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Brewhause 10-05-2012 10:50 PM

Watery Kriek
Hello, I am looking for some insight on how to proceed with a kriek beer that I have going right now.

Alright so we made a beerkit (New Zealand brand i believe?) wheat beer. Transferred it into our carboy after a week or so and at that time, we added around 9lbs. of whole fresh cherries (removed stems).

It has been 4 weeks in the secondary now. Bubbling has slowed to a crawl (still a little activity) so we thought we should bottle it. We took a gravity reading, and it seemed to show only 1005.. We thought that was strange, so we gave it a taste. It was very red in colour, but it tasted very watery. You could get a hint of cherry, but it was not nearly what you would expect from 9lbs. of fruit. It did not taste bad by any means, so we ruled out an infection. It seemed to have a little bit of carbonation already. We attributed that to the sugars in the cherries.

I guess the question is; what can we do to "fix" it? We opted to leave it in the secondary in hopes that a longer time exposed to the cherries would result in more flavor. We contemplated adding sugar to the brew to liven things up a bit, but did not follow through with that idea. We also thought maybe we should mash up the cherries a bit to have more surface area and possibly release some of the flavors. This would prove difficult due to the size of the carboy's mouth opening (we also realized getting the cherries out will be somewhat difficult, hahaha).

TL;DR - Kriek beer tastes like nothing after 4 weeks in secondary. Why? How can we get more flavor out of this beer?

Brewhause 10-19-2012 11:38 PM

Nobody has run into this problem before??


ReverseApacheMaster 10-20-2012 12:42 AM

Time. Basically you need the fruit to break down so the sugars, acids and other flavor components can leak out. Check back in five months.

beerman0001 10-20-2012 10:45 AM

What yeast did you use? A lambic blend would have been great. Should have let it fermenter for 6 months to a year then put on the cherries for another 6 months.

Brewhause 10-21-2012 07:23 PM

It was just yeast from this kit. We didn't do any sort of traditional lambic yeasting out in the open or anything. Brewed it like any other kit.

Okay, thanks for the replies! Beerman, that moment has passed, I suppose. Think it'd turn out if we used that same general time frame but with the cherries already added? I suppose we will give it another try in a few more months like Apache said. Haha..maybe we were too hasty with our expectations with our lambic, after all, the "pros" do ferment them for a looong time.

What is your opinion about whole vs. cut up cherries? I'm not sure how we would be able to get into our carboy to smash 'em up but I am curious about this possibility..

TimT 10-21-2012 07:37 PM

What you are making is just a fruit beer not a lambic or kriek. If you have had a sweet tasting kriek before and that is what you are trying to achieve you will not get it the way you are going. They use a ton of fruit, pasteurize and backsweeten.

beerman0001 10-22-2012 12:56 AM

since you don't like it now go ahead and get a pack of lambic blend pitch it and leave it alone for a year.

bellmtbbq 10-22-2012 12:36 PM

Yea you didn't make a lambic or a sour at all, you pitched regular S.cervisae (sp), for a lambic kriek you need some Lacto, Pedio, and some Brett B. and/or Brett L.

levifunk 10-22-2012 09:53 PM

yea...you just have a cherry flavored wheat beer. The base is never going to be that strong of a flavor. If you want it to be fruitier, add more cherries. Given its low gravity, I'm not convinced throwing in a lambic blend yeast pack would do much good. I'd just resolve yourself to the fact you have a fruity beer and bottle it.

Brewhause 10-23-2012 01:19 AM

Yeah, we knew we weren't going to be making a traditional lambic when we started.

We've been discussing just bottling it for a while now and hope it gets better over time.

What do you folks think about agitating(mashing up) the cherries? Let it sit for a little more and then bottle?

Pitching more yeast seems like a bit of a lost cause at this point, doesn't it?

Again, thanks for the help, we are new to brewing, so all constructive criticism/feedback is really helpful.

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