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Cherries in my beer.

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fretsforlife

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Hey guys, I'm going to try my first fruit beer tomorrow and am still a little uncertain of a few things that maybe you could help me out with.

Im going to be attempting a cheery wheat (extract). Here is what I have on hand:

3/4 lb. Munich (light) Grain - Weyermann
3/4 lb. White Wheat Grain - Briess
7 lbs. Muntons Wheat DME (ill probably use 6.6 lbs in the recipe)
2 1/2 oz. Hallertau Hop pellets
White Labs WLP320
3 14.5 oz cans of Oregon tart cherries (in water)
3.75 lbs frozen sweet cherries

I have 2 questions here:

1, When do you guys add the cherries, and how much? I hope I have enough for a 5 gallons. This batch is my girlfriend's idea so I'm looking for a cherry flavor that really comes through but is not overpowering. I've heard to add to the boil, Ive heard to add to the primary, Ive heard to add to secondary, Im a little confused. Also, how long do you let the wort sit on the cherries?

2, this is my first time using a liquid yeast. The people at my LHBS said that I can just pitch the vial to the 5 gallon batch, but I've also heard people swear by a starter for a liquid. If I do go the starter route, can i get by with making it with just DME and the yeast, or do i NEED a yeast nutrient as well?

I'll be brewing this up around this time tomorrow, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. thanks a lot! :)
 

Ice9

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I made a cherry dubbel last August and it has really nice cherry flavor. I racked onto 3lbs each of sweet and tart cherries after primary fermentation, and left the beer in secondary for a month. I have a book that suggests 1lb per gallon of cherries in beer. I'm going to make this dubbel again this year, but I will be upping the cherries to 8 pounds. I think with your lighter beer that the amount of cherries that you have will work fine.
 
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fretsforlife

fretsforlife

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awesome! thanks for your reply. I think I'll be adding to the secondary then. We'll see how this turns out..
 

Joos

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Secondary after fermentation is complete.You don't want to ferment the cherries otherwise you'll get winebeer.
 

homebrewjapan

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Does adding cherries to the secondary introduce any risk of bacteria etc?
Going with the "sanitize sanitize sanitize" rule of homebrewing, adding something organic to the mix must introduce risk. Any precautions that should be takens?

fretsforlife: Thank you for asking this question. My next beer is a Brewferm Kriek - I bought it because I like Belle Vue Kriek but then after read that it's not very "cherry" like at all, so I was wondering how to handle it. Your post has given me the solution.
 
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fretsforlife

fretsforlife

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Good point Joos, I'll definitely be adding them to secondary.

Does adding cherries to the secondary introduce any risk of bacteria etc?
Going with the "sanitize sanitize sanitize" rule of homebrewing, adding something organic to the mix must introduce risk. Any precautions that should be takens?

fretsforlife: Thank you for asking this question. My next beer is a Brewferm Kriek - I bought it because I like Belle Vue Kriek but then after read that it's not very "cherry" like at all, so I was wondering how to handle it. Your post has given me the solution.
homebrewjapan,. I just listened to a radio show about putting fruit in your beer. They said that once your beer is fully fermented, usually there is enough alcohol to protect itself from infection. However just to air on the side of caution, Im thinking of heating them briefly on the stove. Then again, I've heard that doing this sets pectins so I'm still a little unsure of what to do here. My cherries are canned/ bagged frozen, so maybe they'll be alright as is. Either way, I'll keep you posted.

thanks for your interest, and give this podcast a listen if you have 50 minutes to kill. They definitely offer some good advice on adding fruit to your beer. FRUIT BEER podcast.
 

homebrewjapan

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Thanks for the podcast.

You may want to read this: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f13/cherries-beer-nightmare-29192/

Please do keep me informed (you can contact me direct by PM or via my website if you wish). Although my next beer will be the Kriek, I'm looking to add orange peel to my current brew and although I can find references to people who have done that, I can't find anything which says conclusively whether it is safe or unsafe to just put them into the secondary. I'll update my website with progress on that.
 

viking999

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Yooper's idea about using Campden tablets to sanitize fruit sounded good. Just make sure you add it to the fruit at least a day before putting it into the secondary or you'll kill your yeast!
 

