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Old 08-02-2012, 11:58 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by HAREEBROWNBEEST
So in my second carboy i plan on doing a 2 gallon apple cider with additions of honey and fresh strawberries. Honey in the primary and the strawberries also into the primary, back sweeten with some 100% juice concentrate in secondary for sweetness. As soon as my stuff comes i will post pics of the processes
I recommend doing the strawberries in the secondary. The bubbles that come up during fermentation kind of "scrub" the aromatics out, so you want as little of that as possible after adding fruit. If you want to put them in the primary anyways, then at the very least, wait until fermentation is FINISHED before doing so. This is a good idea when adding *any* fruit, but strawberries in particular have a very delicate aroma and flavor profile - most of the "flavor" of a strawberry comes from the sugar itself, and when that sweetness isn't there (if, for example, the sugar's been converted to alcohol), there isn't much of anything left. So it's import to do everything you can to make sure as much of it STAYS in the cider/mead/beer/wine as possible, rather than losing what little there actually is.

For the same reason, try to get the best quality strawberries you can, possibly an heirloom variety as possible. You want strawberries that have a lot of actual FLAVOR (not necessarily sweetness - it's a VERY important distinction), and not necessarily ones that look the best. Modern varieties were bred to look great at the grocery store so that they sell, not necessarily to taste the best... and this is true of most fruit. A good place to look is at the farmer's market - a vendor who can tell you the actual variety of the fruit is usually a good sign.
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Old 08-03-2012, 12:34 AM   #12
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Thanks. I live in strawberry country, we get the best around here (Ventura county) so I will add them to my secondary. Do they stay on top, do I slice them up, use them whole? Are they a pain to siphon through? I've never done a fruit addition yet. How long should they stay in the second? Thanks, your like a cider Jedi.

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Old 08-03-2012, 03:52 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by HAREEBROWNBEEST
Thanks. I live in strawberry country, we get the best around here (Ventura county) so I will add them to my secondary. Do they stay on top, do I slice them up, use them whole? Are they a pain to siphon through? I've never done a fruit addition yet. How long should they stay in the second? Thanks, your like a cider Jedi.
Heh, hardly.

The best way to use them is to first freeze them, and then thaw them (and possibly even repeating). The ice crystals that form will puncture the cell walls and make the juices much more accessible to the yeast. You can throw them in just like that, or mush them up/puree them... in any case, I'd remove the leaves.


Keep the tip of the autosiphon out of the gunk on the bottom and you should be fine. I'd personally keep the cider on the strawberries for at least 3 months, but 4-6 months is better. I'll have to check my notes, but a pound of strawberries per gallon is a good number, if I recall correctly (it MIGHT be more).

If you use fruit in the cider, I'd really recommend using sulfite (in the form of campden tablets, most likely) in order to keep any wild yeast or bacteria present on the fruit in check. With beer, hops usually provide the extra antimicrobial activity needed, but with anything else, it's best to play it safe, IMO.
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Old 08-03-2012, 02:07 PM   #14
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I freeze then rinse in one step throw them in the funnel and push them thru the hole effectively squishing them. In a very short time 4-7 days you won't recognize them and they've lost all the flavor. That's when I rack again.

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