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For my ciders, I've always either pasteurized the juice when I've started with fruit, or else used pasteurized bottled juice.

It seems to me that frozen concentrate should be a quick & dirty (well, hopefully not too dirty) method for incorporating different fruit juices without the hassle and expense of juicing fresh fruit. Fresh fruit can be expensive around here!

So in regards to sanitation:

  • Is it safe to use frozen (no-preservatives-added) juice concentrate for the primary, without pasteurizing it?

  • Should I worry about boiling or pre-boiling the water used to reconstitute the concentrate?

  • How about commercially available frozen fruit? I've heard of brewers racking beer or cider onto frozen fruit in secondary with good results, and others who were concerned about sanitation.

Thanks for any expertise or experience!

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You do not need to pasteurize your juice. Heating fruit juice only creates more problems. The biggest one is a pectin haze but heating also drives off flavor compounds you want in your juice. Think about how apple cider or wine is made. The fruit is quickly crushed and fermented, then sulfited for aging. It's really that simple

  • Frozen concentrate - just make sure you use filtered water and very clean equipment. Add a couple of campden tablets if you are wanting to suppress any wild yeast or mold.
  • You should either boil or treat your water with campden tablets to drive off the chloramine compounds put into tap water. Better yet get some RO water at the grocery store.
  • Once you have fermented a beer or cider, you have a certain degree of protection because of the alcohol. There is sugar in the fruit so it will start to ferment again for a while. Treat with sulfites if you are going to age this for a while to reduce oxidation and keep the bugs away.

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