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Old 06-03-2009, 05:57 PM   #1
stageseven
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Default dealing with fruit

So my friend an I decided to throw caution to the wind with our second brew and make up our own recipe. Our first beer, a Brewer's Best Brown Ale kit, turned out great and we were feeling pretty good about the brewing process. We decided we wanted to do a raspberry wheat beer next. We headed over to our LHBS and just picked out ingredients based on whatever we thought would taste good. Unfortunately when we went to secondary we realized raspberries aren't in season, so we ended up getting a pound of cherries instead.

We knew we had to pasturize the cherries, so we pitted them (yeah, we didn't buy seedless), blended them up and pasturized following instructions here. However, when we went to siphon into the bottling bucket we noticed a problem. The cherries were blended into small enough pieces that the siphon was sucking them up. Bottling was a pain too, since some pieces would clog the bottling wand and keep it from closing all the way, or go through the wand straight into the beer.

So how do you guys deal with this issue? Some sort of strainer in the bottling bucket? Smashing the fruit instead of blending so you dont' end up with small peices? I'm sure most of the chunks will drop to the bottom of the bottle so they won't end up in the glass, so I'm not too worried about it, but I'd like to avoid it in the future.

We're calling the beer Chewy Cherry Wheat. It actually tasted pretty good, and smells like a Belgian beer.

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Old 06-03-2009, 06:37 PM   #2
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If you have teeny fruit bits, that would be once case where I would rack to a secondary and let all the fruit settle. I prefer not to filter anything, instead just to let it sit for as long as it takes to fall, then rack again or whathaveyou.

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Old 06-03-2009, 07:28 PM   #3
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I came up with a contraption especially for this reason. I'll try to explain it because I cant attach images because I'm too cheap for the membership (unwillingly). I have a handle with 4 rigid wires as long as my carboy. at the end of the wires is the plastic frame of a flexible frizbee; Stretched across the frame of the frizbee is a mesh screen. if you squeeze the wires together, the frizbee folds up and you can fit in in the carboy. once its in, you let go of the wires and the frizbee springs back to its normal shape and the mesh is tight. This covers the entire bottom of the carboy. Hold it down against the "trub" and siphon away and all the fruit will stay under the screen. I hope this helps. If it doesn't make any sense, thats just another reason for me to get a membership.

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Old 06-03-2009, 08:38 PM   #4
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Wow Cheschire, that's a pretty intense setup to deal with the fruit.

We did use a secondary for 3 weeks to allow the fruit to drop out, but it didn't ever get to the point where it all dropped down, about 50% of the surface was still fruit chunks. We decided to go ahead and bottle it because we noticed pieces starting to rise to the top again. Most of the fruit that did get siphoned over stayed at the bottom of the bottling bucket, but again some of the bits stayed floating on the top or suspended in the liquid, so those ended up in the bottles.

I guess taking a piece of screen and fitting it over the opening for the valve inside the bottling bucket would work? The holes would only have to be small enough to keep the fruit chunks from passing through. Keep in mind these were kind of big pieces, like hand-chopped food size, not liquified in a blender size.

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Old 06-03-2009, 08:42 PM   #5
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The issue with fruit parts is that they tend to float and therefore will not drop out. I think you have noticed that from your comments. The simple solution is to put a hop sack over the end of a racking cane and rack to the bottling bucket/ferementer. The hop sack will keep the fruit parts out of the beer. Remember to sanatize the hop sack before you rack.

Ed

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Old 06-03-2009, 08:47 PM   #6
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i haven't done any beers with fruit yet, but when i rack a beer that i have dryhopped i usually just rubberband a fine nylon mesh bag to the end of the autosiphon. Works like a charm, and you don't need to be MacGyver to use it. If its good enough to keep pellet hops out, i'm pretty sure it should work for fruit.

These are the bags that some people use when doing mini-mashes, or you can also get at home depot as paint strainer bags.

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