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Old 01-26-2011, 09:26 PM   #1
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Default Cherry Cider: When and where to rack cherries?

So I'm attempting to make a 5 gal batch of cherry cider.

My recipe:
5 gal of bottled apple cider (american cider)
6 lbs of light brown sugar
1 vial of white labs english cider yeast

I made this on Sunday (3 days ago). It's fermenting in the primary just fine.

I want to add crushed cherries to make it a cherry-apple cider. I haven't found a consistent amount of cherries to rack onto. i've pretty much seen between 1 and 2 lbs of cherries/gal of cider.

also, it seems as though a lot of people like to rack the cider onto the cherries in a secondary fermenter. the problem is that i only have a 5 gal carboy so I think i wouldn't have room for the cherries as well.

so my questions are
1) how many cherries should i use for 5 gal of cider
2) how do i solve my volume issue/is it ok to just add the crushed cherries to the primary?

thanks

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Old 01-28-2011, 03:32 AM   #2
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Anybody got any ideas?

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Old 01-28-2011, 03:36 AM   #3
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For #1 - you could go anywhere from 1lb to 5lbs or more. There isn't a set standard for cider...but like you said, it brings up space concerns....

For #2 - what I often do with meads is to make an extra gallon (separately) of the same recipe so I can use that to top off with whatever I lose to fruit.

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Old 01-28-2011, 04:47 AM   #4
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thanks for the reply. I'm not overly worried about losing cider to the fruit. though i was wondering if you would think it was ok just to add the fruit to the primary...or keep some of the cider that doesn't fit into the secondary (because of the fruit addition) and then add it when ready for bottling?

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Old 01-28-2011, 09:01 AM   #5
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there doesn't seem to be much of a consensus on this, at least from checking previous HBT threads... i was trying to see how kriek is traditionally made, and i *think* that sour cherries are added after the primary fermentation, and that certainly picks up the essence of the fruit; if you have ever had the real (non-backsweetened) stuff it is an incredibly sour slap across the face, which, after your face un-puckers, you realize was loaded with cherry flavor. some posts on this site have suggested that if you add to the primary you lose a lot of that 'cherryness', which was not really the case in my one and only trial so far, so please let us know what you decide and the result!

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Old 01-28-2011, 04:54 PM   #6
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I would make this the same way the newell woodchuck amber clone works. Get your cider dry and age it as long as you like then:

1: rack off cider to a bucket - add sorbate and (sulfite if desired).
a. take 2lbs cherries and chop them up roughly and put in a muslin bag. Steep and mash them untill they have well integrated with the cider. If you need more cherry flavor, add more cherries.
2. Sweeten the cider to the desired sweetness 1.029 or less with Apple juice concentrate.
3. Put into keg and carbonate and bottle or serve on the draft.

If you add the cherries to the primary you will lose much of the fresh fruit flavor compared with what you would get if you added them to the secondary. If you add to the bucket as I described, you will get a phenomal fresh tasting fruit (at least I did when I tried this by steeping frozen (thawed) raspberries). I added Raspberries at 24oz to 5 gallons.

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Old 02-01-2011, 06:37 AM   #7
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adding whole frozen black cherries for a week after racking to secondary just worked well for me, got a lot of the dark color and a good cherry punch of flavor, but most striking is the cherry aroma, like chapstick. i think i will age half dry, and backsweeten half for girl-friendly sweet and fizzy. and hope the cherry flavor stays put

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Old 02-01-2011, 01:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
1: rack off cider to a bucket - add sorbate and (sulfite if desired).
a. take 2lbs cherries and chop them up roughly and put in a muslin bag. Steep and mash them untill they have well integrated with the cider. If you need more cherry flavor, add more cherries.
Cidahmastah: if I understand you correctly, take cider out of primary (off the yeast) and then steep the cherries. my question is how long are you talking about steeping?

Quote:
adding whole frozen black cherries for a week after racking to secondary just worked well for me
dinnerstick: i'm assuming the frozen black cherries were thawed when added? (just making sure)

Thanks for your help guys (and girls if there are any)
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirCaptain View Post
Cidahmastah: if I understand you correctly, take cider out of primary (off the yeast) and then steep the cherries. my question is how long are you talking about steeping?



dinnerstick: i'm assuming the frozen black cherries were thawed when added? (just making sure)

Thanks for your help guys (and girls if there are any)

For my bit, you are correct. Take cider out of primary (cold crash the primary if possible to knock the yeast out of suspension). Sorbate and sulphite as you desire (I do 5 rounded 1/4 tsps of sorbate and camden at 30 PPM free SO2 - 5 camden tablets for 5 gallons). Rack into your bottling bucket and steep. As for steep time, with the raspberries (they were thawed) I just kept smushing them in the muslin sack and dipping them like a teabag until the fruit appeared to look washed out. It couldn't have been more than 15 minutes, when I was doing other stuff, walk back and smush, tea bag style dip it and leave it for a minute, repeat, etc. You can taste the effects, which is nice, because if you use too much fruit, you can halt the steep. If you take a guess, you might have too much or too little fruit/sugar flavor.

Be sure to do your steep first, then take your gravity and adjust with any concentrated AJ after. Cherries are sweet and you might not need additional concentrate, though it would add to the cider aspect.

You may want to roughly puree your cherries to help with the steep. Then used a muslin or strain them out before kegging. You will get a pectin/fruit particulate sediment to settle out in the keg over the next few days. The first 2 pints off the keg had fruit particulate and pectin (looks clear/hazy),definitely drinkable, but not crystal clear). However after those pints the rasp cider was crystal clear with a reddish/pinkish hue from the raspberries. If I had waited a week, I likely would have gotten all the new sediment/particulate from the steeping out in the first pint. SWMBO loves this one.

Remeber if it is too sweet, you can back it off with a little malic acid to give it a cider flavor and balance the sugar. I think any more than 1.029 is too much sweet, but try it and taste for yourself.

Sounds like a lot to do, but it is really straight forward.

Good luck!
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Old 02-01-2011, 02:08 PM   #10
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hi, thawed-ish. the amount of cherries was so small that they would have thawed pretty quickly in the room temp cider even if frozen solid; 250g for 5L. i mentioned that they were frozen because freezing and thawing disrupts the fruit structure, probably allowing more flavor and color to be extracted. good luck

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