Author Topic: Cherry Beer HELP?  (Read 2145 times)

Offline jmichaelk

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Cherry Beer HELP?
« on: June 08, 2011, 07:59:40 AM »
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.
Jmike

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2011, 08:11:41 AM »
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
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Offline jmichaelk

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2011, 08:18:12 AM »
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.
Jmike

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2011, 08:20:34 AM »
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.
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Offline jmichaelk

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2011, 08:24:53 AM »
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))
Jmike

Offline denny

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2011, 08:28:04 AM »
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
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2011, 08:58:04 AM »
[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)
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2011, 09:09:13 AM »
What kind of cherries are they?
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Offline stlaleman

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2011, 09:17:46 AM »
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.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2011, 09:19:09 AM »
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.
Dave

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Offline bluesman

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2011, 09:39:48 AM »
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
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Offline jmichaelk

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2011, 10:34:45 AM »
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.
Jmike

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2011, 10:37:36 AM »
That sounds like a great plan.  2-3 weeks in secondary and it should be ready to package.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline jmichaelk

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2011, 10:59:11 AM »
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.
Jmike

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Cherry Beer HELP?
« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2011, 11:57:28 AM »
Looks great.  Perfect plan.  Go for it.
Dave

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