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TJ's cherries in secondary

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LaurieGator

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For my next batch of brew, I want to add some cherries in the secondary of a dark stout. (I tried some over the spring, didn't get the recipe but fell in love.)

I had a couple of questions. When I searched on it, I decided since I want a definite cherry flavor in the beer, I would do it in the secondary rather than fermenting it in the primary.

Would I be better with frozen cherries from Trader Joe's or with their dried ones? I am looking to do a 5 gallon batch. I have heard that sweet cherries can make things taste like cough syrup, so I was going to use the dried, tart cherries since I had wonderful luck with them in a cyser last year. Approximately how many lbs would I need for a nice but not overpowering cherry taste?

Thanks!
 

brewmasterpa

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well its easier to use frozen cherries due to the fact that the cells are already broken apart from freezing. dont forget to pasteurize them. just boil them in some water for 15 minutes and cool before putting them in your secondary. you want about 1 lbs per gallon of beer. 5 gallon batch=5 lbs cherries. dont forget that when you add that much cherries, youre going to lose about .75 gallons of your beer to trub in the secondary, so dont forget to compensate for this loss on your brew day. also, when you add the cherries, make sure to put the cherries in first, then rack the beer on top of the cherries to prevent oxidation. i know that was more info than you were asking for, but theres a lot of people unfamiliar with fruit usage and its very easy to ruin your beer if you do it wrong. oh, and one more thing, when you pasteurize the fruit, you will have pectic haze in your beer when its finished, but since youre making a stout, it doesnt matter. it also wouldnt matter with a wheat beer. just a little more info.
 
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LaurieGator

LaurieGator

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Thanks for the great info! I had forgotten about the racking the beer on top of the cherries part...

It gives me a great excuse to head up to Ahwatukee for a TJ's run...
 

brian_g

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well its easier to use frozen cherries due to the fact that the cells are already broken apart from freezing. dont forget to pasteurize them. just boil them in some water for 15 minutes and cool before putting them in your secondary. you want about 1 lbs per gallon of beer. 5 gallon batch=5 lbs cherries. dont forget that when you add that much cherries, youre going to lose about .75 gallons of your beer to trub in the secondary, so dont forget to compensate for this loss on your brew day. also, when you add the cherries, make sure to put the cherries in first, then rack the beer on top of the cherries to prevent oxidation. i know that was more info than you were asking for, but theres a lot of people unfamiliar with fruit usage and its very easy to ruin your beer if you do it wrong. oh, and one more thing, when you pasteurize the fruit, you will have pectic haze in your beer when its finished, but since youre making a stout, it doesnt matter. it also wouldnt matter with a wheat beer. just a little more info.
What if you sanitize the cherries with a sulfide solution? Could you avoid the pectic haze?
 

jjp36

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Well he's brewing a stout so i doubt the pectin haze is much of an issue.

I think pectin haze is only an issue if you boil the fruit. I think you just want to bring it up to 180 degrees and hold it there for a little while to get rid of the nasties.
 

Revvy

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While your there pick up a sixer of thier vienna lager, it's the bomb!

I too agree about racking onto the frozen cherries in a secondary. But be prepared, you might need to rack that to a tertiary later if you want it to clear up more, and to get it off all the cherry pulp.
 

brewmasterpa

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im not sure about the sulfides youre talking about, im unfamiliar with the practice. all i know is you dont need to worry about the pectic haze with the beers that fruit is common in i.e. stouts, and wheats. holding at 180 should be sufficient, but you wont avoid the haze, so why not just boil it. it will help to draw out the flavor by breaking the cells further as well as making certain to pasteurize. just boil and dont worry. i second revvy on the tertiary. youre going to have lots of cherry pulp in the racking cane, even if youre careful and leave almost a gallon of trub in the carboy.
 

brian_g

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im not sure about the sulfides youre talking about, im unfamiliar with the practice. all i know is you dont need to worry about the pectic haze with the beers that fruit is common in i.e. stouts, and wheats. holding at 180 should be sufficient, but you wont avoid the haze, so why not just boil it. it will help to draw out the flavor by breaking the cells further as well as making certain to pasteurize. just boil and dont worry. i second revvy on the tertiary. youre going to have lots of cherry pulp in the racking cane, even if youre careful and leave almost a gallon of trub in the carboy.
It's a common practice for winemakers to add potassium metabisulfite to fresh fruit to kill bacteria and wild yeast, as they typically don't boil their fruit. I was just wondering if the same practice could be used in beer.
 

brewmasterpa

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the whole killing yeast thing tells me its a bad idea, perhaps just boiling seems to be a better idea, but like i said, im not a vintner, never been interested, have no clue how to do it, no idea what consequences it would have in beer.
 

brian_g

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the whole killing yeast thing tells me its a bad idea, perhaps just boiling seems to be a better idea, but like i said, im not a vintner, never been interested, have no clue how to do it, no idea what consequences it would have in beer.
In wine making the procedure is as follows:
1) Add potassium metabisulfite
2) let sit overnight
3) pitch yeast

The potassium metabisulfite releases a gas which kills the yeast, after the gas escapes the fresh yeast can be pitched. I would think this should work with beer, however when it's done to wine fresh yeast are pitched, not yeast that has been fermenting for a week.

It's probably safer to just boil them, however this might result in loss of flavor or aroma.
 

brewmasterpa

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no adverse affect on flavor from boiling, ive done this many times. works great. just got the haze to contend with. you know whats funny though, the last batch i used cherries in was a pale ale, and i had no pectic haze. that was weird.
 

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