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SAH
03/12/08 12:13 AM  
How long on fruit?
This seemingly basic question is bothering me. My first 'fresh cherry' beer got infected/moldy because(assuming here) I kept opening and checking the beer. I learned my leason and my Cuvee de Tomme clone(from Mike T, thanks again btw) has not been 'checked'. It's been almost two months and the cherries are still floating happily on the surface. Mike left his on the cherries for almost two months, and his beer was great. The cherries are whole, frozen and then thawed in the carboy. Should I seize the oppourtunity for easy racking and rack the beer now? Or wait till they completely break down? I know most commercial brewers leave beer on the fruit for longer periods, is this the best way to go? Will I get much more fruit character at this point?
SAH
03/12/08 12:20 AM  
Re: How long on fruit?
Its fermenting with Brett L and C, BTW.
Al B
03/12/08 12:50 PM  
Re: How long on fruit?
I think the thing to do is taste. To completely break down will take months to yrs. You probably won't get more fruit character for longer periods, but may get more in the way of tannins (fruit derived), and of course more complexity of the microorganisms (bretts I assume). You may want to add more cherries too.

You'll need to open the batch for tasting, I reckon. I usually use a sterile pipet, but you can always use a sanitary hose for siphoning. A CO2 blanket from a tank or hand-held cartridge will keep out molds (which don't like alcohol and can't grow in CO2).

MarkO
03/12/08 08:10 PM  
Re: How long on fruit?
I generally leave my pLambics with plums (a.k.a., plumbiek) alone for six months, or slightly more. Pick the plums in August, then bottle in February or March, then six more months in the bottle.
SAH
03/13/08 10:10 PM  
Re: How long on fruit?
Thanks guys,

MarkO,

What condition does the fruit go in, and what is it like at 6 months and is racking a problem at that point? One of the the problems I've had with pureed/strained raspberries is losing a lot of beer because of the....I don't know how to descibe it....looseness of the sediment at the bottom. Racking cleanly becomes very difficult.

MarkO
03/14/08 03:56 PM  
Re: How long on fruit?
I put it in whole, usually waiting to pick until it is fairly ripe. I use fairly small plums that fit nicely through a carboy bung, and don't wash the fruit or anything (I don't spray the trees), because the oxidative yeasts on the skins kick up a nice secondary fermentation.

After six months, all that is left usually is the skins and pits. I don't recall ever having trouble with solids gunking up the siphon during bottling, but some time over the next week or so I'll be bottling this year's batch, and will pay special attention.

Could you add some kind of filter layer to your siphon to keep out the solids, like a piece of steel wool or something?

Corky Stewart
03/18/08 09:32 PM  
Re: How long on fruit?
I did a cherry brett last year. After primary was finished I racked to a carboy, left the beer 6 months and one day decided to add cherries. I added them in August, and about October they developed a thick nasty, scary white layer almost an inch thick. I left it alone for a couple of months, racked to a sanitized carboy and put it in the fridge for 3 months. A month ago I bottled it, and it turned out delicious. I served several bottles at a party last weekend.
 
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