primary anyway)...

FWIW, I also use late primary for adding additional sugars...usually this is more so with beer which may have honey, brown sugar, or molasses...this again seems to preserve some of the aroma and flavor better than adding at flameout. You also have less gravity in the beginning of primary, which makes things easier on the yeast, so many times I will add even flavorless sugars, such as sucrose, dextrose, or candi sugar to late primary as well. Dry hopping also occurs in late primary for me too.

As you can see from my signature, I rarely if ever secondary beers, and my mead "secondary" would probably more accurately be described as a move for clearing/bulk aging. I generally let enough clearance occur in primary that it's uncommon for enough lees to accumulate that I feel an additional racking is necessary, and if I don't end up bottling the mead directly from primary (which I do sometimes), it usually goes into bottles at some point after the first racking from primary. You need to let the mead dictate what is going on though...certain meads like a cocoa mead which has tons of stuff that needs to clear may take longer/more rackings...

Sorry for the long reply, and if I seem to have gone , but I wanted to highlight how versatile primary can be...you can do a lot more in that first container than just the heavy lifting part of fermentation...

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Old 08-09-2012, 04:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biochemedic
I highly recommend using your late primary for the purpose of adding fruit, and this is how I've been doing things for quite a while. It seems you get the same benefit (ie; less loss of fruit aroma/flavor) as you do by adding to secondary, but with the benefit of having all your "mess" in the primary container...it's one less racking. I have not appreciated that the re-fermentation is all that more vigorous, but usually you're not getting that much activity from the relatively small amount of fermentables added anyway.

While I agree w/ bk0 that racking isn't "hard," it does expose your mead to potential contamination, oxidization, and volume loss, so why do it if it's not necessary. I believe in the dictum, "primary is for fermentation, secondary for clearing (and aging)," so I think it's best to keep all of that fermentation, including the re-ferment, in that first container. You do have to plan ahead to have enough headspace, but that's isn't an issue with the primary, since the active CO2 production will rapidly purge that area of oxygen (and you need oxygen in early primary anyway)...

FWIW, I also use late primary for adding additional sugars...usually this is more so with beer which may have honey, brown sugar, or molasses...this again seems to preserve some of the aroma and flavor better than adding at flameout. You also have less gravity in the beginning of primary, which makes things easier on the yeast, so many times I will add even flavorless sugars, such as sucrose, dextrose, or candi sugar to late primary as well. Dry hopping also occurs in late primary for me too.

As you can see from my signature, I rarely if ever secondary beers, and my mead "secondary" would probably more accurately be described as a move for clearing/bulk aging. I generally let enough clearance occur in primary that it's uncommon for enough lees to accumulate that I feel an additional racking is necessary, and if I don't end up bottling the mead directly from primary (which I do sometimes), it usually goes into bottles at some point after the first racking from primary. You need to let the mead dictate what is going on though...certain meads like a cocoa mead which has tons of stuff that needs to clear may take longer/more rackings...

Sorry for the long reply, and if I seem to have gone , but I wanted to highlight how versatile primary can be...you can do a lot more in that first container than just the heavy lifting part of fermentation...
I agree with you a 100% ! I have been doing it that way for a long time.

As a side note: Whatever happened to getting more juice out of the grapes! Decades ago, we used to add sugar into left over grapes and yeast sediment and make a second batch of secondary wine. Why can't you do the same thing with meads. I just racked off a 5 gallon batch of mead into secondary. Left behind we're 5 oranges and 100 raisins, yeast and sediment. I mixed up 3 lbs of honey with yeast nutrient , pectic enzyme and one gallon of water in a one gallon jug. Shook the the bejesus out it and added it back into my primary bucket. I wish I had more honey on hand I would have added a second gallon or even a third back to the mostly spent fruit left behind. I threw in some new things in this batch, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger to spice it up a little.

Fermenting took off and it was done in 4 days. Re-racking into secondary right now. I squeezed some more out of those raisins and oranges and all I had to add some more honey and water. I am doing this again, the next time that I use fruits in my primary 6 gallon pail and have leftovers to use again. But next time 2 or 3 gallons added back.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:59 AM   #5
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That's what I was hoping to hear Bio. I don't mind racking, but if I can avoid one extra cleaning step of a carboy, I am happy.

Too bad the stores are closed, I'm ready to get started on my next batch. hoping to get a new one going every couple months until I have a few bottles stocked up for drinking.

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