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Thread: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

  1. Default juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    I'm going to brew my first strawberry melomel and I was just wondering what people thought about using juice versus real fruit. What are the best methods for both? (in your opinion) Does using either or change any thing else in the brewing process?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    The key is to use quality ingredients. It's better to use a quality juice over a mediocre or poor quality fresh fruit. Knudsen's makes a very good juice but it's expensive and I don't think they do a pure strawberry. Also, quality canned fruit without added sugar is sometimes better than fresh or frozen. Oregon Fruits makes a good product. You just have to judge the source of the fruit. This time of year, I'd personally wait for fresh strawberries from a farmer's market.

    Search the site for strawberry melomels. You should find answers to your technical questions in the posted recipes.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    My general order of preference is:

    Fresh fruit (except for certain recipes designed for dried fruit)
    Frozen
    Canned (Oregon Puree)
    Dried
    Juice

    Depending on what you're making and what characters you're looking for in the end product you'll need to be familiar with each of the products available to you. It's a good idea to get some of each and get familiar with the flavor profile and character of each.

    As far as strawberries go, I'm all in for fresh baking strawberries (the small really red ones) they just seem to have more flavor and more character in the end product. JMHO.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Hey, Oskaar!

    Those of us out here in the vast mid-continent wish we could get our hands on ANY fresh strawberries for longer than a two-week season. Let alone the small red "baking" ones!!

    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb
    Hey, Oskaar!

    Those of us out here in the vast mid-continent wish we could get our hands on ANY fresh strawberries for longer than a two-week season. Let alone the small red "baking" ones!!

    Hum?

    Surely you can lay your hands on frozen Wayne ?

    In theory we can get lots of the "normal" fruit (that'd be european normal) but as I either don't get the time or I'm just to damned lazy I generally hit the stores and pay a bit of a premium for frozen. At least it's a reasonably consistant quality.

    regards

    fatbloke

    p.s. Oh and what the hell are "wild black raspberries" (mentioned in Ken's book) ?
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  6. #6
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Sure, frozen are available, but they're nothing like fresh -- especially the small ones that Oskaar mentioned. The flavor is especially intense!

    Black raspberries are a variety of rubus (related to European red raspberries) that occur naturally throughout much of North America. Here's a good reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_occidentalis

    They are yummy!!
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb
    Sure, frozen are available, but they're nothing like fresh -- especially the small ones that Oskaar mentioned. The flavor is especially intense!
    Oh right, that'd make sense. I often look for frozen, because the local "supermarket" are robbing f***s when it comes to fresh fruit that's out of season (actually they're robbing f***s when some stuff is in season i.e. currently "new season" blueberries are at 2.99 per 200 grammes or about 5.50 $US per 8 oz. Except I don't know who's new season it might be - other than King bloody Midas ).
    Black raspberries are a variety of rubus (related to European red raspberries) that occur naturally throughout much of North America. Here's a good reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_occidentalis

    They are yummy!!
    I've just looked at that wikipedia link you posted and damn the picture looks very like what we in the UK would call "Black Berries" or "Brambles". Even the leaves and plant stems look the same i.e. they grow here wild, but the stalks/stems of the plant grow in a very tangled mess and the spines are denser and sharper (seemingly) than "normal" red raspberries.

    I wonder if this is a case of "two nations, divided by a common language" ?

    Either way, I reckon I can get some expensive fresh blackberries/brambles from the supermarket (they get them flown in from Kenya) or some frozen ones, so even if they're not the same thing, they look the same and the flavour difference is likely to be enough for me to try a scaled down "mambo in your mouth" melomel from Kens' book.

    Excellent. TVM

    regards

    fatbloke
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  8. #8
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Hey FB,

    Take a look at my Black Raspberry Eclipse recipe here

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Quote Originally Posted by Oskaar
    Hey FB,

    Take a look at my Black Raspberry Eclipse recipe here

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    That looks excellent Oskaar,

    Though it seems that it's one for US makers, about half the ingredients would be difficult, if not impossible to find (or outlandishly expensive).

    Shame though 'cos it looks like an excellent one to have a go at!

    regards

    fatbloke
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  10. #10
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Well, fruit not withstanding the idea is the application of honey and fruit along with the ferment and processing of the batch. Black raspberries are fairly easy to get here in the us. In Europe this recipe will work with other berries as well, and I know from personal experience that there are plenty of other types out there in the Isles and on continental Euro. Consider the recipe a loose ingredient guideline and a strong process and management reference.

    Hope that helps,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  11. #11

    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Quote Originally Posted by fatbloke
    Black raspberries are a variety of rubus (related to European red raspberries) that occur naturally throughout much of North America. Here's a good reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubus_occidentalis

    They are yummy!!
    I've just looked at that wikipedia link you posted and damn the picture looks very like what we in the UK would call "Black Berries" or "Brambles". Even the leaves and plant stems look the same i.e. they grow here wild, but the stalks/stems of the plant grow in a very tangled mess and the spines are denser and sharper (seemingly) than "normal" red raspberries.

