Best ways to mash blueberries?

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Shawn Lewis

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Hello, all,

I have a batch of bilbemel already brewing, so my question is for next time.

Anybody know of any easy way to mash 10# of blueberries? In the last batch, I discovered that the berries were smaller than the gaps in the masher, so had to do them by hand...which took forever. (I did freeze and thaw them twice, first)

Is there any downside to throwing them in a blender?

Any other ideas?

Thanks, folks!
 

Dgallo

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Hello, all,

I have a batch of bilbemel already brewing, so my question is for next time.

Anybody know of any easy way to mash 10# of blueberries? In the last batch, I discovered that the berries were smaller than the gaps in the masher, so had to do them by hand...which took forever. (I did freeze and thaw them twice, first)

Is there any downside to throwing them in a blender?

Any other ideas?

Thanks, folks!
No. I blend my fruit always before adding them
 
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I buy them frozen, let thaw somewhat, then bang the heck out of them with a rubber mallet. Then refreeze. When time to use, I take them out of the freezer ,let thaw, give them another whack or two with the mallet and pour them into a mesh bag in the fermenter. The most I've ever done is 7 1/2 lbs.
 

Dgallo

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I buy them frozen, let thaw somewhat, then bang the heck out of them with a rubber mallet. Then refreeze. When time to use, I take them out of the freezer ,let thaw, give them another whack or two with the mallet and pour them into a mesh bag in the fermenter. The most I've ever done is 7 1/2 lbs.
Do you cold crash? If so get rid of the bag. You’re getting less extraction since the fruit is constricted in the bag and has less surface area. Surface area and extraction are directly correlated
 
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If so get rid of the bag. You’re getting less extraction since the fruit is constricted in the bag and has less surface area. Surface area and extraction are directly correlated
After 4-5 days when primary fermentation is finished, I remove the bag with the leftover fruit pulp. The bag is a fairly large mesh BIAB bag and the fruit sits completely submerged. Let it go in the bucket for another week, then rack into a jug with airlock with 1 camden tab for the start of the resting phase. Rerack every time the lees get 1/4 thick until she's throwing no more lees. Then bottle. It usually takes 3-4 months and 2-3 rackings to achieve brilliant clearness. Since these jugs are 1 gallon size, I often cold crash before racking.
 

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Do you cold crash? If so get rid of the bag. You’re getting less extraction since the fruit is constricted in the bag and has less surface area. Surface area and extraction are directly correlated

The freezing is not about extracting anything other than the juice. The ice crystals that form in the fruit rupture the cell walls and when the fruit is allowed to thaw there is more juice "extracted". You might also want to add pectic enzyme (NOT pectin but the enzyme that will break up pectins in the fruit. This a) increases the amount of extracted juice and b) reduces the likelihood of a haze caused by the pectins when you are all set to bottle. My palate is not sensitive enough to be able to detect flavors associated with pectic haze but in terms of appearance a bright clear wine is typically much better appreciated than one that is semi opaque.
 
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You might also want to add pectic enzyme (NOT pectin but the enzyme that will break up pectins in the fruit. This a)
I always add pectic enzyme to ciders and any other fruit I use. The Blueberry cyser I just started, I added 1/2 tsp to the cider a day ahead, and 1/2 tsp to the blueberries. Can't hurt and it does seem to help with getting clear product.
 

Dgallo

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The freezing is not about extracting anything other than the juice. The ice crystals that form in the fruit rupture the cell walls and when the fruit is allowed to thaw there is more juice "extracted". You might also want to add pectic enzyme (NOT pectin but the enzyme that will break up pectins in the fruit. This a) increases the amount of extracted juice and b) reduces the likelihood of a haze caused by the pectins when you are all set to bottle. My palate is not sensitive enough to be able to detect flavors associated with pectic haze but in terms of appearance a bright clear wine is typically much better appreciated than one that is semi opaque.
I wasn’t talking about in the freezer. I’m talking about the mesh bag in the fermenter. The skins an pulp will act like a sponge and hold in some of the juices, so closer the material is together (smaller surface area aka in a bag) the more juice and flavor it will hold on too
 

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That is kinda interesting, usually stuff I freeze myself and then thaw out on the counter gets all juicy and mushy. Then again blueberries have a tougher skin than the others. Like I said, just squeeze the bag they are in, or in the brew bag
 

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I was listening to old episodes of the Meadhouse podcast and one of the fellas was taking about using Lalzyme and mashing the fruit and leaving for 3-4 days before adding some sulphites (I think). Only then does he add it to the must. Reckons it’s the only way to ensure a sanitized fruit.
He used a potato masher in a bucket if I remember correctly
 

Seamonkey84

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Blenders over process most fruits. It can break up seeds and and give off flavors that wouldn’t have been released otherwise, plus makes racking a real pain if you don’t use a brew bag.
 
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Shawn Lewis

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Blenders over process most fruits. It can break up seeds and and give off flavors that wouldn’t have been released otherwise, plus makes racking a real pain if you don’t use a brew bag.
The blended fruit doesn't float or settle?
 
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Removed the bag of blueberry pulp from the blueberry cyser I started 4 days ago. SG has dropped from 1.100 to 1.025 so far. Have been degassing 3x daily and will give it another week before 1st racking. Yeast was Safcider. 1st time using that.
 

gratus fermentatio

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Hello, all,

I have a batch of bilbemel already brewing, so my question is for next time.

Anybody know of any easy way to mash 10# of blueberries? In the last batch, I discovered that the berries were smaller than the gaps in the masher, so had to do them by hand...which took forever. (I did freeze and thaw them twice, first)

Is there any downside to throwing them in a blender?

Any other ideas?

Thanks, folks!

Putting fruit in the blender (puree) works, but it makes for a LOT of sediment & you'll lose more volume of your product than if you simply use a mesh sack to contain the fruit, I found that out the hard way. Blueberries that have been frozen & thawed twice really don't need to be crushed, they'll open up & fall apart during fermentation, pectic enzyme will help too. If you still feel the need to crush those berries, try using a potato masher like this one, you can usually find similar at Walmart for a couple bucks.
Regards, GF.

masher1.jpg
 

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With the blackberries I've frozen them, and then after thawing, run them through the blender with campden and pectic enzyme. Then into a filter bag. This goes in when I start everything up.

A week later when I remove the bag, I squeeze it to extract everything but the solids. When fermentation seems to have died down, I replace it with a fresh bag, omitting the campden and enzyme. Another week, remove it the same way.

The result seems to clear up just fine sitting a few months in the fermenter. I think using a 2.5 gallon fast ferment is really helping with that.

I'd like to try a blueberry mead, and think I might follow the same process. Assuming I can convince the wife to go blueberry picking...
 

CKuhns

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Freezing allows the skin to rupture and breaks down the fruit to make it more easily accesable to extract the flavors. I have found no need to mash, puree etc and pretty much get all the flavor the fruit will give up in 2 weeks or so. Mesh bag and a handful of marbles to sink it helps a lot with clean up and keeps a fruit cap from forming. Have used this practice in both primary and secondary.
 

Brett_Bellmore

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So you don't use a carboy for secondary?

It's not necessary if you're using FastFerment's conical fermenter. You can drain anything that settles out the bottom.

I sometimes use my old glass carboy for long term aging, though, just to free up the fermenter.
 
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