Quantcast

Adding frozen fruit - to sanitize or not

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

TravelingLight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
1,525
Reaction score
437
Location
Capital City, SC
I'm gearing up for my first sour (!!!) and this will have some raspberries incorporated in.

I've never done fruit in a a beer, sour or otherwise. And much like most homebrew processes, everyone does it differently. Ideally, I like to K.I.S.S. so I would like to keep it nice and easy.

I get that freezing breaks down the cell walls and all that. My question surrounds the process of freezing and just tossing in. And I've seen countless people just freeze and toss, with no vodka soak or otherwise sanitization, and never had any infections or issue. Why? Is it because 1) freezing the fruit negates any bacteria and/or wild yeast to cause any issues, and 2) by the time they thaw the alcohol and/or ph of the beer inhibits any infection?

Hopefully I just answered my own question. That's how I wrapped my brain around it at least. Thanks for any advice. I respect the absolute hell out of you experienced sour/wild/lambic brewers. I hope to one day be on your level!
 

m00ps

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2014
Messages
6,910
Reaction score
2,167
Location
Paducah
If its a newly opened frozen package I just add them right in frozen. Plus, you are already doing a sour so worry about contamination is kinda a moot point
 
OP
TravelingLight

TravelingLight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
1,525
Reaction score
437
Location
Capital City, SC
If its a newly opened frozen package I just add them right in frozen. Plus, you are already doing a sour so worry about contamination is kinda a moot point
Thanks, m00ps, that's kind of what I was thinking. Which leads me to another question...
I was planning on pitching 3209 (Oud Bruin Blend). But now I am intrigued on the idea of also pitching some bottle dregs as well. Not sure what yet, but I've got plenty of viable sours in my cellar (i.e., pantry I store beer in). BUT...here's the kicker...is it possible to straight pitch the dregs with the 3209 without a starter? Or would that be absolutely pointless because they dead and/or sleeping? I only ask because I've never done a starter, ever. I know it's not hard and I can absolutely do it. Just wondering if it is absolutely necessary if I am pitching bottle dregs. I don't have to add dregs, but I just figured it would add some complexity to it.
 

sweetcell

Protruding Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2012
Messages
5,538
Reaction score
1,280
Location
North Bend, WA
And I've seen countless people just freeze and toss, with no vodka soak or otherwise sanitization, and never had any infections or issue. Why? Is it because 1) freezing the fruit negates any bacteria and/or wild yeast to cause any issues, and 2) by the time they thaw the alcohol and/or ph of the beer inhibits any infection?
my understanding is that both contribute. freezing kills off some microflora, and knocks back others but it doesn't not sanitize. the reduced population of bugs that does survive is then thrown into the inhospitable enviro that is alcohol and low pH. at this point even if those bugs do take hold and start to multiply, chances are very good that your pitched bugs are a gzillion times more numerous and are active. the new guys don't stand much of a chance of making any noticeable impact on the beer. (then there is the possibility that the bugs on the outside of fruit are actually beneficial, since they are often the same as what we have in our sours. i wouldn't bank on this, tho)

so there's another reason to add your fruit towards the end of the sour's lifecycle: not only will the beer retain more of the fruit flavor, but you'll make the beer more resistant to any bugs that the fruit might be dragging in.

is it possible to straight pitch the dregs with the 3209 without a starter? Or would that be absolutely pointless because they dead and/or sleeping? I only ask because I've never done a starter, ever. I know it's not hard and I can absolutely do it. Just wondering if it is absolutely necessary if I am pitching bottle dregs. I don't have to add dregs, but I just figured it would add some complexity to it.
yes, you can pitch directly. you are correct in assuming that there are few cells in those dregs. they will grow with time, but it will take a while for them to take off. the sacch in the Oud Bruin Blend will take care of the primary fermentation. you can probably get away with not making a starter, because even though you'll be under-pitching the sacch and it is unlikely to complete fermentation, you'll have other bugs in the dregs pulling up the rear. they'll eventually finish off what the sacch didn't get to.

