Cherry Kettle Sour Advice Needed

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Hwk-I-St8

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So, my kids are all into the fruited sours (I don't mind them either). Last weekend we picked a bunch of sour cherries from my brother in law's tree. They are really sour.

I have enough to add up to 10 lbs to a 5 gallon batch, but I'm not really sure about the quantity and effect.

How much will the tartness of the cherries come through in the beer? Should I not take the pH down as low since the cherries are so sour?

How much of the cherries should I add and for how long? I was thinking somewhere between 1 and 2 lbs per gallon and leaving it until the yeast are done chewing through their sugars...maybe a week or so. Thoughts?

I have them pitted and in the freezer right now. I was thinking of putting them in a pot and heating to 175 for a few minutes to sanitize before adding to the fermenter. Is this a good approach? Is there a better way?

Will the cherries flavor the beer enough or will it be like maple syrup where it ferments out? I have the ability to ferment under pressure...should I spund after adding them?

I may add some lactose and Viking Cookie malt to go for a cherry pie type experience.

Any advice, knowledge, etc you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
 

Rob2010SS

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So, my kids are all into the fruited sours (I don't mind them either). Last weekend we picked a bunch of sour cherries from my brother in law's tree. They are really sour.

I have enough to add up to 10 lbs to a 5 gallon batch, but I'm not really sure about the quantity and effect.

How much will the tartness of the cherries come through in the beer? Should I not take the pH down as low since the cherries are so sour?

How much of the cherries should I add and for how long? I was thinking somewhere between 1 and 2 lbs per gallon and leaving it until the yeast are done chewing through their sugars...maybe a week or so. Thoughts?

I have them pitted and in the freezer right now. I was thinking of putting them in a pot and heating to 175 for a few minutes to sanitize before adding to the fermenter. Is this a good approach? Is there a better way?

Will the cherries flavor the beer enough or will it be like maple syrup where it ferments out? I have the ability to ferment under pressure...should I spund after adding them?

I may add some lactose and Viking Cookie malt to go for a cherry pie type experience.

Any advice, knowledge, etc you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
So, here's my 2 cents...

How much will the tartness of the cherries come through in the beer? Should I not take the pH down as low since the cherries are so sour? Do you have a pH in mind that you were going to target? I think it depends on personal preference. My wife and I like our sours pretty sour. The ones we like, others have referred to as "enamel rippers". I've used cherries a few times (although, never SOUR cherries) so I can't really say whether the tartness will carry over. I would think you might get a little but I wouldn't think that it would be drastic. I think you'll get mostly flavor. If I remember correctly, each .1 drop in pH is exponentially more tart than the previous mark. If it were me, I would not adjust my pH target based on the sour cherries.

How much of the cherries should I add and for how long? I was thinking somewhere between 1 and 2 lbs per gallon and leaving it until the yeast are done chewing through their sugars...maybe a week or so. Thoughts? When we do fruit additions in a sour, depending on the fruit, we target 1lb per gallon. Some fruits, like strawberries, are more because they're harder to get that flavor. For cherries, I'd target 1lb per gallon for a couple of reasons. First, from my experience, 1lb per gallon of cherries gives a really solid cherry flavor. You don't need more than that. Second, the amount of room that fruit will take up is pretty significant. Not sure if you want to loose that much beer to the fruit either. Timing wise, we always go 2 weeks on fruit additions. That's enough time for the yeast to do their thing and extract the flavor from what we've experiences. Again, if it were me, I'd go 1lb per gallon for 2 weeks.

I have them pitted and in the freezer right now. I was thinking of putting them in a pot and heating to 175 for a few minutes to sanitize before adding to the fermenter. Is this a good approach? Is there a better way? We've done it both ways, heated it a pot to sanitize then stuck in the freezer to cool, and just freezing them and adding them to the beer after thawing for 24 hours. Both ways have been successful for us. Our go to method (putting my helmet on to block the rocks that people are going to throw) is just mashing them up a bit, sticking them in the freezer, thawing for 24 hours and putting them in the beer semi thawed. Done this numerous times and never had an issue. Typically our pH is down to 3.2 prior to the fruit addition so while I know that it still COULD get infected, from what I've read, it's a bit lower of a risk due to the low pH. We've done it 8 or 9 times with no issue.

Will the cherries flavor the beer enough or will it be like maple syrup where it ferments out? I have the ability to ferment under pressure...should I spund after adding them? I would do the cherries as a secondary fermentation. I have never added fruit during the primary but I would imagine you'd lose the flavor. We did a massive tangerine zest whirlpool addition to a cream ale a few months back that was really potent pre-fermentation. Post fermentation, completely gone. I would do your primary fermentation, let it finish, then add your fruit for a secondary for 2 weeks.

I may add some lactose and Viking Cookie malt to go for a cherry pie type experience. Actually planning something like this myself, but we're going for apple pie ala mode kind of sour. I have no experience with the cookie malt, so not sure what that would do. However, all of the pie like sours I have seen have some combination of allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon to bring the pie experience to the table. We just had one a little while back from Eagle Park Brewing in WI and this is how they did theirs and it was fantastic - straight up pie flavor with every sip. This is how we plan to do ours. Perhaps use the cookie malt in combination with the spices? Can't help a ton here as we haven't done this yet, sorry.
 
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