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General Category => Beer Recipes => Topic started by: jmichaelk on June 08, 2011, 02:59:40 PM

Title: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: jmichaelk on June 08, 2011, 02:59:40 PM
A buddy of mine has a cherry tree, and long story short I got about 5lbs of cherries.  Of course I'm wanting to make a beer with them! 

Questions:

Is 5lbs enough?  I was thinking maybe adding some cherry juice to it. 

Do I need to pit the cherries, or is pit in ok?

Should I cook the cherries before addition or just put them in fresh?

What is a good base beer that I can add the cherries to?

I was planning on brewing the base beer, fermenting in primary for about a week, then adding the cherries and/or juice to a secondary after a week.

Thanks for all input and help.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: morticaixavier on June 08, 2011, 03:11:41 PM
I would guess 5 pounds would be enough.

leave the pits in.

don't cook them but do freeze them first to knock back the wild cirtters that might be present, you can pasturize them if you are worried but make sure not to get so hot you set the pectin.

you could do a belgian beer, something with brett if you are patient. or a stout would be good. Secondary is the right time to add them
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: jmichaelk on June 08, 2011, 03:18:12 PM
ok, so I will freeze them, should I "mash" them up to release the juice?

I was looking at the recipe's on this site and found this:

 "IT'S ALL MINE SO KEEP BACK BERLINER WEISSE WITH SOUR CHERRIES"

I was thinking maybe something similar to this, but a 5 gallon batch, and use the whole 5lbs of cherries in it.

If I decide to pasturize them, (I've never done) do I just lightly cook them over mild heat for a few minutes, then drop them in the secondary?

I will freeze until the day i add them.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: dbeechum on June 08, 2011, 03:20:34 PM
If you're freezing, don't mash em. The freezer will create enough jagged ice crystals to do the job for you.

And I wouldn't pasteurize them. Freeze, thaw and add.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: jmichaelk on June 08, 2011, 03:24:53 PM
ok, will do, but contamination/infection is not going to be and issue, after one week of primary before fruit addition?

I just get paranoid about that, and this will be my first fruit.  (i like to do "hop teas" instead of pure dry hop to counter my paranoia of contamination, so I'm paranoid as it is, b/c I have had one instance of contamination in my homebrewing career to date, and it came from a secondary addition(I think))
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: denny on June 08, 2011, 03:28:04 PM
ok, will do, but contamination/infection is not going to be and issue, after one week of primary before fruit addition?

I just get paranoid about that, and this will be my first fruit.  (i like to do "hop teas" instead of pure dry hop to counter my paranoia of contamination, so I'm paranoid as it is, b/c I have had one instance of contamination in my homebrewing career to date, and it came from a secondary addition(I think))

Seems like maybe you're adding the fruit too soon.  I've never found adding unpasteurized fruit to be a problem.  The alcohol content and low pH of the beer makes it pretty resistant to infection.

Re: pits.  I recall hearing/reading somewhere that cherry pits can be a source of cyanide.  You might want to remove the pits.

http://chemistry.about.com/b/2007/09/12/yes-apple-seeds-and-cherry-pits-are-poisonous.htm
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: morticaixavier on June 08, 2011, 03:58:04 PM
[Re: pits.  I recall hearing/reading somewhere that cherry pits can be a source of cyanide.  You might want to remove the pits.

http://chemistry.about.com/b/2007/09/12/yes-apple-seeds-and-cherry-pits-are-poisonous.htm

I don't wish to encourage anyone to poisen themselves but I can't imagine that it's that much of a problem. Many cherry lambics are aged on whole cherries for months and years! and mahreb is ground up cherry pits and that is eaten. where as these pits are just gonna sit in the beer for a coupel of weeks probably.

I know I saw somewhere that in order to get a toxic dose of cyanide from apple seeds one would have to eat liek a cupfull a day for several weeks. (don't quote me on that)
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: tschmidlin on June 08, 2011, 04:09:13 PM
What kind of cherries are they?
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: stlaleman on June 08, 2011, 04:17:46 PM
If they are sour pie cherries, I made a very tasty American wheat with 5 pounds of Monteccero (sp?) cherries added after fermentation was over. It was very tasty, moderate sour cherry flavor, very east drinking.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: dmtaylor on June 08, 2011, 04:19:09 PM
5 pounds is enough to make about 1.5 to 2 gallons of good cherry flavored beer.  If you use them in 5 whole gallons of beer, the result will be pretty weak, just sort of pink and tart but not much else.  You need to use a ton of cherries to get much flavor out of them.

