Bottle Carbonation with Cherry Juice

Good day to the message board,

only been brewing for a while and am looking to experiment with some new techniques. I have a batch of an american style ale that is ready to be bottled and am looking to use cherry juice as the source of priming sugars. The juice is fermentable and has a nutritional facts label. I have had two thoughts about how to decide how much cherry juice to use;

  1. I was thinking about trying to measure the specific gravity of the juice and compare/match it up to the gravity of a diluted solution of 5 ounces of corn sugar

or 2) do some math, convert ounces to grams, and add the appropriate number of ounces of cherry juice, containing the correct number of grams of sugar, to equal that of approx. 5 ounces of corn sugar.

You guys have any thoughts? I was a little excited about option number one, getting out the hydrometer and doing some science, but more and more I am leaning towards number two because its easier and i won’t have to waste any money buying extra sugar i don’t need.

So just to be clear, the cherry juice i am planning on using says it contains XX amount of grams of sugar per ounce. I am thinking about using the number of ounces of cherry juice that will equal approximately 142 grams of sugar (this is what Google told me 5 ounces of sugar translates to). Is there any flaw in my logic? I am mostly concerned with over carbonation/bottle bombs; not so much under carbonation. I do not normally use the entire pre-weighed 5 oz. package of corn sugar from the brew shop. Only been brewing for a few months now, doing experimental extract things, and would appreciate any input from you more experienced guys here in the forum.

Thanks for your time!

I have no clue if cherry juice would work.
So why not split the batch at bottling time: 1/2 with priming sugar and the other half with cherry juice…?

If you assume all the sugar in the cherry juice is fermentable by yeast, then using the volume of juice that will deliver the correct weight of sugar to each 12 oz ought to work. Remember to add the volume of juice to that of the beer to get a total volume in the bottles (so it’ll take more juice than you think at first glance).

I don’t really know if it will work either. I feel like you would need a ton of juice to get the correct amount of sugar. It might work if you end up boiling down the juice you need and basically making a cherry juice reduction but even then I am not sure. Will other ingredients in the juice affect the yeast/beer? Killing the yeast or creating off flavors in the finished product? I also suggest doing it with a small portion, like a gallon of the beer, this time. If it works then you can go all out next time.

Why not add the cherry juice to the fermentation and bottle condition with simple sugars?

Thanks for all of the feedback people,
just got home from school and picked up some of “da juice” along the way. I realized i forgot to mention that the juice i am planning on using is a concentrate of sorts; one of those holistic healing type of juices. I got a 16 ounce bottle that the producers are claiming contains juice equivalent to 12.5 lbs. of fresh Michigan Montmorency Tart Cherries. The instructions on the bottle recommend diluting one ounce of juice into 7 oz. of water for consumption.
The idea of splitting the batch at bottling is a really good thought; i would much rather have one case of flat beer than two! I have already used this same juice in a previous beer during secondary fermentation (that batch has been in bottles for about a week now). The cherry flavor came through pretty well when i tasted the last batch before bottling and the reason for trying to carbonate with the juice is to compare the overall effect of the juice in at secondary versus at bottling time. I am hoping for two distinctly different cherry flavors so that i can combine adding the juice during secondary and bottling time to create a super cherry beer! :mrgreen: any who…
I am hoping to get this batch bottled in the next day or two and will have to try and remember to post my results. Thanks again for all of the feedback!

I’d love to get my hands on some of that juice for a lambic kriek. Can you get it online?

You can bottle carb with anything that contains sugars. Avoid preservatives and artificial flavors. Since you’re using some kind of hippy juice, sounds like it won’t be a problem.

Honestly though, probably won’t impact flavor much. If you really want a pronounced fruit flavor you should add 3 or more lbs of fruit to secondary and let it ferment out. Then bottle carb with ordinary sugar.

Don’t take my word for it though, give it a shot, won’t hurt anything.

10 April 13 Cherry Juice Bottle Carb update:

So it has been three days since I bottled my last beer using cherry juice concentrate for the priming sugar source. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just bottle the whole batch with the stuff, mostly because I was too lazy to get extra sugar, do a little extra math, ect. blah blah… yeah i am lazy. Anyway, after it was all said and done i feel pretty good about it.

The juice contains 19 grams of sugar per ounce and i ended up using 7.5 ounces or approx. 142.5 grams of sugar. This is a pretty close estimation to the equivalent number of grams in 5 ounces of priming sugar. I am expecting that not all of the sugars in the cherry juice are fermentable and will get less carbonation than 5 ounces of priming sugar, hopefully somewhere around the equivalent of 4 ounces of priming sugar.

The beer that I brewed using the same juice during secondary fermentation, 16 ounces, should be fully carbed and ready to drink this weekend. Super stoked! Expecting Cherry Rye Scotch Madness!

Wahoo: Stanton Orchards is the name of the producer of the juice I have been using. You can find their site very easy through Google. It does not appear to me that they ship product directly, possibly because it has to be refrigerated, but they have a very good website and detailed list of retail locations.

I will try and get some pics up and post my results if people are interested.