View Full Version : Raspberry Troubleshooting/Advice

06-07-2012, 11:36 PM
Here is the recipe I used (one gallon batch):

3.5 pounds clover honey
1.5 pounds raspberries (frozen for a day, then thawed and crushed)
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one orange
3 Tablespoons Black Tea (steeped until cool, about 20 mins)
Fleishmann's yeast

I just racked my raspberry over to the secondary today after it has been sitting in the primary for two months. Visible activity ended about five weeks ago, and the raspberries sank three weeks ago along with some clearing. I don't have an automatic siphon, so I make due with swishing a little whiskey and doing it the old fashioned way, and this is where all my questions began. When I siphoned, I got a little bit of a taste test before I put the tube in the secondary, and I was surprised by the distinct lack of raspberry flavor. It was sweet, not overly so, but there was only a hint of raspberry to it.

My first thought was, "oh, well I guess this is why you age things," but after looking through some of the forum posts, I have doubts and questions creeping in. So, here it goes...

Did I use enough raspberries in the primary/should I add raspberries to the secondary? I saw a few people say that they always use 3 pounds of fruit per gallon, but I only used half that. Additionally, if I were to add more to the secondary, how much should be enough to get a good raspberry flavor?

For a while now, my only reason for going to a secondary container has been that it just appeared to be the thing to do if you aren't making a JAO and/or bottling immediately. I realize now that it is to get it off the lees, so did I leave it in the primary too long then? I have read that sometimes going to the secondary can restart the yeast some, but considering I used bread yeast and there hasn't been much activity for weeks, I don't think that is likely to happen. In that case, should I even add anything to the secondary? If I do, should I only add raspberries or is there something else I should do? (feel free to read this as "I have no real idea what a secondary is/does")

Thanks for any help or insight. Maybe it is that all I have to do is let it sit for a few months. I'd just rather be told that than four months down the line regret not asking anything.

06-07-2012, 11:54 PM
Fruit flavor and how much is enough or too much is going to depend on the individual. I like big fruit flavor so the last time i made a raspberry I used 24 lbs for a 6 gallon batch so 4 lbs per gallon and it was where I like it, others said I should have cut it back. If you think it's light on flavor bump it up by adding another pound. That's the nice thing about mead you can always add more in secondary.

Adding raspberries will dilute your must so fermentation may start up again unless you have already stabilized.

Chevette Girl
06-08-2012, 12:18 AM
You can try adding a half pound or a pound of squished raspberries to secondary, you might get away with less because it's in secondary... and if it's not enough, do it again... I always get plenty of flavour from 3 lb in primary for my raspberry wine, but the time I tried a raspberry JAO, it didn't taste like raspberry either (I think I used less than a pound of raspberries). Did it give you much colour?

06-08-2012, 10:37 AM
If you think it's light on flavor bump it up by adding another pound. That's the nice thing about mead you can always add more in secondary.

Adding raspberries will dilute your must so fermentation may start up again unless you have already stabilized.

Do you think fermentation will start again even after it's been so long since the last activity?

And just simple as that, just add raspberries? I don't need to do anything else?

Did it give you much colour?

Great red color. :)


06-08-2012, 10:40 AM
Oh, and no, I haven't stabilized.

06-08-2012, 01:11 PM
Do you think fermentation will start again even after it's been so long since the last activity?

And just simple as that, just add raspberries? I don't need to do anything else?

There's a chance that fermentation may kick up again since the fruit addition will dilute your must a little which might put you below the yeasts tolerance so you may get a little more fermentation. If you want you can stabilize the mead which will allow the fruit to give you more flavor and more sweetness (if this is what you want.

And yes it is as simple as adding more fruit, just be sure to rinse it real good. Some people will also give it a quick dip in a sanitizing solution but that is strictly up to you.

In the future you want to size down your pics per forum rules though I can't remember what size they want them.