Gussymo

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You'll get fermentation from the sugars in the cherries. I just finished off a keg of cherry stout I made and the stout had finished fermenting and I racked it onto 1 of the large cans of Oregon cherry puree. I ended up having a gusher in the secondary. I had not counted on that and had filled the carboy too full. The 1 can of cherries was not enough so when I kegged it I added 4 oz of cherry extract. After it conditioned for about 4 weeks it was incredible.
 
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fretsforlife

fretsforlife

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Thanks, I read both of those links. Im getting some new ideas here. It looks like this whole cherries thing might be a little more challenging than i thought. Im gonna be on the road here for the next couple weeks while my beer ferments. As soon as I get home, I'll rack.
 

Homercidal

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I was thinking about doing this during the Cherry Festival in honor of the Traverse City area being the cherry capital of the world and was planning on freezing the cherries and crushing them up a bit before adding to secondary.

The odds of them making the beer bad is fairly low. I was wondering what a cherry IPA would taste like... Might take a bit more cherries to get the aroma and flavor to come through...
 
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fretsforlife

fretsforlife

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Well I finally got around to racking this over the cherries a couple nights ago. The OG on my wheat beer was 1.066 and it finished with 1.014. Thats just under 7% which was a little higher than I thought it'd be.

I bottled one gallon of this brew for 2 reasons. One, so that I could compare the wheat to the cherry wheat, and two, because if the CW sucks in the long run, at least it wasnt a total loss.

So here is the carboy after getting the cherries in which was a little tricky. There will be only 4 gallons of brew going in here so I've adjusted the cherry usage to 65.5 ounces (about 4 pounds). I used the 3 cans of Oregon tart, and the rest, frozen sweet. Call me crazy, but I've elected to not heat the frozen cherries. There's a lot of alcohol in this brew, so i hope it can protect itself.


During racking, some cherries floated, while most stayed on the bottom.


A day later, and most of the cherries have floated to the top. Fermentation has started up again for another round. Im getting a lot of foam, and look at the color difference!


Of all my brews thus far, Im eager to see how this turns out the most. The ABV will probably be through the roof, but who knows? it could turn out good. I am leaving town again and might let this sit a while before bottling, but I'll be sure to follow up. :mug:
 

homebrewjapan

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Thanks for following up with this - it looks great so far.

I'm still waiting for one of my primaries to be free before I can start my cherry beer. In the meantime I need to find somewhere that sells cans of cherries at a reasonable price because there's no way I could do fresh at the prices they charge in Japan.

BTW, I recently added orange peel, coriander, and nutmeg to a wheat beer. I added to the primary since I didn't think it was worth the hassle moving to a secondary. It's going well so far. Like yourself, I also put 1G into bottles first just in case it didn't work out, but right now it seems to be a winner.
 

Jersh

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Thanks for the podcast.

Although my next beer will be the Kriek, I'm looking to add orange peel to my current brew and although I can find references to people who have done that, I can't find anything which says conclusively whether it is safe or unsafe to just put them into the secondary. I'll update my website with progress on that.
Not trying to high-jack this thread, just wanted to respond to this comment... I recently made a honey-orange hefe (from recipe in recipe section) and for the orange peel, I followed the recipe suggestion of soaking the zest of 2 oranges in vodka for a couple weeks, and then straining the zest and adding the now strongly flavored orange vodka when bottling/kegging... this worked out great for me, my beer has a very subtle but still noticeable orange flavor.
 

homebrewjapan

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Not trying to high-jack this thread, just wanted to respond to this comment... I recently made a honey-orange hefe (from recipe in recipe section) and for the orange peel, I followed the recipe suggestion of soaking the zest of 2 oranges in vodka for a couple weeks, and then straining the zest and adding the now strongly flavored orange vodka when bottling/kegging... this worked out great for me, my beer has a very subtle but still noticeable orange flavor.
I boiled the orange peel with crushed coriander seeds, nutmeg, and a little sugar for a few minutes. (Sugar because I bottled 5L of 20L first, which left space in the bucket which I wanted filled with CO2.)

Method I used in detail: Finally some bottling action… and experimentation! « Homebrew Japan

It has been a few days now. Tried a little when taking a hydrometer reading. There’s a subtle but refreshing orange taste with just a hint of coriander and nutmeg at the end. It already tastes good and still has a few more days before I bottle :)
 

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