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Old 11-18-2011, 10:44 PM   #1
rickprice407
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Default Cranberries

My daughter and I may be brewing this weekend and want to put down at least one cranberry beer - maybe 2 or 3. To make Christmas we'll need to add the cranberries in the primary, ferment 10 - 14 days and then force carb in a keg until Christmas.

The possibilities include Marzen, Strong Belgian and either a Stout or a Bock (haven't looked at how long the bock needs to age).

My question is this - how much cranberries should I add for a 5 gallon batch, assuming one of the styles above and when?

Any help appreciated.

Rick near Atlanta

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Old 11-19-2011, 03:06 AM   #2
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All those will take months to be really good. Brew them in the summer if you want them for Christmas. My plans, since I like strong Christmas beers, have me making next year's Christmas beers before this Christmas.

That said, what sort of cranberries are you dealing with? I think that strong belgian and bock would work the best. Are we dealing with raw cranberries, or some other form?

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:12 AM   #3
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Definately raw ones. Picked them up at Sam's this afternoon.

If they won't be ready for this year, then I can also plan to add them to a secondary rather than in the boil or primary. Any ideas on amounts that should work?

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:41 PM   #4
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I would add them to the secondary in any case. It's the place to add things like fruit, so you don't lose all the flavors in a boil or vigorous primary. I would add at the same rates one would for say cherries - maybe from 1 to 3 pounds, depending on how strong you want it the flavor.

Thing is, there's something of a decision point here. I doubt much will happen if you just throw the cranberries in there; they're designed to float on top of the water in acidic bogs without breaking apart, I bet they would just sit there and lend no flavor to the beer. You could chop them up, that might help. But what most people do with berries is freeze and thaw them first; that breaks down the cells and makes the fruit break up more readily. But I'm not sure even that would do it for cranberries.

The flavor we associate with cranberries is generally the taste of cooked cranberries; you could consider cooking them first. That will make a different flavor profile, and ensure that it will actually get into the beer. It'll also reduce infection risks. If you don't cook them, you may wish to dip them in starsan to kill any organisms living on the skins before doing anything else.

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Old 11-20-2011, 03:31 AM   #5
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I may try cooking some and splitting the batch. I usually sanitize fruits by putting them in some vodka and dumping it all in the secondary and then racking the beer on top of it. Bourbon seems to work well for oak chips, coffee and such.

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