Question about cranberries

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Dan O

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I have a pumpkin cyser going, but, has no pumpkin spices in primary.
I have whole, fresh, uncooked, unsweetened cranberries that I had bought to make homemade cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving but never got around to making. Since I do not want to waste them, I would like to split 1 gallon of my cyser & add some cranberries to make a nice cran-apple mead.
My question regarding the cranberries is does anyone have any experience using whole cranberries vs. the craisin types that have been dehydrated & sweetened?
I also had a thought of making the cranberry sauce, (my recipe has Grand Marnier in it 🤤🤪) & fermenting the sauce.
Any thoughts or suggestions on this would be welcomed.
Thanks in advance for anyone who who chimes in.
 
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Kyzaboy89

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Freeze/thaw, start with about a pound per gallon, I wouldn't go above 1.5# per gallon but that's me. Sweetness will ferment out of course but the tartness will remain and can be a bit overbearing. Even dry it can be tart, wide mouth fermenter if you can and a fine mesh bag makes extraction so much easier. Did mine in primary so not sure how quick secondary will extract flavors.
 
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Freeze/thaw, start with about a pound per gallon, I wouldn't go above 1.5# per gallon but that's me. Sweetness will ferment out of course but the tartness will remain and can be a bit overbearing. Even dry it can be tart, wide mouth fermenter if you can and a fine mesh bag makes extraction so much easier. Did mine in primary so not sure how quick secondary will extract flavors.
Cool. Thanks for your help.
 

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Do not heat the cranberries or make sauce. That will set the pectin, which is the opposite of what you want to do. When I make cranberry wine, I usually freeze them first to soften them a bit, then rough chop them. I use a food processor for that, but you need to rough chop only. You don't want to turn them to mush. Cranberries are very tart (acidic), so you might need to add some calcium carbonate to raise the pH a bit.
 

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I've always used pectic enzyme in primary with fruit, I'm curious if you could use it in secondary with fruit or shouldn't. Anybody know better?
 
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Do not heat the cranberries or make sauce. That will set the pectin, which is the opposite of what you want to do. When I make cranberry wine, I usually freeze them first to soften them a bit, then rough chop them. I use a food processor for that, but you need to rough chop only. You don't want to turn them to mush. Cranberries are very tart (acidic), so you might need to add some calcium carbonate to raise the pH a bit.
I know first hand how tart they are. My first attempt @ a cranberry mead was, putting it nicely, a train wreck. But that was using dehydrated sweetened cranberries. These are the whole berries & was planning on using a brew bag to contain them. I have become a big fan of the brew bags, as I have noticed a big difference in the amount of product I get when I rack vs no bag. Thanks for the advice.
 
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I've always used pectic enzyme in primary with fruit, I'm curious if you could use it in secondary with fruit or shouldn't. Anybody know better?
Not sure. I only just started using it with the last few melomels that I've done.
 

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I always add pectic enzyme to fresh fruit, and use a brew bag. I think that a cranberry mead would need some back sweetening to be any good, like cranberry wine.
 

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I make cranberry/orange mead every year, and I generally have to add considerable potassium carbonate before the yeast will do anything. Cranberries are amazingly acidic!

Generally, if you use sodium carbonate to neutralize acid, it tends to make the brew salty, and calcium carbonate makes it taste a bit chalky. I always use the potassium version, because it doesn't alter the flavor so much.
 
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I make cranberry/orange mead every year, and I generally have to add considerable potassium carbonate before the yeast will do anything. Cranberries are amazingly acidic!

Generally, if you use sodium carbonate to neutralize acid, it tends to make the brew salty, and calcium carbonate makes it taste a bit chalky. I always use the potassium version, because it doesn't alter the flavor so much.
Would you mind sharing your recipe & technique for that cranberry/ orange mead, please? That sounds like a really good Thanksgiving day mead for next year's beverage of choice.
I use potassium carbonate in my meads as well. 90%+ are BOMM style using the BOMM feeding protocols and additions.
Thank you, in advance, if you do reply.
Happy meading 😎
 
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I've always used pectic enzyme in primary with fruit, I'm curious if you could use it in secondary with fruit or shouldn't. Anybody know better?
A little late to the game——
You can use pectic enzyme in the secondary. I think it woks better in primary with the fruit but give it a shot.
I’ve used it a few times in secondary for cysers when I forgot to add in primary. My results have been mixed but there’s no risk.
 
