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tom sawyer
09/20/10 08:09 AM  
On the Cherries Too Long?
I put a 1-yr-old lambic on a mix of tart and sweet cherries and its been in the fermenter for three months. A taste after a month showed a bright fruity flavor. I racked off the fruit yesterday after just over three months. It now has a slight taste like the cherries were beginning to rot. I know, how can you tell the difference between rotten and barnyard/enteric. But this is slightly less pleasant than I was hoping it would be. I might try to blend it with some regular beer. It has plenty of tartness and is otherwise a pretty good beer. Needless to say I'm a bit dissappointed but not deterred.
09/20/10 12:41 PM  
Re: On the Cherries Too Long?
Last time I used sour cherries, I aged 2.5 gallons of a 100% pale brett beer on 6# of cherries for 3 mos with oak. The beer was extremely sour at kegging and continued to get more sour in the keg over the next couple mos. I currently have a strong oud bruin made from 2 strains of brett in primary that has been sitting on sour cherries for over 6 mos. Have not had a taste but am expecting vivacious sourness/tartness from the cherries.

I would not worry about the taste right now. your beer could be going through a sickness from pedio or interactions from the cherries ferment. Give it time, maybe another 3 mos and see where you are before jumping the gun. I would imagine it would be hard for the cherries to rot as long as proper sanitation was used plus the fact that they are sitting in a very low pH/acidic environment most likely filled with at least some carbon dioxide.

tom sawyer
09/20/10 01:48 PM  
Re: On the Cherries Too Long?
You might be right. In fact I'd recently noticed that the beer was getting slightly opaque, so it might be going through sick phase. Its already pretty tart. I suppose the cherries weren't rotting per se, they were still intact and there was no sign of mold. The tart cherries had leached a lot of their color.

Oh well, I'll give it a few months and try it again. If it gets any more tart I might still have to blend it.

Brian S
06/05/11 10:07 PM  
Re: On the Cherries Too Long?
How did this turn out?
tom sawyer
06/06/11 09:27 AM  
Re: On the Cherries Too Long?
Turned out just fine. In fact the beer just got a first place in the sours category and third in BOS at a small competition in Champaign IL (10 sours, 240 beers total). Also got an honorable mention at a larger contest a few months ago. The beer is fairly brash in terms of tartness but it has good complexity to go with it. Hasn't grown noticeably more tart in the time its been in the bottle either.
Brian S
06/07/11 03:57 PM  
Re: On the Cherries Too Long?
That's great to hear, thanks for the update. Tart cherries are in harvest here in Maryland. While I don't have a lambic style beer that I'd like to put on them, I'm thinking about doing a belgian blonde base with brett B and cherries into the secondary.
tom sawyer
06/07/11 07:07 PM  
Re: On the Cherries Too Long?
Sounds like a good plan. I added cherries early on my first kriek and it turned out nicely.
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