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Old 05-08-2007, 03:23 AM   #1
Torchiest
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Default Cherries in Beer = Nightmare

I just finished racking my porter off of the cherries into tertiary, and oh my god it was the most aggravating beer event I've had to date. Everything was smooth sailing until I got about 2/3 of the way down.

Then things started to slow significantly, and finally stop. I pulled the racking out and, sure enough, it was clogged with cherry bits. I shook them free and started again. It wasn't long until it locked up again. Pulled it out, shook it loose, tried again, but I couldn't make anymore progress.

I tried tilting the carboy over, and got a LITTLE more, but not much. I was sucking a lot of air in, which was freaking me out on the oxidation tip, so I just gave up on the last gallon and called it done.

I carried the secondary carboy into the bathroom for clean up, and I can see tons of cherries floating all over the place. I had some minor difficulties when I used raspberries, but they all either floated or sunk. It appeared as though the cherries did the same thing, but apparently, they like to wander the countryside.

So I tried to siphon a bit for a gravity reading, and I couldn't even get any beer for that, no matter how hard I pumped. I just got a load of foam. Finally I tried just pouring some beer into a glass to get a reading, and it was a bit chunky mess of cherry-infested glop.

I do NOT plan on using cherries any time soon. Raspberries were tough, but manageable. These were a bitch to get into the carboy, and the beer was a bitch to get out, so no more cherries for me. Let this be a warning for others.

Now I'm paranoid about using anything besides the proven raspberries. I was planning on using blueberries in my next beer; does anyone have good or bad experience with them?



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Old 05-08-2007, 03:40 AM   #2
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I propose a new man law: Don't fruit the beer!



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Old 05-08-2007, 03:49 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myersn024
I propose a new man law: Don't fruit the beer!
That's an old law.
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Old 05-08-2007, 03:57 AM   #4
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It might be worth some consideration, if you're set up to keg, to put the fruit in a mesh bag in the keg. I tried that this last batch and the flavor came through much stronger, without the hassle. Just make sure and secure the bag above the bottom of the dip tube.

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Old 05-08-2007, 04:34 AM   #5
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That sucks, I was wanting to try and do a cherry beer in the future, but not if its going to be a pain in the butt.

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Old 05-08-2007, 04:38 AM   #6
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Default Fresh Puree

What about pureeing the fresh fruit. That's what I've been doing and haven't had any problems. Everything I've seen just says to freeze/thaw and maybe pastuerize, why not add a puree step in there. People often like the puree better than fresh fruit, well why not make your own?
Sorry to hear you're having problems, I appreciate you helping me with my cherry porter recipe, when my cherries go in a couple months from now I'll be sure to be careful.

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Old 05-08-2007, 04:46 AM   #7
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Yeah, I wish I had put them in the blender when I pasteurized them. It would've been easier to get them into the carboy, although I don't know if that would've prevented the situation I ended up in. Maybe using a mesh bag in a plastic bucket secondary would be a viable alternative. It tasted good, at least, but it'll be a long time before I ever do cherries again, if ever.

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Old 05-08-2007, 04:50 AM   #8
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I just brewed with a friend who dropped frozen cherries in the secondary and when he bottled last weekend, no problems at all. They floated on top till the end. Cherry Bock, delicious indeed. Maybe it's the cherries selected that caused the trouble?

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Old 05-08-2007, 01:30 PM   #9
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I make a batch of blackberry cider every year and was lucky enough to run across a wine bag three years ago that is big enough that I can just line the fermenter and pour the berries in. When it's done fermenting, I pull the bag up and let it drain back into the fermenter as I run the cider into the keg.

I also use it for min-mashes.

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Old 05-08-2007, 01:38 PM   #10
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I used cherries in a cherry stout, and while I did lose some beer (just like with dryhopping), it wasn't nearly as bad as torchy's debacle. Do you have an autosiphon? I've found that it can help clear the obstruction if you pump the siphon a few times. Don't be soured on cherries (no pun intended) completely! Try it with an autosiphon!



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