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FedoraDave

Used extract with the prime this time

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I bottled a new batch of Indy Cherry Wheat this morning. Instead of putting cherries in with the wort, I decided to use cherry extract added to the batch prime.

The sample I tasted from the final gravity reading before bottling was very good. A full-flavored wheat beer. It could stand on its own, really. And the aroma while I was bottling, with the priming sugar and cherry extract, seemed to be on target for the final product.

Since the label said to use 1-4 ounces for a 5 gallon batch, I figured 2 ounces would be okay. I had just over two gallons total; filled 23 bottles. If this works out, I'll stick with the extract at prime; adding half a can of cherries was an extra step in the brewing process that I'd just as soon not have to deal with.

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FedoraDave wrote:

I bottled a new batch of Indy Cherry Wheat this morning. Instead of putting cherries in with the wort, I decided to use cherry extract added to the batch prime.

The sample I tasted from the final gravity reading before bottling was very good. A full-flavored wheat beer. It could stand on its own, really. And the aroma while I was bottling, with the priming sugar and cherry extract, seemed to be on target for the final product.

Since the label said to use 1-4 ounces for a 5 gallon batch, I figured 2 ounces would be okay. I had just over two gallons total; filled 23 bottles. If this works out, I'll stick with the extract at prime; adding half a can of cherries was an extra step in the brewing process that I'd just as soon not have to deal with.

Dave, I would like to try and use a couple of extracts to get some knowledge on different flavors. Just bottle prime a bottle here and there to get ideas if you will. Did you have to adjust your sugar(or honey I think you generally use)amount? I think a lot of the extracts are sweetened right? Thanks

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Let us know how it goes Mr Fedora......I wanna try that too instead of actual cherries. I love me some sammies cherry wheat.....is yours better?

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I've been very unsatisfied with fruit extracts. They seem to have a character that just seems....I don't quite know,--false. Every palate perceives flavors differently though so take that for what it's worth. Fruit extracts area certainly a lot easier to work with, and I have at least one batch using fruit extract planned for my wife. I'm going to try using a strawberry extract soon in a blonde ale; not enough to really be noticable as fruit character if I can help it, but rather to lend an estery aroma and hint of flavor that my victims won't quite be able to put their finger on. I'm thinking of around 20% of the extract's recommended dosage.

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I recently brewed a Raspberry wheat that I added real raspberries and raspberry extract as well. I still haven't tried any but I am pretty skeptical about the extract. I've heard they can give it a fake taste. But we'll see how it comes out. The fact yours tasted good Dave before bottling sounds like a good sign. Def let us know how it comes out.

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Header75 wrote:

Let us know how it goes Mr Fedora......I wanna try that too instead of actual cherries. I love me some sammies cherry wheat.....is yours better?

I wouldn't say it's better; that's too subjective. It's good, though. My niece liked it a lot when she tried some last summer. She said it was the best cherry wheat she's ever had, so take that for what it's worth.

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olorin wrote:

I've been very unsatisfied with fruit extracts. They seem to have a character that just seems....I don't quite know,--false. Every palate perceives flavors differently though so take that for what it's worth. Fruit extracts area certainly a lot easier to work with, and I have at least one batch using fruit extract planned for my wife. I'm going to try using a strawberry extract soon in a blonde ale; not enough to really be noticable as fruit character if I can help it, but rather to lend an estery aroma and hint of flavor that my victims won't quite be able to put their finger on. I'm thinking of around 20% of the extract's recommended dosage.

Time will tell if I prefer the extract to actual cherries. This is the first I've heard that they impart a false character to the fruit flavor. As you say, taste is completely subjective, so I may find myself perceiving it differently.

It could also be a matter of the type of extract vs the type of beer, too. Since a wheat is more robust than, say, a blonde ale, the maltiness might cover over the flaws in the cherry extract. A strawberry extract in a blonde ale might be more prominent. Who knows?

We'll get my verdict in a few weeks, when I taste my first bottle.

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Dave - I also used cherry extract with a 5 gal Witbier kit I bottled a week ago. I added it when I racked from my primary fermenter to the carboy then bottled 2 weeks later. When I tasted during bottling, there was just a hint of the cherry flavor (I used the entire 4oz bottle of extract). I can't say I noticed a 'false' flavor, but as it has been said, palettes are different. Since this was a BIG beer (7.7ABV), it is possible that aided in covering up any off flavors from the extract.

Rob - The extract I used (available at my LHBS) was non-fermentable so there was no need to adjust the priming sugar. This is exactly why I used the extract. I was worried about using real cherries and not knowing how to adjust the priming sugar (of if I even needed to). I haven't yet had bottle-bombs and didn't want to start now.

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pghFred wrote:

Dave - I also used cherry extract with a 5 gal Witbier kit I bottled a week ago. I added it when I racked from my primary fermenter to the carboy then bottled 2 weeks later. When I tasted during bottling, there was just a hint of the cherry flavor (I used the entire 4oz bottle of extract). I can't say I noticed a 'false' flavor, but as it has been said, palettes are different. Since this was a BIG beer (7.7ABV), it is possible that aided in covering up any off flavors from the extract.

Rob - The extract I used (available at my LHBS) was non-fermentable so there was no need to adjust the priming sugar. This is exactly why I used the extract. I was worried about using real cherries and not knowing how to adjust the priming sugar (of if I even needed to). I haven't yet had bottle-bombs and didn't want to start now.

Thanks Fred for the info. I had been wondering about that. I cracked open a blueberry/honey lager(not really a lager,the MrB Cowboy lager) I did last night and I'm a little disappointed. I used the Oregon blueberry,pureed it,and added it after 10 days to the fermenter. I was hoping by adding late some of the flavor would carry over but now it just tastes like a lager/wine dammit! I'm hoping if I let it sit longer I may notice a difference. I put one in the fridge after three weeks(carb/conditioning) so maybe it was a little early. Any thoughts guys?

