I've added frozen strawberries to the primary fermenter for a Cider I'm making. I plan to ferment 30 days in primary, then transfer to a secondary for another 30 days.

Question 1: Is 30 days to long for strawberries to be left in the fermenter? I don't want them to go bad.

Question 2: Will the strawberries help continue to flavor the cider if I move the strawberries to the secondary fermenter? Will the strawberries last another 30 days in the secondary?

Thanks in Advance, Cheers!


I am assuming here he berries are covered with cider. If your berries are exposed to air, they'll probably grow mold quickly, and the question becomes moot.

It's fine to leave the strawberries fermenting. Store bought frozen strawberries have been washed / cleaned, and bring little danger to your cider. Your yeast as the strongest culture will overpower any wild yeasts in the air or on fruit. So, relax, don't worry, have a homebrew.

I don't think you'll get much from the strawberries after 2 or 3 weeks. When you rack to secondary, take a look at them and/or taste one. They'll have lost most of their color and flavor. Hence I don't think you'll get much more out of them and hence it's probably not worth transferring them. They'll probably last, though.

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  • Thanks, I racked to secondary last night and pulled a strawberry out just to see how they tasted. No flavor left, so I removed them and will have a really great tasting cider in 30 days :) – Mark Dec 21 '16 at 13:36

There are couple of questions you need to answer for yourself.

  1. Is fermentation that long really needed?
  2. In your secondary "fermentation", will anything ferment? Will you have viable yeast? Fermentable sugar?
  3. If you move strawberries to secondary, you will move a lot of yeast cake and leftovers, too. Is it worth it?

If it's typical gravity for cider, and vigorous yeast, your fermentation may end in about 7 days. Or even earlier. keeping it ten times longer will only contribute to loss of flavor and aroma, increased oxidation, increased risk of infection, et cetera. Strawberries or not.

What I would do would be:

  • Primary without strawberries.
  • When gravity stops decreasing, transfer to secondary
  • True secondary, with fermentables from crushed strawberries

And I would expect it all to finish in 3, maybe 4 weeks.

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  • OP just says secondary fermenter, could be for fermentation if he adds more sugars, or just for clarifying, which makes sense for hazy fruit wines. (Given we don't know the ratio of cider to berries.) I'm not sure about loss of flavor and aroma. Many (fruit) wines sit that long, and if the OP ends up with something between a fruit wine and a cider, it may be just fine. I don't know how long he'lll still get flavor from the berries, but just because of that it may be worth waiting. – Robert Dec 3 '16 at 2:14

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