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-   -   Cherry Ale - Brewing with Cherry Juice (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/cherry-ale-brewing-cherry-juice-260059/)

catatonicmonkey 07-31-2011 10:05 PM

Cherry Ale - Brewing with Cherry Juice
So it's hot here in MN and I'm trying to come up with a good recipe for a cherry ale made with some of this wonderful cherry juice I recently picked up at Costco, not to mention I don't really want to deal with a secondary fermentation for real fruit (and thirdly because we really can't get good cherries here). Right now, though, I'm stumped as to what direction I want to take this recipe. Most of what I've seen on this site is for brewing with actual fruit, and the few recipes I've seen for juice-based brews haven't had as much information as I normally like in my recipes, since I'm still a relative beginner (and I want to do this with extracts; even partial grain is kind of a pain in a small apartment kitchen).

However, that being said, a basic idea for a recipe has formed in my head, and I'd love some help tweaking it and making it delicious (this will be a 5-gallon batch, or thereabouts):

6lb. Wheat DME
3lb. Light DME
Hops (I'm thinking something pretty fruity and not too bitter, suggestions?)
Spices (Orange peel and coriander, maybe, unless that'd muddle the flavors too much? Star anise? Clove? I'm really lost here)
Cherry juice (not concentrate. How much would I use?)

I really appreciate any help you can give, like I said, I'm still a relative newbie at this, and I'd really love to get this off the ground sometime this week. Thanks!

tchuklobrau 08-01-2011 01:22 AM

s what yeast did you plan on using? base recipe looks similar to the blueberry wit i am making. perhaps someone else will chime in with other stuff but i have a few ?'s you using dried orange peel or fresh zest? im using 1.5 oz of fresh zest. also im using .4oz corriander crushed. not sure how the anise would go there. i wanna say no clove.

the cherry juice how much do you have? what is the gravity of it? I am putting 1gal of 21 brix cherry juice into 5 g of belgian quad i am making soon. hope it helped a little.

catatonicmonkey 08-01-2011 11:53 PM

For yeast, I was thinking something Belgian, hopefully something that'll yield nice fruity esters. Haven't fully committed to anything until I see what the shop has in stock.

For adjuncts/spices, I was thinking dried bitter orange peel and coriander, should be a nice balance of flavors with what's going on in the cherry juice. Rough estimate would be about 3/4oz. orange zest and 1/2oz. lightly crushed coriander in a spice bag.

The juice is interesting (and I can readily get more). It's super fruity but not particularly sweet, which is almost too bad. I know objectively that it's got plenty of sugars in it for the yeast to chow down on, but to my tastebuds, I was hoping for something that actually *tasted* sweet. I haven't yet measured the gravity of the cherry juice, and I honestly hadn't thought of that additional (necessary) step.

Thanks for the help, still mulling this (not-quite) recipe over in my head.

usfmikeb 08-02-2011 12:32 AM

What kind of preservatives are in the cherry juice?

catatonicmonkey 08-02-2011 12:46 AM


Originally Posted by usfmikeb (Post 3135517)
What kind of preservatives are in the cherry juice?

None, it's 100% juice, free of anything else.

usfmikeb 08-02-2011 01:32 AM

Awesome, I'd have expected a Costco product to have preservatives in it.

catatonicmonkey 08-02-2011 01:34 AM


Originally Posted by usfmikeb (Post 3135724)
Awesome, I'd have expected a Costco product to have preservatives in it.

I was pleasantly surprised, too. It was ~$6.50 for 2 1/2-gallon jugs, too, so if I turn out something tasty with it, I'll certainly pick up more.

How do the malt proportions look? I should probably try plugging these numbers into Beersmith or something, but that's on my home computer, which is currently packed away in a box - stupid moving.

usfmikeb 08-02-2011 01:40 AM

9 lbs of DME is a lot, that should be a 1.080 beer, before you add the juice.

catatonicmonkey 08-02-2011 01:45 AM


Originally Posted by usfmikeb (Post 3135753)
9 lbs of DME is a lot, that should be a 1.080 beer, before you add the juice.

That's what I was thinking too, and though I have no problem with a hefty beer, I think I'd rather have something a little lighter, a little summery-er. I'm thinking of paring it down to more like 5lbs of Wheat and 1 of Light, possibly 4 and 1. I really want to maintain that lovely floral wheat flavor with this if at all possible, but just wheat extract could be overpowering.

How much cherry juice would be "normal" to add? A half-gallon? A quart? That's my real hang-up. With fruit, I know you can basically go hog-wild, but I imagine that juice is trickier.

usfmikeb 08-02-2011 01:48 AM

I've never used a juice like that in beer, so I don't have a basis to make a suggestion.

With that said, I'd probably use the whole 2.5 gallons. :)

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