I plan on brewing a wheat beer next and I would like to add in natural flavoring. I have never used flavorings in any previous brews and I have seen some mixed opinions about which stage of fermentation to add the flavoring into. Some sources recommend secondary and others say first, still even some say I should just mix it in with the wort. I want to know if one really has more effectiveness than the other. Which would yield the best result?

On another note, I was thinking of using blackberry for the flavor and haven't found anything that would indicate that there is anything special I need to do for this, but if any of you have advice it would be much appreciated.

2 Answers 2


These are all options, it's true.

The pro to adding flavorings to the boil is sanitation and simplicity, the cons being driving off volatile flavor/aroma compounds both during the boil and during fermentation. Plus, boiling certain fruits will affect pectin, haze, &c.

Pros to adding to secondary include more capture of flavor/aroma. Cons include sanitation and potential difficulty introducing the flavor (ie, large pieces of fruit through a narrow glass carboy neck) or racking (racking cane plugged up with, say, strawberry "seeds".

I usually clean/cut fruit into appropriately-sized pieces, then freeze, then introduce to secondary for about a week. Sometimes I've dry-"hopped" chilies and spices in a container (nylon stockings, more recently a stainless basket) in keg.

Blackberry in a wheat sounds great. 1 lb / gl is a good starting point, though blackberry is a pretty strong flavor, you might be able to get away with less. I've never done it myself, so I can only guess.


I like to keep it simple so I generally uses fruit purees as they are package sterile. This allows you to add them directly to the secondary without worrying about sanitation. Do sanitize your can opener before using to avoid contaminating the fruit.

The other nice thing about purees is that you don't have to worry about separation of the fruit pulp or if the fruit will drop out so you can siphon off the lees.

Adding to the secondary seems to be the preferred method and the one I have used with good success. Just remember to transfer from your primary to secondary while your yeast is still active to help prevent a stuck fermentation.

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