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Christian
07/11/06 09:23 AM  
YACT - Yet Another Cherry Thread
When aging beer on cherries, would it be recommended to crush some or all of the stones to extract the almond flavors.

-Christian

SteveG
07/11/06 11:00 AM  
Re: YACT - Yet Another Cherry Thread
I like to freeze them, thaw them then toss them in as is. Freezing and thawing does a nice job extracting juices and the cherries soften. But I give the stones no special attention. Seems like that could leave particles of stone in your finshed beer.
mallace
07/11/06 04:15 PM  
Re: YACT - Yet Another Cherry Thread
Stones, especially if crushed, can add tannic bitterness to the beer, which you might not want...vintners take care not to crush grape pips when crushing grapes. And, my LHBS guy informed me that there are trace amounts of cyanide in cherry pits! Obviously not enough to harm you. But he recommended the arduous process of pitting the cherries.
Eric K
07/11/06 05:10 PM  
Re: YACT - Yet Another Cherry Thread
My process is the same as SteveG's: pick/buy freash, place in large feezer ziplock bags, thaw when ready, then pitch in secondary (whole and inside a nylon bag) uncrushed. The pits provide a nice almond aroma and flavor. An even combination of Sour, Bing and Ranier cherries seem to work the best. Use at least one large freezer ziplock full of cherries/5 gallon batch.

I leave the beer conditioning on the cherries for one half to two months. I also add a teaspoon of pectic enzyme to the secondary about a week or two before racking into kegs; this will further breakdown the cellwalls and increase cherry flavor. Be carful of the enzyme however, too much will strip the red color right out of the brew.

SteveG
07/11/06 05:25 PM  
Re: YACT - Yet Another Cherry Thread
>>And, my LHBS guy informed me that there are trace amounts of cyanide in cherry pits!<<

I didn't want to bring this up cause I was not sure, but since you did...! I think this is true, I know there are also trace elements in apple seeds. My impression was that this is a general fruit pit thing.

>>An even combination of Sour, Bing and Ranier cherries<<

A bold observation Eric since most sources do what they can to steer people away from using sweet cherries (because Belgian references are always sure to specify sour). This notion was first suggested to me by the great plambic brewer Dave Pyle (last years AHA HBOTY). The very same weekend I was hanging with Dave and BURP my wife was picking me some sour cherries. She noted an eastern European woman was also there picking, tasted one and commented on how much more sour these were than European sour cherries. Humm, this together with Daves suggestion changed the way I thought about Belgian style beer and sour cherries. Now I do what you do! I think you need to be heavier on the sour ones, but the mix you mentioned is a really great one.

 
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