should I pasteurize blueberry juice before pitching in secondary

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Lloyd528, Dec 5, 2012.

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  1. Lloyd528

    Lloyd528 Initiate (7) Dec 29, 2008 Ohio

    I just pureed 3 lbs of blueberries and heated it to 170 degrees, cooled it and dumped my primary on it. I forgot to throw the extra jar of blueberry juice in. Should I heat that up too or will the alcohol in the secondary kill any bacteria?
  2. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,593) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin
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    I would just throw it in. Throwing fruit into secondary is a pretty common practice. It should be washed, and some surface sterilize. In the case of your juice, you could pasteurize at 170 but this will alter flavor and set pectin which will give a haze to your beer. You may lose delicate aromatics of the fruit, too. If you really feel like you want to sanitize your juice, a better approach would come from the wine-makers play book. Add some potassium meta-bisulfite to the juice, let it sit for a day or two, then add to secondary. This will further suppress bugs in the juice. I don't have info at my fingertips as to how much to add, but google is your friend.

    If you forgo sanitizing your fruit as many do, I won't claim that the beer in the secondary kills the bugs in your juice, but the alcohol and the pH makes a more hostile environment for microbes. The hops in the beer also help do this. Meanwhile, your beer has lots of yeast with an evolutionary history that selects for surviving in beer. The yeast should out-compete the infectious agents in this environment. Your beer will probably be fine.

    Perhaps, with long term aging, some of the bugs that survived would begin to grow, but the simple sugars are gone and these bugs will grow slowly, especially if you keep your beer cold. Eventually, your beer could show signs of infection down the road. But by then, you'll be down to the last bottle or two. You'll taste it and go, wow, that's pretty good. And then you'll start brewing fruit lambics.
  3. mattbk

    mattbk Devotee (467) Dec 12, 2011 New York

    Just to stress this point. If you add to primary, the CO2 released will scrub away a lot of the fruit flavor. You want to let the yeast complete the primary then rack over to another carboy with the fruit added. The fermentation will be slower and you'll have more fruit flavor left behind. I'll usually use 4-5 lbs of fruit for a 5 gallon batch, but it will depend upon the fruit, beer base, and how much flavor you want in your beer.
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