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Adding rasberry to secondary

For my second brew I will be doing the American Wheat extract kit and want to add raspberries to the secondary. I currently have a five gallon glass carboy for secondary. My question, there going to be enough head space in the five gallon or should I use something larger?

Nice post!

Are you planning to add fresh raspberries, frozen raspberries, fruit concentrate or a flavor extract? For anything except the last, I would suggest something bigger. The fruit brings some sugar with it, and will touch off a small additional fermentation which will need some headspace to deal with beyond the extra volume that the fruit requires.

There are some other considerations you should make about this:

  • Flavor extracts often taste artificial, and I wouldn’t suggest using them.
  • You get better flavor extraction from fresh fruit is you freeze it first because this will break down the cell walls.
  • Both fresh and frozen fruit can harbor bacteria on the surface which could take off in your beer. If it does, it won’t destroy the beer, but it will change the flavor some. I always leave beer that I added fresh fruit to for at least a month in the fermenter after the fruit was added. This will ensure no bottle bombs.

I was planning on using fresh raspberries. I have read a bunch of stuff online and thought I would add about 2.5-3 pounds that I was going to mash and heat to about 150-160 for about 15 minutes. Should I still freeze them to get the most flavor out of them? I have a 6.5 glass carboy for primary right now but want more equipment anyway. Was thinking I’ll get a fermenting bucket and based on the fact that I was going to add fruit use that carboy for secondary would that be ok you think?

The wife bought me brewing equipment for Christmas as I have been talking about trying this for some time. She asked me to make her this and I figured what the heck, second brew ever time to experiment!

Thanks for your help

Couple of thoughts here:

  1. I would second all of Cellars’ points above.
  2. Unless you plan on reusing the yeast, I might consider just adding the raspberries to the primary and skipping the secondary, primarily because dealing with a carboy nozzle will be a huge PITA with a brew like this. Also, really no point in transferring to a new bucket. You want yeast in the primary to metabolize the fructose in the raspberries.
  3. I would STRONGLY consider adding them in a sanitized paint bag (just fill and and drop them in to your bucket carefully). Maybe use your sanitized mash paddle or plastic/metal spoon to agitate the yeast cake on the bottom a bit. This way after a few weeks, you can just pull out the paint bag.
  4. Freezing fruit THEN THAWING will break apart the cell walls of the raspberries and let more of the flavor/aroma compounds you want seep into the beer. This is a good thing for fruit beers. I would skip the pasteurization (150* thing you mention). IME, just buy frozen raspberries and thaw them. Way cheaper and you get a better flavor imparted into the beer.
  5. There will be some microbes in the fruit whether you freeze it or not, but pasteurizing will break down a lot of the volatile compounds that make a good fruit beer good.

Headspace will be a problem. It’ll be a bit of a pain, but if I were in your situation, I’d do one of the following:

  1. Only rack 4 gallons on top of the rasberries and bottle/keg the rest as just a plain wheat beer.

  2. Rack into the carboy long enough to clean/sanitize the bucket. Then rack back into the bucket on top of the rasberries.

And definitely use a paint strainer bag for the rasberries.

Ok So it seems like my best options are to use the plastic bucket and let primary fermentation complete. Then then thaw some frozen raspberries put them in a bag and drop into bucket for a couple weeks. Was I thinking about the correct amount of berries? 2.5 -3 pounds?

Thanks for input

I’ve heard 0.5#/gallon will yield a subtle flavor and 1.0#/gallon will be more pronounced. For my wife, I’ve brewed a blackberry wheat beer several times with 1.5#/gallon and it is very fruity. I don’t know what to call it exactly. It doesn’t hardly taste like a beer.

I add 1#/gallon for my craison and I get a great cranberry flavor, but also tastes like a saison.

Sounds like you have the situation under control; but I would strongly urge you to leave the beer for at least a month after adding the fruit and before bottling. You can take the bag of berries out earlier if you want (not really much reason to leave them for more than two weeks), but if some bacteria hitches a ride in with them you want to make sure it has finished it’s work before you bottle, and that mean a month to be safe.

I put 4# raspberries into my Raspberry wheat beer (5 gal batch), and it takes over the flavor entirely. If you are looking for some subtlety and still want to taste the beer, use less. I would not use more; raspberries are one of the fruits that can get a weird twist to the flavor if you use too much. But it makes a stunning red beer:

Thanks for all the advice. Just thought of another question. I’m using the NB kit for American wheat that comes with the priming sugar. With the extra sugar added from the raspberries should I be worried about bottle bombs? Or should I modify the amount of sugar that I use for priming?

[quote=“drkimblenu13”]Thanks for all the advice. Just thought of another question. I’m using the NB kit for American wheat that comes with the priming sugar. With the extra sugar added from the raspberries should I be worried about bottle bombs? Or should I modify the amount of sugar that I use for priming?[/quote]If you let the beer ferment out after adding the raspberries like Rebuiltcellars posted above you should be good with regards to the priming sugar.

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