idea: sanitize a small mason/ball jar. boil up some weak starter, 1.020-1.025, add a little nutrient if you have it, cool and add to the sanitized jar. have a sour beer party, or dedicate yourself to drinking 2-3 sours in a night (tough assignment, i know). swirl up the dregs and put them in the jar. do not seal the lid tightly, instead put it on relatively loosely - just enough so that any pressure inside could make its way out. keep an eye on the jar, when you see active fermentation you might need to crack the lid a little more. give the dregs a week or two before adding to the beer.

giving the bugs access to alcohol-free, "normal" pH wort will allow them to wake up and multiply much faster than they'll be able to in the beer (sacch is much faster, there will be alcohol and a lowered pH before the dregs even get out of bed). you can of course use other type of jars or bottles, i like mason/ball because of the side opening. if you can get your dregs into a beer bottle, you could throw on an air lock or even use a sanitized balloon with a needle hole poked into it.
 

GHBWNY

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2014
Messages
2,230
Reaction score
851
Location
Western New York
Is it because 1) freezing the fruit negates any bacteria and/or wild yeast to cause any issues, and 2) by the time they thaw the alcohol and/or ph of the beer inhibits any infection?
I did a secondary fruit addition, a homemade puree from room temp canned apricots I racked a wit onto. Been bottled 5+ months, no prob with infection, contamination, etc.. If I had to choose between 1. or 2. as the reason why, I'd obviously have to go with 2..
 
OP
TravelingLight

TravelingLight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
1,525
Reaction score
437
Location
Capital City, SC
idea: sanitize a small mason/ball jar. boil up some weak starter, 1.020-1.025, add a little nutrient if you have it, cool and add to the sanitized jar. have a sour beer party, or dedicate yourself to drinking 2-3 sours in a night (tough assignment, i know). swirl up the dregs and put them in the jar. do not seal the lid tightly, instead put it on relatively loosely - just enough so that any pressure inside could make its way out. keep an eye on the jar, when you see active fermentation you might need to crack the lid a little more. give the dregs a week or two before adding to the beer.
Fantastically simple, thanks for that. Should I leave the flask/jar at room temperature the entire time? At any point should I chill it in the fridge? The more I think about it the more I am likely to do this. I think it will add some significant complexity to my sour. Just need to go through my cellar and see what I want to use. Most likely a Love Child, maybe a Wicked Weed, and a Crooked Stave.

Side note: Why in the HELL is Crooked Stave so damn expensive? It just started getting distributed in my state (SC) and I love their beers but damn they're pricey. What gives?

I did a secondary fruit addition, a homemade puree from room temp canned apricots I racked a wit onto. Been bottled 5+ months, no prob with infection, contamination, etc.. If I had to choose between 1. or 2. as the reason why, I'd obviously have to go with 2..
How long did it sit on the apricots in secondary before you racked/bottled?
 

GHBWNY

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2014
Messages
2,230
Reaction score
851
Location
Western New York
How long did it sit on the apricots in secondary before you racked/bottled?
7 days. I did "cheat", though. The initial flavor of the beer was a little weak in the apricot dept., so I got a 4 oz. bottle of Brewer's Best Apricot Extract and added it at bottling. It tastes really good, but if I had it to do again, I'd double the fruit addition or cut the extract addition in half, confirming the adage that adding fruit is a trial-and-error process.
 
OP
TravelingLight

TravelingLight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
1,525
Reaction score
437
Location
Capital City, SC
7 days. I did "cheat", though. The initial flavor of the beer was a little weak in the apricot dept., so I got a 4 oz. bottle of Brewer's Best Apricot Extract and added it at bottling. It tastes really good, but if I had it to do again, I'd double the fruit addition or cut the extract addition in half, confirming the adage that adding fruit is a trial-and-error process.
Awesome, thanks for the info. I have no idea how long I'll leave mine on raspberries but we shall see...
 

