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Raining Aprictos

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Colorado is having a bumper apricot year, so it is only fitting that I utilize this fabulous fruit by making an aged brandy or eau de vie.  I'm wondering if anyone is willing to share their experience with fermenting raw vs. cooking for 30 mins prior to fermentation and (if going raw) the effectiveness of wild yeast, as my first 53 gallon barrel took off immediately after picking.  I was planning on using a Nouveaux Fermentis champagne yeast but it is already very active.  Thanks for any input.  CB

 

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I've never heard of someone cooking the fruit first to make Brandy, we just mash the fruit then depit once fermentation has begun. Wild yeasts are usually less efficient in alcohol production and if the apricots aren't low enough in pH you can have VA and mold issues. Wild yeast works well for our plum  and grape ferments, okay for Apple, and not well for pears, cherries, quince. 

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Very important to get ALL the pits out before going into the still.

I contract distilled some apricot ferment, was told no pits in it, but there were some. Totally ruined the batch, even had to throw away the HDPE drum that the spirit was run into.

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It was black oily droplets floating on the surface that really put me off. The smell and taste of that was nasty. Not the bitter almond smell that is associated with cyanide but it could have been hidden under the other smell.

Have run more batches since then and all good when no pips in the still.

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I don't know that I will be doing it ever but curious if someone is willing to share their process for mashing stone fruit?  How do you get the flesh off of the pit?  How do you get the pits out post ferment?  Are there a lot of solids other than the pits at the end?  Do you strain those out somehow?

 

I am curious as it is something we may be looking into this summer when fruit are in season and I have never really figured out how I would do that.

 

Thanks!

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