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A little late to the game——
You can use pectic enzyme in the secondary. I think it woks better in primary with the fruit but give it a shot.
I’ve used it a few times in secondary for cysers when I forgot to add in primary. My results have been mixed but there’s no risk.
Thank you for the advice. You're not late. Actually, I am waiting for primary to finish before I rack it. The must is only around 64-66°F in my basement so, it's taking its sweet ⏲time.🤨😋 Probably another week or 2 before I rack it.
 
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If you're just after the cranberry flavor, ocean spray cranberry juice (both the cocktail and the 100% juice -which has a number of other juices in it) makes an excellent mead.

You can also get cranberry honey, which adds an interesting twist.
 
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If you're just after the cranberry flavor, ocean spray cranberry juice (both the cocktail and the 100% juice -which has a number of other juices in it) makes an excellent mead.

You can also get cranberry honey, which adds an interesting twist.
I do have some cranberry honey left from the last batch I made. I have also used Ocean Spray juices for mead as well.
My question stems from having fresh cranberries that I bought to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, but, never got around to making. The cranberry mead I made previously was waaay too tart, (left the berries in for 2+ months, I know, found out the hard way...tooooooo long).
Also, those were craisins, not fresh unsweetened whole cranberries. I will try some frozen & thawed whole berries in a bag in secondary after I split the batch & taste test along the way. Hopefully the alcohol already present will be enough to draw out the flavor profile I'm looking for.

Thank you, again, to all who have chimed in on my question.
I appreciate your time & insight & experience.
 

videojunkie1208

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I think I would run the berries through a juicer and put the skins in a fine mesh bag. That way you can add the juice, and pull the berries after a week or so in order to keep the skin tannins under control.
 
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I think I would run the berries through a juicer and put the skins in a fine mesh bag. That way you can add the juice, and pull the berries after a week or so in order to keep the skin tannins under control.
Hmmm....would I get the same effect by smashing the thawed berries, I wonder? They are going into a bag regardless of how I extract the juices. I refuse to make the same mistake as last time 🤣
 

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If the problem is tartness (acid) that is because cranberries are very acidic. I would check the pH and adjust if necessary. If the problem is astringency due to excess tannin, then it would be good to leave the skins in for only a few days.

For my cranberry wine, I freeze and thaw the berries, and then use the food processor to rough chop them. I put them in a bag in primary for 4-5 days.

Cranberry wine and mead needs to be backsweetened, so you will need to stabilize and add some honey or sugar before bottling. If you still have some left from the batch that was too tart, try sweetening it in the glass to see how you like it.
 
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If the problem is tartness (acid) that is because cranberries are very acidic. I would check the pH and adjust if necessary. If the problem is astringency due to excess tannin, then it would be good to leave the skins in for only a few days.

For my cranberry wine, I freeze and thaw the berries, and then use the food processor to rough chop them. I put them in a bag in primary for 4-5 days.

Cranberry wine and mead needs to be backsweetened, so you will need to stabilize and add some honey or sugar before bottling. If you still have some left from the batch that was too tart, try sweetening it in the glass to see how you like it.
Thank you.
My hope was to split the 5 gallon batch of pumpkin cyser. Recipe is here. I made a couple of changes to this recipe though.
1). I used BOMM yeast
2). Instead of 1 can of pumpkin puree, I used 3 1/2 lbs of sugar pumpkin (in a brew bag, pulled @ the 2 week mark) that was roasted with brown sugar, cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg.
I want to try to make a cran-apple cyser, if you will, out of the last gallon. Hence the question.
As of right now, no pumpkin flavor nor any of the spices are present. To me, it just tastes like a really good cyser. Gravity has halted @ 1.044, so, I was thinking the cranberry would be a nice addition & maybe, just maybe, I may get lucky & not have to backsweeten it.
4 gallons will be racked onto the pumpkin spices.
Thank you everyone who has helped answer my question.
 

videojunkie1208

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Keep in mind that with something like Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail, the actual cranberry juice is probably less than 25% by volume and probably closer to 10%. The 100% juice version is mostly pear and white grape juice.

