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Old 09-20-2010, 07:50 PM   #1
rwing7486
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Default Cherry Wheat - how much cherries to use and how to prepare them?

Started my first cherry wheat yesterday and need a little help with type of cherries and how much to use. Here is my recipe below:

14 gallons boil
35 min boil with 2 oz cascade hopps (7.5%AA)
20 lbs of grain (both malt and wheat)
2lbs rice halls
Two primary fermenters with 6 gallons of wort
Safale American ale yeast US-05

This being my first cherry wheat I am not quite sure on how many lbs of cherries to use and whether or not I should buy in puree form or start with fresh cherries….being from Michigan I was hoping to use some cherries from Traverse City. At the homebrew store I was warned that you have to be careful with using fresh cherries since there can contaminants of the cherries themselves. Would boiling the cherries in a muslin bag be a good idea when adding to the secondary fermenter? How many lbs of cherries should I use in each fermenter? I’m looking to make this cherry wheat a little les milder in cherry flavor than sam adams cherry wheat. Any suggestions/input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advanced.

-Rob

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Old 09-20-2010, 08:53 PM   #2
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I used canned, red tart cherries from Oregon Fruit Products. It is just cherries in water, it wasn't a cherry pie kit or anything. I actually got them at Wal-Mart too. I put in 4 cans in my last cherry wheat (5 gallon batch) and it seemed like a crowd pleaser. I believe it was a 14.5 OZ can.

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Old 09-20-2010, 08:56 PM   #3
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I poured everything into my carboy, even the water. I did put the cherries in a hop sack so I could easily seperate the cherries from the wort by pulling the hop sack out of the carboy neck. A little challenging, but it can be done.

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Old 09-21-2010, 02:22 AM   #4
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I also believe that Sam Adams uses SWEET cherries, which gives it that cough syrup taste that many do not like.

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Old 09-21-2010, 05:12 AM   #5
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ya i was looking at using 8-10 lbs of cherries in each fermenter...clean them, mash them and then fill a bowl with water and add some pectic enzyme drops and campden tablet and let sit in the bowl over night in the fridge and then add to the secondary..any thouhts about this idea?

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Old 09-21-2010, 06:59 AM   #6
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We did a cherry wheat a few months ago and it turned out so/so. The cherries were added after primary fermentation was complete. We used 2 lbs of tart cherries(oregon puree added with juice) and 2 lbs of michigan sweet cherries(we thoroughly cleaned them and then sliced them around the pit). We left the cherries in the fermenter about a week.

We wanted a good cherry flavor without the cloying cough syrup flavor that you get from sam adams cherry wheat. The issue was is the cherry flavor was kind of lost and all that you can taste is the bitterness from the fruit. You know that its a fruit beer but its hard to decipher what fruit it is. We added a half a can of cherry extract at bottling hoping to get some of the cherry flavor back. The only thing that came from that is the cough syrup flavor we were trying to avoid.

So I guess my point is this, Unless you can just allow the cherries to just steep and not ferment your flavor would be much better. Which wouldn't be an issue if you keg. (basically killing the yeast and adding the cherries)

Hope this helps. Let me know how yours turns out. I would love a good cherry wheat.

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Old 09-21-2010, 07:07 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snevey View Post
I also believe that Sam Adams uses SWEET cherries, which gives it that cough syrup taste that many do not like.
It has to much of a chemical taste for that to be real fruit. I really compare the flavor in SA cherry wheat to that of the cherry flavoring (made byLD carlson) thats sold at many HBS.
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:08 AM   #8
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Another idea for cherry flavoring might be something like this:

http://www.igourmet.com/shoppe/prodv...01&src=froogle

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Old 09-21-2010, 05:43 PM   #9
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I think im going to stick with my origianl plan...using 20 lbs of fresh cherries from traverse city. Boil them in water to kill bacteria and to soften them up...then i will mash them into a puree, cover them with water and add 1 tablet of campden (to kill any remaining bacteria that can harm the yeast) and some drops of pectic enzyme drops to help with juice extraction and with pectin/haze build up. I will add 10 lbs to each secondary fermenter and let this sit for 2-3 weeks. After my research and postings i think this will be the best way to go.....

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Old 09-21-2010, 06:50 PM   #10
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You don't have to bring them all the way to boiling; you can pasteurize at 160F for 10-30 minutes. That will kill most everything without driving off a lot of the aromatics that would otherwise end up in the beer. It'll also reduce the amount of pectin you extract, which might obviate the pectinase.

The other technique that you might employ to bring out more flavor is repeated freeze/thaw cycles before you pasteurize and puree. That will help break the cell walls and give you better extraction of sugars and flavor.

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