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Hey FD...I'm curious if the MB Cherry Wheat is any where near the taste of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. My BB loves that stuff. I was going to try and make her a batch, but wasn't sure about the out come.

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beebee381 wrote:

Hey FD...I'm curious if the MB Cherry Wheat is any where near the taste of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. My BB loves that stuff. I was going to try and make her a batch, but wasn't sure about the out come.

I haven't had the MB Cherry Wheat; I've only brewed my own recipe.

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Ok well I think I will give it a try. Not too sure if I want to try the cherries. Might try the extract. Thanks

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beebee381 wrote:

Ok well I think I will give it a try. Not too sure if I want to try the cherries. Might try the extract. Thanks

I have two main problems with using the actual cherries at this point.

1) The can you get is designed for 5-gallon recipes. So I've had half a can of cherries go bad on me because I'm not going to brew two batches that quickly.

2) The Mr. Beer fermenters are bottom-drain, so there's a real danger of all that excess particulate clogging the spigot.

I'll be moving up to 5-gallon for some of my brews soon, so if I'm not that happy with the extract, I'd move back to the actual cherries, since I'll be siphoning and racking to a secondary from the top of the carboy.

But if I do like the extract, I'll scale it up for a 5-gallon batch.

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I wonder if you could possibly puree the cherries in the blender and then maybe run it through a screen or filter of some type to really keep the larger chunks out. Maybe a Mr Coffee filter? Thats alot of extra work though. The extract might be the way to go. Of course a larger brewing system would help too.

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Yeah, my first thought on reading your response was, "That's a lot of work." Also, when you think about it, removing some of the larger particulate matter means you're removing some of the flavor.

There are other ways to use the fruit, too, if I were really set on it. A large grain bag would keep most of the particles from escaping and clogging things up, I suppose. But there again, it's a little extra work.

Really, I hope I'm pleased with what the extract brings, because it's definitely an easier way to go. And I imagine a lot of brewers use it and like it, or it wouldn't pay for the suppliers to keep it in stock, and they have lots of extracts available for flavoring.

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beebee381 wrote:

I wonder if you could possibly puree the cherries in the blender and then maybe run it through a screen or filter of some type to really keep the larger chunks out. Maybe a Mr Coffee filter? Thats alot of extra work though. The extract might be the way to go. Of course a larger brewing system would help too.

beebee381 I made Chocolate Covered Cherries a while back and followed the MB directions to sanitize the blender, pour in the can of Oregon cherries and puree them before adding them to the MB fermenter. I then aerated the wort, pitched the yeast and fermented for 21 days before bottling. I always prop up the spigot end of the keg with 2 plastic CD cases and that works to keep the trub away from the spigot and out of my bottles.

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Good idea Screwy. Tipping the keg a bit. I was looking at that Chocolate Covered Cherry recipe. I think I'm going to try the Cherry Wheat and the Chocolate Cherry. I can't wait to hear what FD thinks about the extract.

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I second Screwy's technique of tilting the front of the keg back a little during fermentation. It just makes sense, and you can get more of the wort and less of the trub in your final product.

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beebee381 wrote:

I wonder if you could possibly puree the cherries in the blender and then maybe run it through a screen or filter of some type to really keep the larger chunks out. Maybe a Mr Coffee filter? Thats alot of extra work though. The extract might be the way to go. Of course a larger brewing system would help too.

I tried a similar method on my cherry wheat that is currently in the fermenter. I pureed the cherries and then poured it through a cheese cloth, but I late decided to just toss it all in because the cheese cloth was filtering too much out. I will post again when my brew is finished to let you know how it turns out.

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Thanks Ztanner...I do want to hear how it turns out. I have several female friends who love the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. I'd like to make them a batch. I'm not crazy about the Cherry flavor in my beer, but I notice a lot of gals seem to like it. I'm also curious if the Chocolate Covered Cherries brew has a strong cherry taste.

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Ztanner the cheese cloth idea did sound like a good idea. I am looking forward to hear how yours and Fedora Dave's brew's turn out.

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I got good results from the last Cherry Wheat I made, and that one was with actual fruit added to the wort.

But if this current batch turns out pleasing, I'm chucking the cherries and using extract from now on for this.

My niece told me it was the best Cherry Wheat she'd tasted.

What I may do is get a sixer of Sammies CW and compare them.

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Sam Adams Cherry Wheat is pretty good. I can only take a few bottle though, before I have to have some sort of non-fruit beer. I'd like to see how the Sammies compare to your brew FD.

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I tasted my first one today. Pretty good, I'd say. One thing I noticed is that it's a much clearer brew than the previous ones, with actual cherries added. A very pretty color.

The taste wasn't disappointing at all. I didn't notice a "phony" cherry flavor, just a nice hint of the fruit that didn't get in the way of the beer itself.

I think my brother is coming over tomorrow to watch some football, and I'll get his opinion. I think I'll pick up a sixer of Sam Adams CW so we can do side-by-side comparisons.

But using extract at prime instead of the fruit itself might be the wave of the future for Indy Cherry Wheat.

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I tried the first bottle of my cherry wheat about a week ago, but it needs some more time. I think that this is largely in part to the fact that I used the whole can of cherries and I should have used half a can. Also, I probably should have used slightly less honey too. Even with these mistakes, I think it will be a very good beer after a couple months. The malt - abjunct ratio is within means so it just needs some time to age. Cherry flavor is very pronounced and in your face, but also somewhat cidery tones that I expect will condition out.

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Yes, it sounds like it would need a bit of extra conditioning for all the undesirable flavors to work out, and for everything to blend.

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