No need to cook them.  Freeze them, pits and all.  Don't remove the pits as they add a lot of flavor.  They do contain cyanide, but I've never heard of it killing anyone from putting them into a cherry flavored beer.  The act of freezing the cherries helps pop open all the cell walls and release the flavors better.  Then thaw them out, and rack your beer onto them in secondary, and allow to ferment a few more weeks.  They'll add some serious tartness, as well as color, in addition to the flavor and aroma obviously.  Good base beers... well, pretty much anything without a lot of hops.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: bluesman on June 08, 2011, 04:39:48 PM
Here's a link that discusses the toxicity factor. I'm not sure that we arrived at a solid conclusion.

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=3206.0
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: jmichaelk on June 08, 2011, 05:34:45 PM
they are sour (tart) pie cherries.

all i've got is about 4-5 lbs. (haven't weighed, so just guesstimating).

I think I will do either an American Wheat or Berliner Weisse base,

I will freeze (pit and all) then just add straight to secondary.

Probably do a half (2.5 gal) batch.

Thanks for all feedback/input.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: tschmidlin on June 08, 2011, 05:37:36 PM
That sounds like a great plan.  2-3 weeks in secondary and it should be ready to package.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: jmichaelk on June 08, 2011, 05:59:11 PM
ok,
I've had this American Wheat Recipe "in my file" for a while, and thought I may just do a 5 gallon batch of this,
at completion of Fermentation rack half to a secondary with the cherries, and the other half to the bottling bucket.

Feedback on the recipe would be appreciated, thanks!

5.5 lbs wheat Malt
5.5 2-row
1 caramel/crystal

1 oz williamette 60min
1 oz sterling      15min
1 oz sterling     EOB

California Ale yeast.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: dmtaylor on June 08, 2011, 06:57:28 PM
Looks great.  Perfect plan.  Go for it.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: free4all5626 on June 09, 2011, 01:23:53 AM
Question on the cherries as I have read this thread closely and am going to make a Berliner Weisse soured with White Labs WLP630 yeast and racking on the cherries in secondary. Taking fresh whole cherries is cleaning them simply by rinsing with water adequate?? Or is there another way to rid the pesticides???
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: bluesman on June 09, 2011, 01:28:55 AM
Question on the cherries as I have read this thread closely and am going to make a Berliner Weisse soured with White Labs WLP630 yeast and racking on the cherries in secondary. Taking fresh whole cherries is cleaning them simply by rinsing with water adequate?? Or is there another way to rid the pesticides???

I recommend soaking the whole cherries in  cool water for an hour and then rinsing them. Then I recommend freezing them to help control any wild bacteria plus it helps to break down the cherry pulp for secondary ferment.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: morticaixavier on June 09, 2011, 01:33:33 AM
Question on the cherries as I have read this thread closely and am going to make a Berliner Weisse soured with White Labs WLP630 yeast and racking on the cherries in secondary. Taking fresh whole cherries is cleaning them simply by rinsing with water adequate?? Or is there another way to rid the pesticides???

not really any way to get rid of all the pesticide residue except to use organic cherries.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: bluesman on June 09, 2011, 01:38:56 AM
Question on the cherries as I have read this thread closely and am going to make a Berliner Weisse soured with White Labs WLP630 yeast and racking on the cherries in secondary. Taking fresh whole cherries is cleaning them simply by rinsing with water adequate?? Or is there another way to rid the pesticides???

not really any way to get rid of all the pesticide residue except to use organic cherries.

True. It's a crapshoot as with all produce unless you go organic.

Most pesticides are water soluble and a mild soap solution will also help remove the pesticide.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: brians on June 10, 2011, 08:06:26 PM
I've got about 18 lbs of tart cherries in the freezer. I rinsed them in star-san prior to freezing. Anyone else do this, or am I just wasting star-san?
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: bluesman on June 10, 2011, 08:41:20 PM
I've got about 18 lbs of tart cherries in the freezer. I rinsed them in star-san prior to freezing. Anyone else do this, or am I just wasting star-san?