WarmGas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
80
Reaction score
18
Location
Auckland
my understanding is that both contribute. freezing kills off some microflora, and knocks back others but it doesn't not sanitize. the reduced population of bugs that does survive is then thrown into the inhospitable enviro that is alcohol and low pH. at this point even if those bugs do take hold and start to multiply, chances are very good that your pitched bugs are a gzillion times more numerous and are active. the new guys don't stand much of a chance of making any noticeable impact on the beer. (then there is the possibility that the bugs on the outside of fruit are actually beneficial, since they are often the same as what we have in our sours. i wouldn't bank on this, tho)
I think this is an excellent explanation of what is going on and why beer is safe (and water is not). I would also add beer is an anaerobic environment - no oxygen thanks to the CO2 production of the yeast. This makes a doubly inhospitable environment for bugs like mold and algae. They have trouble in beer. 70% of all contamination is bacteria and only a few certain types. The only other threat of infection is from wild yeast.

Hop acids and low temperatures also help to inhibit any bug growth. (This is why there were so many hops in the original IPAs. They had to survive months on a ship from England to India and then sit around in the tropics before being consumed by the thirsty and grateful). Finally, if your yeast are healthy they are already consuming much of the nutrients in the wort that other bugs need.

It is kind of like moving to New York City for unwanted bugs in wort; they face a highly competitive and unfriendly environment.

Not saying infection isn't something we always have to be on guard against, but the odds are in our favor.

Cheers.
 

millsbrew

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
May 19, 2013
Messages
377
Reaction score
17
(This is why there were so many hops in the original IPAs. They had to survive months on a ship from England to India and then sit around in the tropics before being consumed by the thirsty and grateful).

Read IPA by Mitch Steele. Beers were already being hopped and highly hopped. IPA just gave a name to the beers that ex-pats in India were enjoying. Kind of like how "Imperial" and "Export strength" are used.

But that leads to the point that you don't want too many IBUs in your sour.
 

WarmGas

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
80
Reaction score
18
Location
Auckland
Read IPA by Mitch Steele. Beers were already being hopped and highly hopped. IPA just gave a name to the beers that ex-pats in India were enjoying. Kind of like how "Imperial" and "Export strength" are used.

But that leads to the point that you don't want too many IBUs in your sour.
Just bought Mitch's book. Thanks for the tip!
 
OP
TravelingLight

TravelingLight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
1,525
Reaction score
437
Location
Capital City, SC
I was under the impression 3209 hadn't been released since summer of 2014 when it was released as a Private Collection strain. Did I miss something?
No, you're probably correct. Which is probably why I can't find it anywhere. Back to the drawing board for my yeast...
 

mitchard

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2014
Messages
153
Reaction score
18
Location
Arlington
What sort of style are you actually going for? I'm guessing a darker beer, similar to Oud Bruin based off that selection. I haven't personally used that blend before, but I have recently had a couple dark sours with 1st generation 3763 Roeselare brewed by others that turned out fantastic. Roeselare plus various dregs would probably serve that purpose well. Plus its a year round release, so most shops carrying Wyeast should have it in stock.
 
OP
TravelingLight

TravelingLight

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2013
Messages
1,525
Reaction score
437
Location
Capital City, SC
What sort of style are you actually going for? I'm guessing a darker beer, similar to Oud Bruin based off that selection. I haven't personally used that blend before, but I have recently had a couple dark sours with 1st generation 3763 Roeselare brewed by others that turned out fantastic. Roeselare plus various dregs would probably serve that purpose well. Plus its a year round release, so most shops carrying Wyeast should have it in stock.
Yep, you got it. Basically going for a sour stout/dark sour, with raspberries and oak. I will definitely look into 3763. I haven't used it before (or any other bugs before for that matter), but you guys give great advice. Thanks.
 

microbusbrewery

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
2,127
Reaction score
324
Location
West Jordan
Yep, you got it. Basically going for a sour stout/dark sour, with raspberries and oak. I will definitely look into 3763. I haven't used it before (or any other bugs before for that matter), but you guys give great advice. Thanks.
Couple key things to keep in mind, 3209 reportedly only contained sach and lacto strains. Roeselare (which I love) is a bit more diverse with sach, sherry, brett, lacto, and pedio strains. It might take longer to age than 3209, especially if it gets "sick" and/or if the pedio starts throwing off a bunch of diacetyl. I wouldn't avoid Roeselare, buy it's something to keep in mind.
 
Top