I am an experienced all-grainer, but it has been quite awhile since I did a fruit beer. I have got a robust porter (very chocolate-like due to a lot of choc malt) that is near final gravity. I want to turn it into a “sour cherry porter”.
In the past, I have used cherry juice concentrate to good effect, but this time I have access to fresh sour cherries and would like to try “real” fruit - not just juice.
My current plan is: rack the terminal=gravity beer off of its yeast sediment and into a secondary bucket, which contains a mixture of the aforementioned fresh cherries, and a blend of purchased sweet and sour cherries (frozen, in plastic bags from grocery store), all under a blanket of CO2. Probably around 5# total weight of cherries. BTW, the fresh cherries are frozen, destemmed and rinsed well, but still have pits- I’m not concerned about the pits. I want to thaw all the cherries in the sanitized secondary bucket, then rack the porter onto them and allow to sit for some weeks, then keg. I can doctor-up the cherry character with cherry concentrate and / or citric acid, near the end of secondary or while in the keg.
My main question is: Should I mess with sanitizing the cherries? As stated, some are store-bought, bagged, frozen; and some are picked, rinsed and frozen. I don’t want this to turn into a “sour” beer- it will be kegged and consumed within a couple months…so maybe that’s not a valid concern(?).
If I do need to sanitize the fruit, how would I do so without losing a great deal of fruit character? Don’t want it to have a “cooked” fruit flavor. I think the Book says to steep in 160F water for a certain period of time…
Any experienced thoughts on any of this? Lennie?
—guys if you’ve never done a fruitbeer and have merely read about it, please forego answering my questions. I have read alot about it myself. I am hoping for experienced answers.----