Starsan will sanitize the outer skin of the cherry as long as the cherries were clean to begin with. 
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: brians on June 11, 2011, 03:58:04 AM
Thanks. Last question on the subject: I'm thinking of doing a Belgian blonde style base with the cherries in secondary. What is everyone's thought on a brett spp. like bruxellnesis in secondary w/ the cherries?
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: dmtaylor on June 11, 2011, 09:29:18 AM
Brett in secondary = yummy.
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: tubercle on June 11, 2011, 03:32:04 PM
ok, will do, but contamination/infection is not going to be and issue, after one week of primary before fruit addition?

I just get paranoid about that, and this will be my first fruit.  (i like to do "hop teas" instead of pure dry hop to counter my paranoia of contamination, so I'm paranoid as it is, b/c I have had one instance of contamination in my homebrewing career to date, and it came from a secondary addition(I think))
I can't comment on the cherries because I have never used them, but I can comment on the contamination.

 Work on getting over you parinoia, my brewing brother. It is holding you back. In 26 years I have never had a contamminated batch and have done every unorthodoxed thing you can think of to beer; going elbow deep to retrieve O-rings & thermomters, forgetting to put the lid on the bucket for several days, etc...

   I've dumped a few that were un-drinkable, but not due to contamination ;D. My next, or current one, may become so because I am due. :P But I have been able to make some good and interesting beers because of it.

 A sensable approach to cleanleness and sanitation and understanding the difference is all that is required.


 I have never heard of a batch being contaminated due to dry hopping. Not saying it hasn't happened, but contamination was probably caused by something else and was going to happen anyway. No cause and effect to quantify here.

 On the next batch you want to dry hop, wash your hands, take out the hops, close your eyes and take a deep breath and set both the hops and your brewing spirit free. :D
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: nofunsally on June 15, 2011, 05:15:59 PM
Another thing about cherry pits via kirsch entry in the Encyclopedia Britannica (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/319288/kirsch):
Quote
kirsch, also called Kirschwasser, dry, colourless brandy distilled from the fermented juice of the black morello cherry. Kirsch is made in the Black Forest of Germany, across the Rhine River in Alsace (France), and in the German-speaking cantons of Switzerland. Its production methods remain traditional. The fully ripened cherries are mashed in a large wooden tub or vat and allowed to ferment freely. Upon completion of this process, the entire mass—liquid, pulp, and cherry stones—is distilled in a pot still. During the mashing some of the cherry stones, or pits, are crushed, releasing some of their oils and acids. These include small amounts of hydrocyanic acid, which impart a distinctive bitter almond undertone to the beverage. Kirsch is not aged. It is marketed at 90 to 100 proof, in the clear white (colourless) state it comes off the still. It is a fruit brandy with a clean cherry fragrance and bitter almond taste. Kirsch is consumed neat, as brandy, and in cocktails and is also used in cooking as a flavouring
.

So maybe less worries about cyanide when pits aren't crushed?

- Mike
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: richardt on June 15, 2011, 07:13:11 PM
No interest in poisoning myself with something (or at high levels) that my body can't handle, but if our bodies can metabolize small amounts of these toxins, then it begs the question:  Can yeast (saccharomyces and brettanomyces sp.) and bacteria (pediococcus) metabolize these toxins?  It would seem that they can.

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=71&tid=19 (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=71&tid=19)

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/TP.asp?id=72&tid=19 (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/TP.asp?id=72&tid=19)

http://www.functionaltechcorp.com/s/Urethane.asp (http://www.functionaltechcorp.com/s/Urethane.asp)

http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/foodcontaminantsadulteration/chemicalcontaminants/ethylcarbamateurethane/ucm078546.htm (http://www.fda.gov/food/foodsafety/foodcontaminantsadulteration/chemicalcontaminants/ethylcarbamateurethane/ucm078546.htm)
Title: Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
Post by: EHall on June 15, 2011, 08:50:46 PM
One thing to think about with trying to get more flavor out of your cherries... freeze them, once thawed, give them a light crush, just enough to kinda half way juice them, take that juice and boil it down to a syrup then add that to secondary with the cherries... should give you a stronger flavor.