So don't expect to get a ton of sugars from the cranberries.
 
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Keep in mind that with something like Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail, the actual cranberry juice is probably less than 25% by volume and probably closer to 10%. The 100% juice version is mostly pear and white grape juice.

So don't expect to get a ton of sugars from the cranberries.
Nope. As it sits right now, @ 1.044, it's just a cyser, so, not looking for sugars, just the cranberry flavor to mix with the apple. Right now, it tastes just like the cider I started out with (plus the alcohol), so a little tart from the cranberries will hopefully balance with the residual sweetness & make it taste like it's around 1.014-1.020. I will start tasting @ 5 days & pull them when it gets close to that level. It's been a month since I started it, (I don't have temperature control...yet) but, it still hasn't shown the least bit of clearing. I have a couple of fining agents, (superkleer & bentonite) though I have not used either one since I bought them. Most of my meads have cleared very well without any help, so, we'll see. This one may have to sit around for awhile to age. 🤔
 
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Brett_Bellmore

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Would you mind sharing your recipe & technique for that cranberry/ orange mead, please? That sounds like a really good Thanksgiving day mead for next year's beverage of choice.
I use potassium carbonate in my meads as well. 90%+ are BOMM style using the BOMM feeding protocols and additions.
Thank you, in advance, if you do reply.
Happy meading 😎

Sorry about the delayed response, I'm kind of under the weather at the moment. But here's the recipe I typically use:

Per gallon, in a fastferment conical.
2 lbs orange blossom honey
48oz organic cranberry juice. (Lakewood brand: It's pure cranberry juice, pasteurized, no preservatives.)
Zest and juice of 4 navel oranges. (Blood oranges make a nice substitute if available.) In a nylon mesh bag to capture the pulp.
1 tsp yeast nutrient.
1 campden tablet.
Water to make 1 gallon.

Campden 1st day, pitch the 2nd. Then I start titrating with potassium carbonate every couple of days until the yeast takes off. (I don't have a ph meter, and just try using litmus paper with something as deeply colored as cranberry juice.)

When the fermentation stops bubbling, I remove the bag with the remains of the zest, let it settle out a couple weeks, then stabilize with campden and sorbate per package instructions. Backsweeten and adjust ph to taste after a couple weeks, then hit it with sparkloid and give it plenty of time to clear up.

It usually takes close to a year of aging before it's really good, so if you started a batch now you'd have some for next Christmas.
 
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Sorry about the delayed response, I'm kind of under the weather at the moment. But here's the recipe I typically use:

Per gallon, in a fastferment conical.
2 lbs orange blossom honey
48oz organic cranberry juice. (Lakewood brand: It's pure cranberry juice, pasteurized, no preservatives.)
Zest and juice of 4 navel oranges. (Blood oranges make a nice substitute if available.) In a nylon mesh bag to capture the pulp.
1 tsp yeast nutrient.
1 campden tablet.
Water to make 1 gallon.

Campden 1st day, pitch the 2nd. Then I start titrating with potassium carbonate every couple of days until the yeast takes off. (I don't have a ph meter, and just try using litmus paper with something as deeply colored as cranberry juice.)

When the fermentation stops bubbling, I remove the bag with the remains of the zest, let it settle out a couple weeks, then stabilize with campden and sorbate per package instructions. Backsweeten and adjust ph to taste after a couple weeks, then hit it with sparkloid and give it plenty of time to clear up.

It usually takes close to a year of aging before it's really good, so if you started a batch now you'd have some for next Christmas.
Thank you for the recipe & process.
 
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