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Thread: Cherry beer base

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    99

    Cherry beer base

    Just wondering if anyone has brewered a cherry beer (successfully!), and what beer style you chose to be the 'base'? For example, a lager or an ale? If so, what? And what important/major beer characteristics were well matched to the final cherry flavours you desired v. obtained?

    Thanks for any help...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Dexter, MI USA
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    Hello,

    I've brewed quite a few beers with cherries over the years. Lagers, ales, Kriek (lambic style), you name it. Cherries seem to go well with everything except very hoppy beers. Some of my favorites are: Porter, stout, Weizen, Kriek, mild. Oh, and Brown.

    How to get the best cherry flavor will most likely spark a lively debate, but I think extract and flavorings do not deliver a very nice cherry flavor, most lack complexity, are over the top sweet, and many leave the lingering suggestion of artificial chemical yuck. For real cherry flavor, go for real cherries. No substitute. Age the beer over whole washed cherries at a rate of at least one pound per barrel for a nice mild complex cherryness.

    Cherry variety, now that is up to you! Personal taste will rule the day, but I prefer tart cherry varieties for a nice refreshing flavor.

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
    Dexter, MI

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Hyattsville,MD
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    281
    I'm aging a cherry beer currently on toasted French oak. The base was a "golden" ale (2-row,wheat,munich,carapils and hopped with hallertau), which was fermented with WLP001 California Ale. After the fermentation was complete I added sour cherry puree and pitched a blend of two Belgian yeast strains. The beer finished out very dry with a crisp cherry character and some spiciness from the Belgian yeast, with the addition of the oak, it's rounding out it's character nicely.
    Just my two cents.
    Cheers,
    Mike Roy
    Brewer
    Franklin's Restaurant,Brewery & General Store
    Hyattsville,MD

    Franklinsbrewery.com
    @franklinsbrwry
    facebook.com/franklinsbrewery
    Franklinsbrewery.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    NW
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    33

    Cherry Ale question...

    Howdy,

    I just brewed a belgian red, I used a belgian yeast and the grain bill was two row with 25% 70/80 crystals. The color and the beer turned out great, but I want to secondary it with tart cherries. The beer started at 1.050 and its still fermenting, currently at 1.010.

    Unfortunately, there is a tart cherry shortage this year. Has anyone tried pitching cherry juice into the secondary? If so, would you make sure it's pastuerized?

    I was planning on using 100 lbs of cherries for 10 bbls.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Palau
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    1,518
    If you use whole, unpitted cherries (like many kriek brewers do) the pits will also give an almond taste/aroma. Nice in some styles.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Louisville, KY
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    995
    I've always liked the aseptic purees from Oregon Fruit. They do offer several cherry varieties and are safe to add directly to your secondary(after pulling all yeast).


    https://www.oregonfruit.com/?pg=io

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
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    602
    Second vote For Oregon Fruit!
    Operations Director, Tin Roof BC
    ted@tinroofbeer.com
    "Your results may vary"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Dexter, MI USA
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    203
    Hello!

    Best: real whole cherries!
    Second: puree
    And in third place: You can use a juice. You will get cherry flavor, and it can be nice, but the beer will lack a lot of the subtleties and complexity whole fruit can add. Make sure you find a juice that is pure cherry, not some blend of cherry, apple, white grape etc. Juice (for me) tends to work best in a complex beer such a stout or barleywine. Take care not to use too much, or you can create the suggestion of "cough syrup". Not all that great. Most commercial juices should come pasteurized.

    Aloha,
    Ron

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    NW
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    33

    Thanks for the advice...

    I think I'll try the puree, any advice on amount? My Belgian book suggests a massive amount of berries, but I'd like to keep the berry flavor as more of a subtlety.

    Im also considering using toasted oak chips, in the secondary, along with the berries. I've never used the chips before. Any advice on amount? Do you guys sterilize them before pitching them?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Triose; 07-28-2005 at 09:52 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Sterling Heights, MI.
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    51

    Pasteurized Juice

    Take care not to buy juice with sorbate or benzoate. Generally, the pasteurized juice won't contain anti-ferments, but occassionally you find it both past. and AF'd.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    387

    Cherry Stout

    I brew a cherry stout with Oregon Puree at a blend of 3 to 1 Dark sweet to Tart. I believe I used about 130 lbs of dark and 44 tart in a 15 Bbl batch and it was not quite cherry enough so this time Im going to use the same amount in 10 Bbls. I adjusted the final flavor/aroma with a bit of natural extract which has a nice aroma but if overdone just tastes like cough syrup! Remember if you do a stout the combo of tart cherries and roast barley will give you a real bite so dont over do the tart cherries unless thats what you want. The cherry flavor can easily get lost in a dark beer if you dont use enough so have a back up plan (extract or juice to adjust). Good luck!
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    NW
    Posts
    33

    Thanks for the imput!

    I was planning on using all tart cherries. It's a 15 bbl. batch, but I was only going to cherry half the batch. I was planning on using 120 lbs in the secondary.

    The beer isn't near as robust as a porter, its an orange/red color with an OG of 1.050. It's quite clean right now with definite belgian phenolics from the yeast.

    I've never thought about using both tart and sweet. I'd like to stay true to the style yet make a good drinkable beer. Any thoughts?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    387
    I should mention that when I say that I use sweet cherries, what you are getting is cherry flavor without the tartness of sour cherries. The sugar ferments out so there is no "sweetness" from the sweet cherries unles you crash the beer before it can ferment out the cherries.
    Big Willey
    "You are what you is." FZ

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    2
    I think you should always use real cherries.We use sour cherries.They have to be unsweetened.We drop ours in the wort while it is boiling.The flavour in the finished product is amazing.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Sorrento, BC, Canada
    Posts
    44

    fruit in the boil

    What kind of fruit were you using? Because cherries will release pectin (as will just about any other fruit) in the boil, and it's a bitch to clarify the beer after that.

    We generally use a base of Pale, Munich and Caramel malts, lightly hopped - which hops depends on the fruit. All hard fruits (anything with a skin, but not raspberries) we use the very cleanest fruit, then rinse with Oxonia (peroxyacetic acid), freeze, then thaw, crush and add. We always add the cherry pits, especially because we are using sweet dark cherries. Freezing helps kill micro-organisms, and it breaks down skin and cell walls, making the fruit integrate with the beer more quickly.
    Rebecca Kneen
    Crannóg Ales
    Canada's Certified Organic, on-farm microbrewery
    www.crannogales.com

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