View Full Version : How to treat raspberries before adding to primary?

06-12-2013, 10:36 PM
am i supposed to simply wash them? or should i let them boil for a few minutes with water and then dump that in?

Medsen Fey
06-12-2013, 11:21 PM
I wouldn't boil them. If they are clean, healthy-looking berries, I'd just wash them off, gently mash them a little with a potato masher, and pitch them in with a little pectic enzyme.

What is your recipe plan?

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06-13-2013, 01:43 AM
The raspberries i am using are from my local superstore and are all pre-frozen, not sure how clean?
**This is for a 5 gallon batch**
I will be using 13.5lbs of raw organic clover honey (no - boil method)
8.5 lbs of raspberries
ec-champagne yeast
1 tbsp bentonite
4 tsp yeast nutrient
pectic enzyme
2/3 cup light roast oak chips

I am also considering throwing in some peach juice

how does the recipe sound?
Also does boiling harm them?

Midnight Sun
06-13-2013, 01:47 AM
Like Medsen says, just wash and mash, but don't boil. If you boil you will set any pectins that are present with will cause a haze in your mead. It will also change the flavor from fresh raspberries to cooked raspberries, bleh!!!

If I am feeling cautious (or more commonly, want the fruit to macerate), then I mix the fruit into the must and dose with potassium metabisulfite. 12-24 hours later, pitch the yeast.

06-13-2013, 01:52 AM
how much potassium metabisulphite would i put in? also why is it necessary to wait 12-24 hours? also what are the potential issues of not washing them? when u say wash, do you mean with soap???or just simply rinsing them with water. thanks so much

Midnight Sun
06-13-2013, 02:54 AM
Many questions (good ones!) and I will try to answer them all.

1. 1/4 teaspoon of k meta per 5 gallons or 1 campden tablet per gallon. If using the tablets, crush them between two spoons before adding.

2. K meta kills most microbes in solution, but slowly dissipates. It is at a low enough level 12-24 hours after dosing that it will not inhibit the pitched yeast.

3. When I get pre-frozen berries, I rarely wash them before using. I am lazy, and juice that I don't want to lose tends to seep out as the berries thaw. By not washing, you have a higher risk of contaminants getting into your mead. Contaminants could be chemical or could be spoilage microbes.

4. Wash with tap water; soap might carry over into my mead, so I avoid it.

***Onwards to the recipe critique!

Lots of recipes on other sites seem to recommend EC1118 champagne yeast. I find it to be somewhat mono-dimensional, and that it tends to blow delicate aromatics out the airlock. It does have its uses, but probably not the best choice for melomels.

Consider instead KV1116 or 71B, both made by Lalvin. KV1116 is a powerful fermenter like EC1118, but tends to yield a better mead and will maintain those more delicate aromas. 71B will also yield a very good melomel, adding a fruit salad-like character.

Recipe size is a bit larger than I normally recommend for newbees. Lot of money tied into a product that could take a turn for the worse. Consider scaling the recipe to 1 or 2 gallons until you get the hang of things.

1.7 lbs raspberries/gallon is going to give a light-medium raspberry flavor. I personally like my raspberry melomels to smack me in the face with flavor and aroma. Consider upping to 3lbs/gallon or even 4lbs/gallon.

Using the mead calculator, link is on the left, you're going to get about 13% abv with 13.5lbs honey/5 gallons. Many, if not all, of the commonly available wine yeasts will take this mead dry. Dry raspberry meads are a little harsh on the palate, so you will likely need to stabilize and back sweeten. Do a search on both as there are many posts outlining these techniques.

Oak is best measured by ounces or grams. 1.5oz of oak cubes over a month or two is generally enough for most folks. You will need to taste your mead every week after one month to ensure it is not over oaked. If you are not careful it will end up tasting like a board :p

06-13-2013, 03:15 AM
Wow, thank you so much for such a thoughtful reply. Okay so i will use k-meta, this way i will not even have to wash the berries yes? and will avoid the risk of contamination? By using k-meta, i will perform all my other steps in making my mead, yet i will just not pitch?

As far as the yeast goes, i will search for a different one, however where i live its extremely hard to find wine yeast and my lhbs only carries ec 1118 :s

Do you believe if i up the honey to say...15 lbs it wouldnt be so dry? Also i will up the raspberries in order to give more of the aroma. Thanks for that tip.

As far as the oak goes, i will definitely keep my eye on that, thank you.

Cheers mate, i owe you one.

06-13-2013, 08:45 AM
I too recommend constant vigilance on the oak. Coming from experience (by which I mean a tterrible F-up I'm still trying to salvage), oak can impart a lot of flavor very quickly.

if you can, keep the chips/cubes in a strainer bag so that you can taste as you go (I'd suggest every few days if reasonable) and remove them easily when it's to your liking.

06-13-2013, 09:51 AM
ahah, will do bro

06-13-2013, 12:03 PM
I gently squish fresh berries in thin layers in plastic bags and then freeze them, and when I want to use them I thaw them and toss some pectic enzyme into them. Almost all of the fruit that I use ends up frozen at some point just to help break them up a bit more...