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General Category => Ingredients => Topic started by: brewtopia on August 11, 2010, 04:14:54 PM

Title: Cherries
Post by: brewtopia on August 11, 2010, 04:14:54 PM
What is the best way/method to add cherries to my wort? I was thinking about crushing them, putting them in cheese cloth and letting them soak in the wort....But maybe someone with prior experience can give me some advice.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: majorvices on August 11, 2010, 04:21:53 PM
Add them to the secondary, you don;t ant to add them to wort. Add them to the finished beer. You can freeze fresh cherries which will cause the fruit membranes to rupture. If you are concerned about sanitztion blanch them in boiling water before freezing.

You may actually have to use a tertiary fermenter because when I have used cherries in the past it was very difficult to rack off the beer without picking up bits and pieces. Another option might be to use a puree.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: denny on August 11, 2010, 06:37:12 PM
Do I recall cherry pits being a source of arsenic?  Seems like in the distant past I remember someone saying to pit them before you use them.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 06:39:34 PM
Do I recall cherry pits being a source of arsenic?  Seems like in the distant past I remember someone saying to pit them before you use them.
Pretty sure it's cyanide, but in any event, you might want to pit them if you are using lots of cherries.  Small amounts is no big deal.  I don't know where I'd draw the line though, so I'd just pit them all.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: denny on August 11, 2010, 06:40:24 PM
Right you are, Tom (as usual!).  I knew it was something I'd rather not ingest!
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: brewtopia on August 11, 2010, 06:41:10 PM
I was thinking about pitting them, then putting them in.....
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: bluesman on August 11, 2010, 06:41:32 PM
Yes...Cherry pits contain small amounts of cyanide and can cause poisoning if eaten in large quantities. However, there should be little problem if accidentally swallowed.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: majorvices on August 11, 2010, 06:55:51 PM
Good point, Denny. Then ones I have used have always been pitted.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 06:58:03 PM
I was thinking about pitting them, then putting them in.....
I'd pit them then freeze them, then thaw them, then put them in.

Freezing helps break down the cells, so you extract the cherry goodness more easily.  And thawing helps keep you from crash cooling your beer :)
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tom on August 11, 2010, 08:02:57 PM
I know apple seeds have cyanide, never heard about cherry pits though.

Some actually advise leaving the pits in which add more flavor. I believe there is a spice called "malherb" or something made from cherry pits that adds some almond-like flavor.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 09:24:29 PM
Some actually advise leaving the pits in which add more flavor. I believe there is a spice called "malherb" or something made from cherry pits that adds some almond-like flavor.
I haven't heard of that spice, but cyanide supposedly smells like almonds so . . .
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 09:26:05 PM
Found this:
http://www.worldspice.com/spices/0130mahleb.shtml

Mahleb

Prunus mahaleb

The pit of the black cherry with a slightly sour, bitter flavor. Used primarily in Turkish and Armenian breads and pastries we've had success adding a couple of tablespoons (crushed) to our normal sugar cookie recipes. It adds a faint floral note that pairs well with tea.

There's a wikipedia entry on it too:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahlab

<edited to add wikipedia reference>
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 11, 2010, 09:37:18 PM
Just about all of the stone fruits have cyanide or prussic acid.  Even almonds have trace levels.

One of the guys in the club makes some very tasty meads with mahleb.

Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: susanr on August 11, 2010, 09:37:50 PM
Most pits/seeds have small amounts of cyanide in them - not a problem tho since an acid environment will eliminate the toxic effects.

More what you need to decide is if you want the flavors that go along with the Cherry Pits - generally will add the almond/vanilla flavors - in Meads will give an almost Chocolate flavor after aging altho most beers won't be around long enough for this to develop.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 11, 2010, 11:12:24 PM
Most pits/seeds have small amounts of cyanide in them - not a problem tho since an acid environment will eliminate the toxic effects.

That is good to know.  Thanks.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tschmidlin on August 11, 2010, 11:29:21 PM
Most pits/seeds have small amounts of cyanide in them - not a problem tho since an acid environment will eliminate the toxic effects.

Are you sure beer is acidic enough Susan?  I remember that strong acids will react with nitriles, but o-chem was a while ago . . .
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: susanr on August 12, 2010, 05:13:59 PM
Most pits/seeds have small amounts of cyanide in them - not a problem tho since an acid environment will eliminate the toxic effects.

Are you sure beer is acidic enough Susan?  I remember that strong acids will react with nitriles, but o-chem was a while ago . . .