    I wonder if this is a case of "two nations, divided by a common language" ?
    No we have blackberries here in addition to the black raspberries. Black raspberries are related to the red raspberries and have a similar but unique taste. Blackberries and red raspberries are cultivated commercially but it is difficult to find black raspberries in a store. However across much of the continent you can find them in the wild.
    Wonderful fruits that I have spent many an afternoon collecting, mostly for cobbler or fresh eating.

  12. Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    I've recently been doing some experimenting with Juice versus real fruit. I have two blueberries fermenting right now, one with real and one with "Just Blueberry juice". I'll let you know how the end result comes out. I have made several cherry batches both with fruit and with juice only. The only difference I've noticed is that the ones with the fruit come out a little fresher and more intense tasting. That could very well be do to the quality of the product though. I've used fresh strawberries before as well but never the juice. Last summer I was able to find some wild mountain strawberries where I live In the Colorado Rockies. They're tiny, intensely flavored things. I used them in what I call my " August Day Mead" which is mint, lavender ,vanilla and strawberry. I also have a strawberry spruce mead that is currently a month and a half old. All I can say there is... YUM!
    Happy experimenting to you!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Hey, alpinedrifter! Welcome to "Gotmead?"!! Also, where in Colorado are you (and more importantly, where did you find those wild berries) ? I'm in Evergreen.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!


    Strawberry Spruce Mead?!? Any chance of you sharing this recipe?
    Bees stole my signature file!

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    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Quote Originally Posted by CBBaron
    No we have blackberries here in addition to the black raspberries. Black raspberries are related to the red raspberries and have a similar but unique taste. Blackberries and red raspberries are cultivated commercially but it is difficult to find black raspberries in a store. However across much of the continent you can find them in the wild.
    Wonderful fruits that I have spent many an afternoon collecting, mostly for cobbler or fresh eating.
    Yes I spotted that when I was looking through the various bits of the wikipedia link i.e. same family of fruit but different. It's got me wondering what the actual difference in flavour between red rasp's, black rasp's and black berries might be. Because the black rasp's don't seem to be available - but if it's like a raspberry like flavour, but a blackberry "looking" fruit then it might be a case of mixing red rasp and black berry juice to try and emulate that.

    I'll have to look at the recipe in Ken's book again and see how I can substitute it/them.

    regards

    fatbloke
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  16. Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    I'm in Southwest Colorado, right outside of Pagosa Springs. As for where I found the strawberries, They were growing EVERYWHERE at 11,500 feet last summer early to mid August. I hope we have another good year this year. I plan on doing a chokecherry blossom mead as soon as they bloom. I've done a crab apple blossom Tej before that was very tasty. If anyone is interested in my recipes feel free to send me an e-mail. Alot of what I have done so far is very experimental with excellent results! One that I'm very excited about is a Smoked Oat Blueberry I started 3 weeks ago. Primary fermentation was very vigorous on it and just recently slowed down. I'll be racking it tomorrow, thus tasting it. Happy Mead making everyone!

  17. #17

    Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Quote Originally Posted by fatbloke
    Yes I spotted that when I was looking through the various bits of the wikipedia link i.e. same family of fruit but different. It's got me wondering what the actual difference in flavour between red rasp's, black rasp's and black berries might be. Because the black rasp's don't seem to be available - but if it's like a raspberry like flavour, but a blackberry "looking" fruit then it might be a case of mixing red rasp and black berry juice to try and emulate that.

    I'll have to look at the recipe in Ken's book again and see how I can substitute it/them.

    regards

    fatbloke
    Black raspberries taste closer to red raspberries than black berries but the flavor is unique. I don't think a mix of blackberries and red raspberries would be the same flavor but it does sound good.
    The black raspberries should be ripe around here in July and the bushes I see along the road look loaded after one of the best spring growing seasons we have had for fruit growing in a long time. I will be keeping my eye on them and trying to pick a few pounds for a black raspberry melomel. I should get the base mead started soon to have it ready for the fruit in the secondary.

    Craig

  18. Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Quote Originally Posted by CBBaron
    Wonderful fruits that I have spent many an afternoon collecting, mostly for cobbler or fresh eating.
    Now that sounds delicious..mmmmmmm When's dinner?

  19. Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    I just started a batch using juice as well for an experiment. I used the "Naked" brand Orange/Mango/Apple juice since it has no preservatives and is "gently pasteurized". It claims to have one pound of fruit within the 15.2 oz bottle, only problem I noticed after pouring it into a one gallon batch is the one ingredient it says it has on the side......Guarana. I noticed it on the side as it poured into the must. This might be the reason my yeast have gone into a feeding frenzy only 3 hours after pitching and have created 10 million tiny bubbles to have the airlock rockin' at 19 BMP!! Wonder if they will crash out after the short burst of energy? On a serious note though, I do not know if that one ingredient will cause a problem or not, but, if anyone out there knows....chime in?

  20. Default Re: juice or real fruit? that is the question!

    Dude, keep us posted. Mead with a kick for those all nighters

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