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Homebrewing! You put the peaches in the wort and...don't shake it all up?

CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
edited June 2015 in Help / Advice Forum
I've been homebrewing for a while now and am generally conversant in the ways of beering but I'm trying something new and different this time and am uncertain of how to proceed.

So I'm making a Peach Cobbler Ale from a modified recipe. It originally called for some fresh, sliced peaches added to the wort at flame-out for like 10 minutes or something. I found it very unlikely that there would be much peach flavor detectable in the final product that way and my local homebrew store guy agreed, so I opted to do peach puree in the secondary.

I've never used anything not dried in my beers before. With peels and seeds and stuff I just soak them in a bit of vodka before adding them to the secondary as a sterilization method. I've read that when using fresh fruits in secondary you want to do something similar, but the options sounded likely to kill the flavors. So I opted for a big can of peach puree from said homebrew store.

Now my question is: what do I do with it? I assume I don't need to sanitize since it would have had to have been boiled hard during the canning process. Am I correct? If not, how does one sanitize a puree?

I assume if I were racking my beer into a secondary carboy I'd just pour the peaches in there first, then siphon it in, but I'm not racking. I have a conical fermentation vessel, so I'm just draining the yeast cake from the bottom. It still introduces some air since the cake has to be displaced to drain, but a lot less than racking would. So, in this case, would I just pour the puree in from the top after I drain the sediment from the bottom?

Normally for a lower-gravity ale where primary fermentation is over in a couple of days (like this one) I'd do 1-2 weeks on the yeast cake followed by another 1-2 weeks in a secondary/after draining (or 3-4 weeks in the primary if I'm not doing a secondary), then 2-4 weeks in bottles before drinking. Is my 1-2 week secondary time long enough when using fruit? It's been sufficient with cinnamon and fruit rind but those have a much more pungent flavor. I'm always reticent to sample my beer once it's in the secondary until I'm pretty sure it's ready to bottle since I don't want to get air in there. And with the peaches in there I'd have to actually open up the top of the vessel to sample since I won't be able to drain a sip off the bottom.

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  • knitdanknitdan Registered User regular
    @webguy20 might have some insight here

    You're correct that the canning process usually sanitizes the contents, but if you really want to sanitize the purée you could probably boil it again.

    Also I don't know if you are aware but we have a beer thread in SE++

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/194178/how-to-mouthfeel-an-american-beer-mouthfeel/p1

    There is also a homebrew thread hiding around here somewhere but it doesn't get much use.

    I'd suggest investing in a Thief for taking samples, you should be taking them anyway to keep an eye on your gravity.

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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    I've got a thief. The issue here is that my conical fermenter doesn't have a narrow mouth like a carboy that would allow me to open it up and take a sample off the top with minimal air exposure. The top of the vessel is a screw-off lid that's about as wide as the vessel at its widest point, so it would be more akin to fermenting in a bucket and taking the lid off. So I normally just leave it in there longer than I might if I were checking the gravity regularly.

    I suppose in hindsight I ought to have just gone with a carboy for this beer but the conical thing is way easier to use and I didn't think ahead to the fruit issues. I suppose I could still go ahead and put it in a carboy for the secondary stage.

    Maybe at some point I'll install a valve in the side of the vessel to take samples from the middle. That'd be handy.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
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  • webguy20webguy20 Registered User regular
    I've got a thief. The issue here is that my conical fermenter doesn't have a narrow mouth like a carboy that would allow me to open it up and take a sample off the top with minimal air exposure. The top of the vessel is a screw-off lid that's about as wide as the vessel at its widest point, so it would be more akin to fermenting in a bucket and taking the lid off. So I normally just leave it in there longer than I might if I were checking the gravity regularly.

    I suppose in hindsight I ought to have just gone with a carboy for this beer but the conical thing is way easier to use and I didn't think ahead to the fruit issues. I suppose I could still go ahead and put it in a carboy for the secondary stage.

    Maybe at some point I'll install a valve in the side of the vessel to take samples from the middle. That'd be handy.

    The canning process should sanitize the contents. I would sanitize the exterior of the container though, so there is no accidental cross contamination.

    I would do 2 weeks with the fruit at first. I'm off the belief that you should work up to a flavor, as that is easier to drink than something that is way too strong. If 2 weeks doesn't generate the flavor you want then go for more time on your next brew. One thing I didn't notice, how much peach puree are you using?

    Also be prepared for some serious secondary fermentation with the introduction of all that sugar. When I did coconut I ended up with another couple days of it bubbling vigorously.

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  • CptHamiltonCptHamilton Registered User regular
    3lbs of puree for 5 gallons of beer (that's what size the puree cans came in :p). Good idea about sanitizing the can. I'll do that.

    PSN,Steam,Live | CptHamiltonian
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