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Need advice on cherries for stout

I’m getting ready to make NB’s Milk Chocolate Stout, and I want to add some form of cherries to it…but I’m not sure which route to take. My four options available are:

  1. Cherry puree
  2. Cherry extract
  3. Cherry pie filling
  4. Cherries in sauce (Homemade sweet cherries canned in a sugar water)

The reviews on the puree seem good, but it is a bit expensive. Just checking if you guys feel it is worth it. The reviews on the extract do not seem favorable…sounds like it tastes like cough syrup. I’ve heard from one guy that the pie filling has worked well for him, but that was with a wheat beer, and I’m wondering about adverse effects of the sugar in it. The cherries in sauce is another option…but unproven as I’m guessing others have not tried this route, and it also has the sugar issue like the pie filling.

I just thought I’d throw this out there against the knowledge base of vetern brewers. Any and all opinions are welcome!

The only one I’ve tried is the puree from Oregon Fruit Co. in an oud bruin. I was happy with the end result. Your home canned should be OK.

I have always had luck with with pie fillings and fruit in syrup, made a heffe with appricot= turned out amazing, and blueberry pie filling in cream ale turned out ok, I would do cherry pie filling if I was you, but I am new at this so take that into consideration

If you’re using pie filling, remember that you get more than just fruit, you’ll get spices as well as additional sugars.

If you’re looking for pure fruit flavor, use either fruit puree, or pure squeezed juice.

beware - read label on pie filling – if there are preservatives it’s a nogo as they will hamper fermentation.

I have used ‘juice concentrate’ to good effect, and you don’t have to mess with the solid matter.

Good info guys. Anybody else have any other experience or words of wisdom?

It won’t matter much for a stout, but for lighter clearer beers you might want to consider using some pectic enzyme, especially if you are using fruit that has been cooked like the canned cherries or pie filling. Otherwise you could end up with some pectin haze.

I just purchased some 100% cherry concentrate from door county to use in a Belgian Golden Strong - It is still in primary, and I won’t add conc. until secondary so I do not know what I will get, but that is the route I went after looking at various options. Probably going to add 16-24 ounces to a 5 gallon batch.

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