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06/29/11 01:42 PM  
Freezing sour cherries
What are your preferred methods for freezing cherries? I just picked up 6 lbs from the greenmarket in NYC. My plan was to rinse, stem, and then vacuum seal.

Most of the resources I've found online recommend pitting before freezing. Is that just so they're easier to remove, rather than trying to pit when the cherries are thawed and less firm? (I plan on using them with pits.)


tom sawyer
06/29/11 04:22 PM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
Having pitted sour cherries before, I can say that you wouldn't want them to be more mushy than they already are.

I froze my unpitted cherries in Ziplocks with no vacuum, I only left them long enough to freeze and then used them in beer. My thought was that the cells would burst and I'd get more juice. They seemed to still remain mostly intact for the months following additoin to the lambic, but it turned out nice.

06/29/11 09:27 PM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
I've pitted then frozen cherries, always with great results. I did this once then thawed the bag to use in beer. When thawed there was a couple cups of juice in there, I end up just adding that to the beer with great results. The wife then made a pie from the cherries - and despite all the juice the fruits lost it came out great too. Never understood that actually. But ... I would always pit then freeze.
Mike T
06/30/11 08:55 AM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
I've found that it is easier to freeze them first them vacuum seal. With my vacuum sealer anyway it will start crushing them and sucking juice out before it seals. I leave the pits in since I don't mind them going into the beer.
07/18/11 01:50 AM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
So, I've done fresh raspberry and peach in sours, but this is my first with cherries. I have about 5 gallons of a 10 month old pilsner-based sour with a 1.070 OG. It's had a great pellicle for the last 8 months. I plan on adding 2.5 g each to separate 3 g fermenters, purged with CO2. One will have 5 lbs of fresh, washed and frozen for a week cherries with pits and the other will have 5 lbs of fresh, pitted and dried down to 1.1 lbs. cherries, both Rainiers from the same source. So both started fresh at a 2.5 lb per g ratio. It's an experiment to see the affect of dried v. fresh in a pale-ish sour.

My question is whether I should slightly macerate the cherries to break the skins. Cherry skins are tough and I wonder how long it will take my bugs to get through them. I'll probably keep both on the fruit for 5-6 months. I know most lambic brewers use whole and RR uses dried in Supplication (hence the experiment), but I'm wondering what you guys' experiences have been. Thanks.

07/18/11 09:36 AM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
I put 8 pounds of whole fresh cherries into an 18 month old pale last week or so. Most of the fruit is now pale in color and the beer is deep red. The skins also look like they are falling apart and becoming rough; instead of the normal smooth.

Click on the pictures and you can see close up.


Freezing also seems to break up the cells.


07/18/11 11:21 AM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
B-Dub- nice photos. I did a peach sour last year, pale base fermentee only with lacto and they went from floating on the top like the stage yours are at to becoming smaller than a pea and sinking to the bottom and bottled at four months. Peaches were O'Henrys from just south of Hood River in the fruit loop. Very mild peach flavor at 2.5 lb/g.

Nice blog. How many barrels do you have and do you primary in all of them. I'm barrel hunting now (don't have any yet but request in) but want to find quality used, although I might go new and leach the tannins. I'm planning on stepping up my system to somewhere in the 20 g batch size in Oct/Nov to work with barrels. When a sour turns out insanely well 6 g is not anywhere enough, especially after 2 years of waiting.

Puckerfest this afternoon and as many days as possible this week. All in the name of research of course.

07/19/11 11:07 AM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
Chris, how was puckerfest last night? I'm thinking about heading over tomorrow for Upright night.

Tell me more about this "fruit loop" in hood river? I have some lambics that are in dire need of fruit, one in particular I'm planning on overloading with apricots. My original plan was to just start hitting up some local farmer's markets, but if you have a better source that would be awesome.


07/20/11 01:29 AM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
Just search for Hood River fruit loop online. It's sort of a little driving guide to fruit orchards in the Hood River Valley. I bought about 25 lbs of O'Henry peaches from Pearl's, not too far south of Hood River. Some of the best, juiciest, most aromatic peaches I've ever eaten, but the peach flavor in the beer was pretty subdued at around 2.5 lbs/g. I'd go straight to the orchards but sometimes you can find better prices at farmers markets and roadside stands.

Last night's Puckerfest was solid. Consecration and Bruery's Maron Acidite were my favs along with the last keg of BJ's Enfant Terrible 2007, which was still on tap tonight. Tonight it was all about Devil's Kriek and that's all I drank. The 2011 Rainier was a deep gold/straw color with no hints of cherry in the color, fairly aggressively acidic and delicious, with a delicate cherry flavor. Devil's Kriek 2010 was almost like a wine, with a gentle acidity, heftier body and dark tone. The DK 2011 was much more acidic, less opaque and a ruby color, effervescent and absolutely refreshing. We went to Cascade and had the Kriek after that and I have to say I liked DK 2011 better. Just a great sour.

The lack of color and flavor from the Rainiers worries me. I wanted to ask them about the fruit ratio in that one. I may end up adding some Bings specifically to extract some color. I'll miss tomorrow because of Timbers put will be there Thursday for Block 15.

07/20/11 01:43 PM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
Cool man. I'll check that out. I don't mind a little drive to hood river if it's worth the trip. In fact we're going camping up by hood in a couple weeks, perhaps we'll take the long way home through the gorge so as to snag some fruit.

Consecration is always a good beer - can't get enough of that. Not sure if we'll be able to make it tonight or not. Got the kid this week so it might be tough. I know Belmont Station allows minors till like 7 so we could go early, but I just don't know how that'll work with the crowds. I'm guessing it's pretty packed?

07/20/11 05:15 PM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries
Last night's line varied from 6-7:30. By 7:30 there wasn't much of a line but before that it frequently stretched a few deep out the door.

Has anybody else here brewed with Rainiers? Their skins are typically more yellow than red, but I was really surprised by the lack of color in the Rainier Devil's Kriek. I wish I could have asked how much fruit went in there. It was almost devoid of cherry, at least compared to the normal DK. I would like some color, so maybe I'll have to add some Bings.

07/26/11 02:24 PM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries

I primary in all the barrels; so far at least. Every turn I rinse the trub and refill the same day. The plan for future fills is to primary in glass and transfer into the barrel with the remaining beer. Removing trub every time.

Went to Puckerfest last Wednesday. Great beers! If time permits I want ot head back in the next few days before I head of home and have some Cantillion.

On a side note I stopped by Double Mountain yesterday in Hood River and had their 2011 Krieks. Bing and Rainier both were good, but had some vinegar notes. I love sour beer, but really have a hard time liking ANY vinegar in them.

Sorry for the hijack.


07/26/11 04:07 PM  
Re: Freezing sour cherries

I actually just got my first barrel this past weekend. It happened a little quicker than I expected, so right now I'm not prepared to fill it. Not prepared by a long shot.

The max my system can put out right now is about 6.5 g of 1.065 wort, unless I have a thicker mash (for infusions I usually start at 1.25 qt/lb and then step infuse up from there). I have a 6 g 'starter' of brettanomyces from Russian River which I plan to use to primary all the worts I brew for the barrel. Then, after primary, they'll all go into the barrel, probably with other bugs. I won't be able to pitch into the barrel until early October at the earliest, so I sulphered it.

I agree with the vinegar comment somewhat. I used to love a touch of it in lambic and Flemish red/browns, but after having a batch with WY's Roeselare go way to acetic (two years in the carboy) I have a rough time with it. Acetobacter are now my enemy I guess.

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