Hi Tom,  You got me thinking - so perhaps my reasoning is a little wrong - is this myth or not?  I couldn't find the exact reaction of how the cyanide in the pits of stone fruits reacted in the stomach or in beer (alcohol) but here is what I did find: - The short of this is that the cyanohydrin - mandelonitrile - found in the pits of cherries, apples, etc is very nonreactive and would not be a problem - the cyanohydrin - glycolonitrile - a glycoside, C20H27NO11, commonly found in seeds and other plant parts of many members of the rose family, such as kernels of the apricot, peach, and bitter almond, which breaks down into hydrocyanic acid, benzaldehyde, and glucose can be very toxic under certain circumstances.  This glycoside is also found in low levels in cherry pit and so if concentrated could be a problem in some circumstances - but would require quite a bit of concentration - I am still looking for how these would react with an Alcohol - I suspect that the -OH would bind with the H+ and thus eliminate any cyanide gas formation which would be what causes toxic effects - but have not found this in easy research yet.

Thus, my opinion would be that leaving the cherry pits in is safe and that you would probably end up falling down drunk and not being able to consume any more long before any toxic effects from the cyanide in the pits would take effect.  There is also some discussion on both of these cyanohydrins having some use against cancer but nothing has been proven (or really disproven) on this.

From Wikipedia - for background info.

In humans, cyanohydrins are important metabolites in cyanide detoxification processes.
Some cyanohydrins are: mandelonitrile and glycolonitrile.


Mandelonitrile have a structural formula of C6H5CH(OH)CN and occur in pits of some fruits.
Mandelonitrile is broken down into cyanide and benzaldehyde by the enzyme mandelonitrile lyase.

A cyanide is any chemical compound that contains the cyano group (C≡N), which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. [1] Inorganic cyanides are generally salts of the anion CN−.[2][3] Of the many kinds of cyanide compounds, some are gases; others are solids or liquids. Those that can release the cyanide ion CN− are highly toxic.[4]
In IUPAC nomenclature, organic compounds that have a –C≡N functional group are called nitriles. Nitriles, on the contrary, are never inorganic compounds. [5] [6] An example of a nitrile is CH3CN, acetonitrile, also known as methyl cyanide. Nitriles usually do not release cyanide ions.
A functional group with a hydroxyl and cyanide bonded to the same carbon is called cyanohydrin, and cyanohydridins are hydrolyzed into hydrogen cyanide and a carbonyl compound (ketone or aldehyde).
Many cyanide-containing compounds are highly toxic, but some are not. Nitriles (which do not release cyanide ions) and hexacyanoferrates (ferrocyanide and ferricyanide, where the cyanide is already tightly bound to an iron ion) have low toxicities, while most other cyanides are deadly poisonous.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tom on August 12, 2010, 05:29:31 PM
Great info. Thanks.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: narvin on August 12, 2010, 06:15:00 PM
Do kriek producers pit their cherries?  I seem to remember the answer being no...
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: hopfenundmalz on August 12, 2010, 07:18:27 PM
Cherries in Kreik I don't know.  One visit to Cantillon, Jean van Roy and 2 other young guys were at the entry in the Sun pitting apricots for Fou Foune. 
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tschmidlin on August 12, 2010, 10:46:23 PM
Thanks Susan, great info.  It probably is safe, but we're pitting the cherries for our latest barrel brew.
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: susanr on August 13, 2010, 03:05:12 PM
Thanks Susan, great info.  It probably is safe, but we're pitting the cherries for our latest barrel brew.

Hi Tom,  Depending on what I was making - I pit the cherries - but this is solely based on the flavors that are derived - you will get a fresher cherry flavor if pitted and you will get a softer cherry/vanilla/almond flavor with the pits left in which increases the longer they are on the pits - if left on the pits too long - it is almost harsh - so, yes, for a barrel where you will most likely leave it for awhile, I would remove the pits.

So now for this advice - please send a bottle of the final barrel project.  ;D
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: tschmidlin on August 13, 2010, 04:16:23 PM
So now for this advice - please send a bottle of the final barrel project.  ;D
If it's any good, I'll bring a keg to NHC. :)
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: denny on August 13, 2010, 04:17:24 PM
So now for this advice - please send a bottle of the final barrel project.  ;D
If it's any good, I'll bring a keg to NHC. :)

I'll be waiting!
Title: Re: Cherries
Post by: 1vertical on August 15, 2010, 02:17:44 AM
I currently have .25 lbs of Mahleb in a Kriek  beer digesting away in a 50 liter Oak cask
with B. Lambicus, (cmon cherry BOMB). Samples were very pie cherry and mahleb lending
some floral notes....just waiting for the brett to work it's magic.