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When / how to add cherries?

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.----

Thanks!

Interested what people have to say because I’m planning something very similar in the next few months (sour cherries in an amber). I was planning on going straight from the freezer to thawing and into the carboy without anything else. I think I recall Denny saying that was what he has done with success.

copy. A few more nods like yours and I will throw unsanitized fruit in and pray.

Here is some information I found that confirms my initial thought, that the green beer is high enough in alcohol and low enough in pH to inhibit any kind of infection.

http://byo.com/stories/issue/item/679-fruit-brew-part-2-techniques

you can just throw it in after thawing, I have given things a quick dunk in star san before to, but rarely do that

The alcohol and low pH should be enough to fend off anything. I have never sanitized in the past and have had no problems. What I do is use a bucket and place the fruit in a big nylon bag like dry hopping. This way you can just pull it out to remove most of the fruit.

Question, would the cherries have enough natural sugars in them to initiate another round of fermentation with the residual yeast in the wort and how violent a fermentation could that be?

I thought I’d heard someplace that you needed a blowoff tube for safety’s sake when you did this.

[quote=“lazy ant brewing”]Question, would the cherries have enough natural sugars in them to initiate another round of fermentation with the residual yeast in the wort and how violent a fermentation could that be?

I thought I’d heard someplace that you needed a blowoff tube for safety’s sake when you did this.[/quote]

depends how much headpsace you have

for Grainbelt

The amount of headspace would be what’s available in a 5=gal plastic carboy used as a secondary fermenter.

Any advice?

[quote=“lazy ant brewing”]for Grainbelt

The amount of headspace would be what’s available in a 5=gal plastic carboy used as a secondary fermenter.

Any advice?[/quote]

the amount you have in secondary varies from batch to batch and then the amount of fruit you plan on using, if you dont think you have enough room put a blow off on

Thanks Grainbelt

Drinking Porter and Stout

Bottle Conditioning Red Ale

My guess is that you are going to have a tough time fitting 5 gallons of beer plus enough cherries in a 5 gallon carboy. How much fruit are you planning on using? General rule of thumb is 1-2 lbs per gallon of beer.

Ah, I gotta 7 gallon or so bucket. Lotta headspace in case the fruit causes a massive refermentation.

As stated above- was gonna start out with one lb cherries / gallon – so 5 lbs cherries. Then I can add concentrate later, if needed.

Thanks again guys for the advice

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