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BKamphuis

Color stability for a fruit infused spirit

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We are having a few problems with the color stability of a gin that we are infusing with blueberries. We have sweetened with cane sugar to 2%-3% by weight and added Ascorbic Acid to a rate of 2 grams/gallon of 80 proof spirit. We are still seeing some color degradation. The measured pH is right around 4.

Does anyone have suggestions on this?

I appreciate the help.

Brad

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a higher sugar content may help with color stability

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StonesRyan,

We haven't been able to get the color stability we had hoped for.  We actually ended up running the blueberry steeped gin back through the still to remove the color and keep the flavor. 

 

Brad

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Also interested if BKamphuis found a solution. 

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We did a Blackberry Vodka this summer and had colour stability problems right to the end. Red is a very difficult colour to work with. Any ideas (that are as natural as possible), would be well received.

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It’s a tricky topic - by our nature craft distillers tend to lean towards being very natural in ingredients used and process.

Color starts to really shift into food science, and starts to give us natural distillers real heartburn because we start talking about unnatural additives.  Natural colors tend to be very unstable and while artificial colors fix that - it’s about as far away as possible from what we are trying to accomplish.

The universe of stable natural colors is small.  The techniques to stabilize tend to be difficult or require additional additives.  Heck, most of us would even have issues with using a natural color additive.  Even then, customers may take issue with the source. Example.  A beautiful natural stable red is easy - carmine - except it’s crushed beetles - and some people don’t like that.  Proof is in the pudding though.  Old Campari still looks great.

The colors from fruit or florals we might use?  Ticking time bombs.

Stopping them from shifting boils down to:

Research and journal articles around color stability for your specific botanical or fruit. You aren’t the first person to be ticked off about the color of blueberry.

Ensuring the pH is ideal for the color.  The pH will accelerate or retard the color shift.

Adding antioxidants to prevent oxidation.

Religiously preventing oxygen exposure.  Purging tanks, purging bottles, even purging oxygen out of liquid.  Ensuring filling doesn’t create a massive oxidation problem.

Storing the product cooler.

Reducing exposure to light.

Smaller batch sizes and less total shelf life.

Perhaps smaller bottle sizes to ensure quicker consumption (browning will accelerate once customers open the bottle).

Research, and befriend a good food scientist (it’s easy, they like food).

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5894785/#idm140439363439936title

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