Chevette Girl
06-10-2012, 08:37 PM
Re forum pics, small enough that we don't have to scroll sideways is a pretty good indicator :P

Re colour, my raspberry wine (4 lb per gal the last batch) is so dark that you can't see through it :)

When I tried half a pound in a JAO-style mead, I don't think it even got pink.

06-11-2012, 12:15 AM
Yeah, sorry about that all... :(

In the future I'll look at whatever size that pic was, and reduce until its only a fifth the size, I think that should be good.

Anywho, thanks for all the advice, I'm going to add 18oz of raspberries (they only come in packs of 6oz) and top off with just a tad bit of water. Should fermentation start again, I'll probably add a little more honey/water mix, about a 1/4 of a cup honey I think, just to keep them yeasties fed enough to keep it from drying out.

06-12-2012, 10:35 AM
Actually, since the pic is hosted by an imaging site and you only linked to it here, you can go in and change the image size now. It would make reading this thread a lot easier! ;)

06-13-2012, 01:40 AM
I used the image hosting site as a guest, so even if I could find it, I'm not sure I would be able to change anything... again sorry, but don't worry I've learned my lesson!

So sorry to draw attention to this thread again then, but if after adding the fruit to the secondary, fermentation doesn't start again, should I pitch more yeast in case everything in there is dead? Or is it fine and just adds more of the flavor to it rather than restarting fermentation?

06-13-2012, 10:51 AM
You probably don't want to pitch more yeast. You're not trying to get fermentation started again. TAKeyser was just letting you know that, because you used a low-alcohol-tolerance bread yeast and adding fruit will dilute your must, fermentation might restart again. It was more letting you know not to freak out if you start seeing signs of fermentation if you add more fruit in the secondary.

So just add some more fruit in the secondary if you want more fruit flavor, it should all be okay.

06-14-2012, 12:43 AM

I guess my only other question then is how long should I keep it in the secondary? I've seen people say anywhere from 1 month to 4 months. Would how long I keep it there depend on how much of the raspberry flavor I want in it?

Additionally, do I age it in the secondary, or do I need to rack it over to another container in a few months and then age it when it is off everything? Was never really clear if aging/secondary were the same thing or separate.

06-14-2012, 01:07 AM
You'll get everything out of the Raspberries in 7-14 days so after that I would rack it into another carboy (unless you have some other way to get the raspberries out). No reason to continue to push the cap down or deal with the fruit after you've extracted all the sugars and flavours out of the raspberries.

For some people Secondary and Aging are the same carboy, I prefer to rack it to a tertiary for aging after a couple months in secondary to get it off all the crud that has fallen out of suspension.

07-03-2012, 11:21 AM
On Sunday, I racked off the raspberries and it all went horribly wrong. I still have no idea why what happened happened. Things were going well until there was only about 1/3 of the mead left in the secondary. Then it just slowed and came to a stop. I thought maybe there was a raspberry stuck to the end of my tube, but nope. So I took the tube out of the secondary and tried to restart the siphoning. I have never sucked so hard on anything in my life (not that I suck on things a lot....). I swear to you, a black hole could not have gotten that siphon to restart. I ended up having to put a funnel with a filter on top of my tertiary and dump the rest of it in. Then of course, the raspberries/sediment clogged the filter and I had to shake/stir it until all the liquid passed through. I can only imagine that I have an ungodly amount of oxygen in my mead now...


Are there any possible words of encouragement here, or am I just going to find out if I made garbage in about 3 months?

On the plus side, should it turn out well still, the raspberry flavor was much better now!

07-03-2012, 03:53 PM
The plane has crashed into the mountain.

Only joking. While its not ideal, mead can be pretty resilient. I guess you'll just have to see how it turns out, it may survive still?

Good luck to you and your mead!

Chevette Girl
07-03-2012, 08:25 PM
Bah, don't worry. If it was still degassing at all (and at that age it probably was), shouldn't be that much of a problem.

Plus, who knows, maybe you'll like it faintly oxidized? I've done it on purpose...