View Full Version : Fruit in secondary--rotting fruit?

07-06-2010, 11:05 AM
Last week(8 days ago), I transferred a mead to 2 secondary glass carboys. I had to use 2 carboys, a 5 gallon and 3 gallon, due to adding 18 lbs of strawberries and 4 pounds of bananas.

There is about 6 inches of headspace in each carboy. The fruit on the top of the mead is turning a light brown color, which I would expect. My question is do I have to worry about the fruit rotting on the top of the mead or is it ok due to the high alcohol percentage?

07-06-2010, 11:08 AM
Any time you have fruit floating on mead you need to punch it down (stir it to get it wet) at least once a day, preferably much more often. Otherwise spoilage definitely is a risk.

07-06-2010, 11:53 AM
Any time you have fruit floating on mead you need to punch it down (stir it to get it wet) at least once a day, preferably much more often. Otherwise spoilage definitely is a risk.

Ok, but what do you guys use to stir it? With the narrow neck of the carboy it is difficult at best to do this.

07-06-2010, 12:07 PM
That's a part of why most people do fruit in a bucket - but I do have a couple suggestions. First would be to set the carboy down on carpeted floor and rock it in a circular motion that causes the contents to swirl, doing this for a while should do the trick, and you don't have to worry about opening it up or sanitizing a stirring object.

Chevette Girl
07-06-2010, 01:15 PM
The handle of a sanitized long-handled spoon is what I use if I haven't enough headspace for swirling to be effective when I need to stir something in a carboy.

Putting your fruit in a mesh bag in a bucket is vastly easier to manage for many reasons...

Medsen Fey
07-06-2010, 01:49 PM
You also need to get rid of the headspace (or at least the oxygen in it). 6 inches is too much air exposure and even if you keep the fruit wet, it may still allow various spoilage organism (acetic acid bacteria, Brettanomyces, and others) to take hold. Unless your mead has about 18% ABV, which will keep these things suppressed, you should make sure to eliminate that headspace.

07-09-2010, 07:04 PM
I just racked a strawberry melomel off of the fruit. To keep the fruit from floating to the top I put it in a mesh bag and then used a temperature probe tube (using a stopper with two hole, one for the tube and one for the airlock) to force the bag down into the mead. I was able to jam the stopper into the bucket lid well enough so that the upward force of the fruit didn't push it out of its hole.

If you have this equipment, it's a good solution.

07-14-2010, 05:55 PM
Is it possible for fruit in my case cucumber to rot even completely submerged? I am starting to think the cucumbers are decomposing while submerged.

07-15-2010, 02:05 PM

There isn't a whole lot of structure to a cucumber and after seeing how pliable they can become in vinegar I'd not be too surprised to see them breaking down over time in a 10+% solution. I don't think that they are decomposing per se as that generally implies some kind of rotting as opposed to just breaking down....I haven't used any yet but I would assume the same thing happens to strawberries and other softer fruits in melomels. I'm sure someone else will pipe up here shortly with much better information than my random thoughts.


Medsen Fey
07-15-2010, 02:17 PM
I have no experience with cucumbers in mead, but virtually every fruit can start to throw some sulfur odors (or other off odors) as the cells of the fruit break down. I would think cucumber would have that potential as well, and I wouldn't plan on leaving them in there for an extended period.