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Author Topic: Frozen Cherries??  (Read 600 times)

Offline Megary

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Frozen Cherries??
« on: November 18, 2023, 08:10:44 am »
I have a Stout fermenting away that I plan on adding cherries to.  Of course, if I come to my senses, maybe I won't. :)

Now I can easily add packaged, grocery store, frozen cherries to a secondary fermenter, rack the beer on top and let whatever happens happen. Seems easy enough, but maybe...not so fast?

My biggest concerns are:
1. I really, really, really want to avoid any medicinal, "cough syrup" flavor in the finished beer.
2. IF packaged, frozen cherries are not "clean" enough, I'm concerned that a "sous-vide" type sanitizing step will strip some flavor away.

Yes, there are other options for adding cherries.... Fresh, cherry juice, extract. I'm not opposed to any of them, though the medicinal concern remains, even more so with extract. And I suppose I missed the boat for the best fresh cherries.

I don't need to add Cherries. I can go with Raspberries or Cranberries instead.

Or nothing.

Thoughts?

Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2023, 08:53:37 am »
I used a quart of cherry juice in a beer once and it turned out great. It was a strong ale not a stout though.
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Offline Megary

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2023, 09:08:48 am »
I used a quart of cherry juice in a beer once and it turned out great. It was a strong ale not a stout though.

When did you add the juice?  It sure would be a lot easier to add juice to the keg at packaging.

Offline Iliff Ave

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2023, 09:52:54 am »
I used a quart of cherry juice in a beer once and it turned out great. It was a strong ale not a stout though.

When did you add the juice?  It sure would be a lot easier to add juice to the keg at packaging.
I let it ferment out so I added it about a week post pitch. It was organic black cherry juice in a bottle. I was bottling so I didn’t want to add it at packaging
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2023, 12:11:17 pm »
I wouldn't be overly concerned about adding frozen fruit without any additional processing. If you wanted to heat treat them to pasteurize, it can affect the flavor but lots of beers are made with pasteurized fruit or fruit puree and turn out fine.

That cherry cough syrup flavor is a product of using sweet cherries. IMO you'll always get some of that using that type of cherry and it leans more that direction the sweeter the beer. I have a baltic porter sitting on second use sweet cherries so I'm not completely opposed to doing this, but know what you're in for here. Sour cherries don't give off the cough syrup flavor but they add acidity that IMO isn't great in a stout.

Juice is an option, but it's going to dilute the beer. If you add it in the keg, it's going to add sweetness because there's unfermented sugar until the yeast in suspension slowly consume it. If you go the juice route, check the back label to make sure it's 100% cherry juice. Sometimes cherry juice is cut with other fruits.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2023, 12:14:00 pm »
Heating fruit can set pectin and lead to a haze, so I always try to avoid that. I haven't used cherries specifically, but I've never run into an issue with frozen fruit, or fresh fruit for that matter, causing contamination in beer or cider.
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Offline denny

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2023, 12:28:32 pm »
At least once a year, I add foraged, unwashed, unsanitized mushrooms to a batch of beer. In 25+ batches, I have never had an infection. Fermented beer has alcohol and a low pH. I wouldn't worry about frozen cherries.
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Offline Megary

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2023, 06:51:26 am »
Well, I ended up using frozen Cherries and Cranberries (tis the season).  Just chucked them in a secondary and transferred the beer on top.  I'll let them stew for about a week.

This is, without question, the most overwrought beer I've ever made.    ;D

Offline majorvices

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2023, 05:35:35 am »
I've used frozen cherries many times and they work great (no sanitization needed). Looks like it's too late here, b ut you are best off to defrost and puree them first for best extraction--but also for hassle free racking. On two occasions I lost about 1/3 of the beer to racking struggles.

Offline Megary

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2023, 09:03:37 am »
I've used frozen cherries many times and they work great (no sanitization needed). Looks like it's too late here, b ut you are best off to defrost and puree them first for best extraction--but also for hassle free racking. On two occasions I lost about 1/3 of the beer to racking struggles.


I did transfer this beer to a keg a few days ago.  My process is simple, just open the fermenter spigot and let gravity drain the beer into the keg. Unfortunately, the spigot clogged *immediately* and I had to break out the auto-siphon. Not a transfer that would please the LODO crowd, but I got my full volume.  I’ll tap this beer in a few more days.  Since the beer wasn’t over complicated enough  ::), I decided to add some homemade vanilla extract to boot.  This beer feels like a half court shot with time running out… :)

Offline goose

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2023, 01:38:36 pm »
I am a couple days late to the party here.  My apologies

For future reference, Megary.   I add 12 ounces of pure sour cherry juice (no sugar added, no preservatives added) to my Belgian Quad about a week into fermentation and it works very well.  Using pure cherry juice will not give you the cough syrup taste.  Others have used Amoretti but it was a bit pricey for the amount I needed and I would be stuck with an opened partial bottle of the stuff since I only make 5 gallons of the Quad at a time.  I arrived at 12 ounces of juice through a couple of times brewing the beer

Just my 0.02.
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Offline Drewch

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2023, 02:35:23 pm »

I used Costco Frozen Dark Sweet Cherries in a pseudo-lambic .... just dumped ’em in after primary. Worked fine. Not medicinal at all.
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Offline Megary

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2023, 08:52:28 am »
In the end, surprisingly enough, this beer turned out rather well.

For 3 gallons of Stout, I added 2# frozen cranberries and 1# frozen black cherries.

The beer is definitely Stout first, getting a nice roast flavor and some chocolate, nice foam and lacing, black as night.  But you can pick up the cranberries in the nose and there is a refreshing tartness from the cranberries in the finish.  I find the fruit a bit on the subtle side, but everyone who has tried this beer notices it at different levels.  No medicinal flavors whatsoever.  The cherries seem to be a bit lost, but I'm thinking they are providing a balance to the cranberries that would be missed if brewed without.  Not sure on that, but I don't think I'd leave them out if I do this again.  I might consider upping the cranberry dose another half pound, turn the dial another click, just to see.  Anyway, the moral of the story for me is that frozen, grocery store fruit *can* work just fine.

As an aside, after a week on the fruit, and after racking this beer to the keg, I noticed the condition of the fruit left in the fermenter.  The cherries looked completely spent: brown, mushy, nothing to make you think they might have once been cherries.  The cranberries looked a little water-logged and maybe not quite as bright red as straight out of the package, but for the most part they looked exactly like cranberries.  I did try banging the bags off the counter a bit before adding the fruit, but maybe I could have busted the cranberries up better?  Or maybe they are just tough buggers. 

 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2023, 08:57:46 am by Megary »

Offline erockrph

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Re: Frozen Cherries??
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2023, 11:19:36 am »
Cranberries are tough to kill. They hold up after freezing just fine, so the usual freeze-thaw-squish treatment doesn't work as well as it does for other berries. If you can at least pop them so the liquid can seep inside (they may still float even after that, tough little buggers), then you will extract decent flavor from them. I make cranberry cider every few years (highly recommended, by the way), and the cranberries always seem to come out looking almost the same as they went in, but the flavors come out just fine.
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