Benefits of adding fruit during primary fermentation

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Gorski

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I'm sorry if this has been covered in other threads, but I've not been able to find an answer. What are the benefits of adding fruit to the primary? It seems to me that you would use more fruit to get the same flavor, since a good portion of the sugars from the fruit would be fermented. Is there something I'm overlooking?
 

donjr721

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i'm a rookie, but from what i have read and noticed with my own, seems like you get color, some flavor, aroma. possibly tannins from the fruit, and pectins. also the extra fermentable sugars and whatever acids the fruit has. i think that fruit added after fermentation would contribute to more of the fruit flavor, and aroma.
 

avidhomebrewer

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Yes, you will get some fermentables from the fruit, but in my opinion, when I add fruit to a mead or a brew, I want to be able to detect that taste the fruit lends to the beverage. When adding to the primary, usually the vigorous fermentation will also remove the aromas gained from the fruit. That is why, typically, you see fruit additions added to the secondary where the majority of the fermentation is complete and the delicate aromas will remain.
 

biochemedic

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Think of the difference between grape juice and wine...wine doesn't necessarily taste like grapes, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, right? You will definitely get a different quality of flavor by adding the fruit in primary, and it may not be necessarily recognizable as that particular flavor.

Also, the perception of some flavors may require some residual sweetness, so take this into account (you can still ferment off sugars from the fruit in secondary, but as Avid mentioned, you will be far less likely to loose the delicate aromatic compounds...)
 

daugenet

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You will get some nutrients that may not be present in the honey. Some people will do half the fruit in primary and half in secondary. Overall it is whatever suits you best. :)
 

KeithStone

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Medsen's post was very helpful, and you should definitely give it a look. Personally, I've done both and I have had success with both. You can get a totally different tasting mead depending on which technique you employ. I think it's all about personal tastes. Try a small batch of each and see which one you prefer. After all, it's your creation!
 
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Gorski

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Sorry, I've not responded sooner, new kid and all, but thank you all for your responses. Medsen, that thread is definitely getting bookmarked. :) Am I correct in thinking 3 lbs/ gal is a good place to start with fruit as it is with honey? Also, I was a little confused about adding the campden tablets. It seems they should be added with the fruit, they would prevent new bacteria from start, but not affect the ongoing fermentation, correct? Sorry, so much stuff to remember.
 

iparks81

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under "fruit in the Primary Cons" on the attached link
what does "Requires active cap management." Mean, Ive brewed many many beers, but am new to mead. I havnt heard this term used wonder if anyone could spell it out for a Rookie mead maker.
 

MedsenFey

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When using fruit in the primary, the CO2 produced will push the fruit particles to the surface forming a thick cap. The cap tends to hold in heat, and can cause the fermentation temp to rise too high. It also holds in CO2 and may limit the oxygen uptake (which is needed for wine and mead fermentation - different from beer). If the caps sits on top, you may not get proper extraction of color and flavor elements and if it sits up there out of the alcohol, mold may start to grow on it.

For these reasons it is recommended to punch down the cap (or swirl/stir it) typically 2-3 times per day which alleviates the problems outlined. When the CO2 production slows down the fruit will sink and you can rack normally.

So using fruit in the primary (unless it is clarified juice) means you need to take care of the cap.

I hope that helps.

Medsen
 

natefrog255

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I recently bought a secondary fermenter but have yet to use but for my cranberry ale I've always added my sanitized cranberries before I pitch the yeast to the primary and let ferment for 14 days minimum. I've never ran into any issues and the cranberry flavor is there yet not overpowering, which is perfect. So I really haven't had any issues with fruit in the primary. But I'm also gunning for a more faint than strong taste.
 
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