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Rasberry Ale, Fruit in Primary vs Secondary

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UncleRusty

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Hello All,

So recently my local grocery mart had Raspberries on sale for $1 per 6oz container, so I stocked up on this opportunity and now have about 7.5lbs of Raspberries which I have boiled and smashed into a slurry/juice for brewing purposes.

I'd like to brew an All-Grain Raspberry Ale perhaps somewhat similar to Founder's Rübaeus with an intense though not overtly sweet Raspberry tartness as the dominant flavor and aroma of the beer.

In the past I have always added fruit or fruit juices as a purely secondary fermentation, either racking to a secondary or adding into the primary after a few weeks of fermentation. This technique however has had me wondering, is there any benefit to adding the fruit to the secondary vs say simply adding the raspberries straight to the primary after it's been chilled and it's yeast pitching time? Does anyone have experience with adding fruit right to the primary like this vs. the secondary, and does it make any difference in attenuation, flavor, or behavior of the yeast itself? Alternatively, I've also heard of doing a split of fruit with some in the primary, and the rest in the secondary and was wondering if anyone has any opinions on that technique.
 

SimonHucko

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Primary fermentation produces a lot of CO2, which will scrub aromatics from your beer. This is why people dry hop - to add back some of those lost aromatics and boost the "nose" of a beer. From what I've read, fruit tends to be especially susceptible to this, so you'll get way more bang for your buck waiting until primary fermentation subsides to add it in. I've never tried adding it before primary, but given how much it costs to add #1+/gal of fruit I'm not willing to experiment. You can always give it a try, with the knowledge that you may need to add the same amount in secondary anyway.
 
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UncleRusty

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That does make a lot of sense, I figured there was a sound reason as to why fruit additions are always done as a secondary fermentation. I'll stick to this technique for now I think.
 

thegreatmaibockaddict

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I have found that adding the fruit (or spices, hops, etc) to the mash allows the fruit flavors to infuse the beer with a nice subtle blended flavor and aroma. The essence of raspberries for example, attaches to proteins in the beer and do not scrub out by boiling the wort or fermentation in much the same way hop oils bind to proteins in the mash.

Made a chocolate raz wheat last year and it was amazing (2 lbs 10 oz berries)

This year made a chocolate raz stout (Sunday, 2 lbs 13 oz berries). Details on my blog if curious.

if you are looking to make your beer taste like raspberry candy, then this is not the method to use, as the mash addition produces a more round and subtle flavor than a direct infusion at the end, but it is much much simpler to do.
 
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