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Cherry Porter - Just a few weeks left to buy fresh cherries
Posted by Ron Goodhew, August 11th, 2011 | 0 Comments
During the next 2 weeks I am going to make a daily post on the progress of my Cherry Porter. If interested I would suggest that you purchase 15 pounds of fresh cherries and freeze them now before the season is over. Then in the next month start your own Cherry Porter. Here is the recipe and pictures of each step. The grains are available at The Home Vintner for $6.00. The liquid yeast is $9.95.
Pat's Cherry Porter using our Barons Brown Ale
Each glass of Cherry Porter is lush and creamy with a fruity aroma. This beer is rich and sensual, the flavour is reminiscent of Black Forest cake, with sweet chocolate notes and a slightly smoky character from the roasted malts.
Fill a stainless steel pot with 4" of cold water heating it up to an almost boiling point. Add the 300 grams of Crushed Chocolate Malt and 300 grams of Crushed Roasted Barley. Simmer only (do not boil) for 30 minutes at 65 C / 155 F.
To release extra enzymes from the grains shock cool the liquid by putting ice into the primary. Be careful with the hot mixture, pour it into the primary straining it through a colander, cheese cloth or hop sock - 2 people at this point work best. My preferred method is to use a hop sock, tie it closed and let it soak in the primary while you prepare the cherries. Once in a while go back and squeeze the juice out of the hop sock. When you add the cherries, discard the grains from the hop sock, rinse it out and use it for the cherries.
At least 24 hours prior - freeze 15 lbs of whole cherries (remove the stems leaving the cherries whole with seeds). Freezing fruit causes the cell structure to break down allowing the flavour to be released by the yeast. Fruit should be pasteurized by heating it to 155 degrees F / 65 degrees C for 20 minutes. This will kill any spoilage organisms in the fruit. I used a canning pot, added the fruit and covered with water. Be sure not to boil the fruit through, since this can cause a permanent haze. Using your hop sock put the cherries and juice into the primary. Leave 8 cherries free floating so that you can taste one each day. When the cherry no longer has any flavour it is time to rack to your carboy.
This will bring your level up to about 13 litres in the primary. Add your Barons Brown Ale to the primary and top up with water to 23 litres. Lift the hop sock out of the wart, add the bentonite and stir well. Original Specific Gravity (SG) was 1.052. Add the hops and then sprinkle the dry yeast or Wyeast Liquid 1084 Irish Ale Yeast on the surface. The way I figure it, I just spent a fortune on 15 pounds of cherries so I am going all the way with this one so I have used liquid yeast.
Day 1 - with the use of a heat belt, at 24 hours the temperature is 81F / 27C, SG remains at 1.052. There is about an inch of foam on the surface. When I checked the SG in my thief it was so bubbly that it looked like a coke. The hop sock is swelling, now it is twice the original size. The cherries are still firm, started to squeeze a little juice out of them today.
As the cherries ferment squeeze the juice out of the hop sock each day. Since the sugars in the cherries need to be fermented it will take a few extra days in the primary stage. Follow the regular Barons instructions; when making beer always go by specific gravity, not the number of days. When you reach the correct specific gravity allow extra time before you discard the hop sock with the cherry husks and seeds and rack the wort into your glass carboy.
Day 2 - The temperature is starting to drop, it is between 81F / 27 C and 79F/ 26C (both colours on the thermometer are indicating colour), the SG is starting to drop, today it is 1.025. Two points here - the initial fermentation causes heat, as the fermentation continues the temperature will drop. As the yeast ferments the natural sugars produce alcohol and CO2 - thus the bubbles. As the sugar is fermented according to the instructions the SG drops until it will reach 1.013 - 1.019, the lower the SG the higher the alcohol level so I always wait until the lowest SG is reached. The cherries are swelling in the hop sock, you can see in the photo on the left that they are a third larger. As I squeezed the hop sock they were a little softer, I felt a lot of them breaking open. I want the yeast to start fermenting the entire cherry so breaking the cherry open at this stage is important.
Day 3 - The temperature is 73F / 23C, the SG is 1.015. The hop sack was floating on the surface today (picture on the left). Using both hands I squeezed the hop sack juicing the cherries squeezing each one open. This took about 4 minutes (picture on the right when done). According to the instructions at 1.020 I should rack the beer into the carboy but the cherries need to continue to ferment so I will be going overtime in the primary.
Day 4 - The temperature is 75F / 24C, the SG is 1.012. I think that with the introduction of new juice from the cherries yesterday that fermentation increased thus the increase in temperature. Today the cherries are soft and when squeezed I can easily feel the cherry seeds. My free floating cherry today no longer had much taste so this indicates that it is getting close to racking time.
Day 5 - The temperature remains at 75F / 24C, the SG has gone back to 1.020. The new sugars introduced from squeezing the cherries yesterday has raised the SG. Today the cherries are falling apart, squeezed them feeling them falling free from the seeds.
Day 6 & 7 - the temperature has held steady at 73F / 23C, the SG is 1.022. The cherries no longer float. Have been squeezing the hop sock a couple of times each day. Very little new juice from the hop sock. Once the SG drops below 1.020 I will rack to the carboy.
Day 8 - with very little surface activity and a SG of 1.020 it is time to rack to the carboy. Here is a picture of what the cherry husks look like after having all the juice squeezed out of them. To continue using the heat belt on the carboy only use a carboy made in Italy. On the bottom of the carboy it will read "Made in Italy", do not use a heat belt on a Chinese or Mexican carboy - they tend to explode. With the removal of the cherries I topped up the carboy with additional water.
I have stuck a stick-on thermometer to the side of the carboy so that I can continue to monitor the temperature.
Day 9 to 21 - this is the waiting process, the termperature has held steady at 22. There was a surface scum so I rocked the carboy back and forth and it disipated, by tomorrow the little white pieces will be gone. The SG is 1.015, the final SG should be 1.013-1.019. Picked up some more beer bottles this week - planning on bottling this weekend.
Day 22 - there is still a little yeast surface scum so I carefully inserted my auto syphon so that I didn't disturb the surface. As the beer syphons into the primary the scum will stick to both the syphon and the sides of the carboy as you can see in this photo. Now to prepare the sugar which is added to the primary I take a meauring cup and add 1 cup of hot water. To this I add the dextrose - make sure you use the whole bag as we have added extra because of our altitude. Stir the sugar solution a few times using the end of the auto sypon. When it is clear add it to the primary.
Who would believe that you could legally make microbrewery style beer at home and save the provincial markup tax and pay no GST? This is how many 500 ml bottles you can make for under $40. Tomorrow I will create labels and then store the beer for 5 months. Yes I know you can drink it at 2 weeks but at 5 months it is so much smoother!
My favourite bottle is the 500 ml glass bottle, just by the way The Home Vintnter is an exclusive distributor in Western Canada of this product. Easily capped I created this label for the bottle. Now I wait for the moment to taste the first bottle.
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