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christmas ale

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I plan on brewing up some christmas ale. 1 quick question on the cherries. Do I add the syrup AND pureed cherries or just the cherries.

Thnx.

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Guest System Admin

Puree it all. The better you puree it the less in suspension when time to bottle. I ground all the spices in a small coffee/spice grinder.

I just cold crashed my batch today. Will probably bottle on Monday/Tuesday. It smells and tastes great.

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Another quick question, what size of a can / jar does anyone recommend. I wouldn't want to overpower anything with too much cherry mix. The reciepe doesn't say how much to add.

Thanks everyone!

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One can of OREGON Cherries in water. Available at wal mart and krogers. Puree like crazy.
I also like to add a couple drops of cherry extract to each bottle.

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I had read a post before that the "cherry flavor" never really came thru with just one can. Well, maybe aroma, but not any flavor. I have a Cherry Wheat fermenting now and I used 2 pureed cans after primary fermentation (about 1 week). I have also thought about adding an extract (as mentioned above) at bottling time - gonna taste first and see.

Cheers!
:chug:


P.S. There are 3 types of Oregon Canned Cheeries: Sweet, Tart and Rainer

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The Oregon Cherries you want are the Dark Sweet Cherries in Light Syrup ... NOT the pie cherries. The only store in my area is Albertson's and Walmart. Here is a Walmart link:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Oregon-Fruit-Products-Pitted-Dark-Sweet-Bing-Cherries-In-Heavy-Syrup-15-oz/15673619

If you are going to cold crash here is what I recommend to crash to:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Arrow-H2O-2.5-Gal-Slimline-Beverage-Dispenser-Blue/15915151

I use the bottling wand from the LBK to the slimline. When you put the slimline in the fridge, put about a 1/4" lift on the front. That way the sediment will settle in the back and no problem at bottling. Two slim CD cases work gerat.

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Hi all this thread brought up a couple of questions for me.

First - adding the cherries during fermenting (a week or two in). I thought once closed, you don't open the LBK at all? Won't this mess things up somehow? Infections?

Also on cold-crashing. I thought you just moved the LBK to a fridge or cooler. Now that I see what a "slim-line" is (seen it in several threads but thought it was something much more exotic) - it looks like you are recommending moving from the LBK to this for a couple of days of cold crashing before bottling? Is that to further reduce the sediment you get? And it allows you to start with the next LBK batch that much sooner? Trying to think like a beer pro here :)

I don't see any downside to cold crashing, and as such I am setting up my That 70's Fridge to store LBKs or slimlines in addition to my beers that I will be cooling for a couple weeks before moving to indoor fridge (consumption range). Also on the cold crashing - is that done prior to "batch priming? In conjunction with? Are you guys moving fermented beer to slimline for a few days, cleaning out the LBK then waiting a couple days, moving it back into the LBK with some priming solution, then bottling?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Cheers
jeff

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Guest System Admin

If your are brewing the recipe you puree the cherries and add to the wort, before you pitch the yeast. If you want to add a second can, you can do that at about 7-10 days. Just open the top, pour in the puree slowly and close. Risk of infection is low, if you sanitized well, as the fermentation process creates CO2 which being heavier than air creates a blanket over the wort.

Cold crashing is kind of a personal thing. If you have adjuncts such as cherries, berries, or dry hop, I have found it nice to cold crash to a slimline. That way you don't clog the bottling wand ... been there, done that. Crashing helps to drop out yeast and the other stuff in suspension, clarifying a bit sooner. Don't worry, there will be plenty of yeast to carb.

You bottle from the slimline, and if you batch prime you will do it here, also. Batch prime after the crash and you are ready to bottle.

I cold crash everything. No problems so far.

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OK so you batch prime from the slimline or IN the slimline after the cold crash? YOu do move everything from the slim line into another container to batch prime? just trying to figure out the chain, how many containers/changes are involved etc. My first two LBKs are only 8 days into fermenting, but I have another on the way. Trying to figure out if I need to save taht one for batch priming, if I need to buy several of the slimlines (one for cold crash, another for batch prime, for each LBK) or if when the other LBK arrives I can go ahead and get started on the next batch to kind of stagger things.

I still have two weeks before I have to worry about bottling, and I can always just prime each bottle this first time out as well. It could be thereaputic :) That said - I want to learn the basic but I also want to do things the best/easiest/most efficient way so that I can maximize my time, and the enjoyment of the hobby :)

Cheers
jeff

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Plow -

I just brewed mine a few weeks ago. The cherries came with the recipe if you ordered them off the Mr. Beer site. Just open the can, puree them in the blender, and add the whole thing to the wort.

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Batch prime to the slimline. Before you use your slimline, if using a bottling wand, make sure it fits. I had to ream out the spigot just a tad so that the wand would insert without the use of a hammer :P I like the wand method as there is no oxygenation in the transfer. I keep the tip on, but if careful so not to let it bubble, you could leave it off. Especially, if you don't crash and have a lot of puree, hops or ... in suspension that might clog the tip.

I still bottle prime. May try a batch prime in a near batch.

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Manowarfan1 wrote:

Hi all this thread brought up a couple of questions for me.

First - adding the cherries during fermenting (a week or two in). I thought once closed, you don't open the LBK at all? Won't this mess things up somehow? Infections?

Also on cold-crashing. I thought you just moved the LBK to a fridge or cooler. Now that I see what a "slim-line" is (seen it in several threads but thought it was something much more exotic) - it looks like you are recommending moving from the LBK to this for a couple of days of cold crashing before bottling? Is that to further reduce the sediment you get? And it allows you to start with the next LBK batch that much sooner? Trying to think like a beer pro here :)

I don't see any downside to cold crashing, and as such I am setting up my That 70's Fridge to store LBKs or slimlines in addition to my beers that I will be cooling for a couple weeks before moving to indoor fridge (consumption range). Also on the cold crashing - is that done prior to "batch priming? In conjunction with? Are you guys moving fermented beer to slimline for a few days, cleaning out the LBK then waiting a couple days, moving it back into the LBK with some priming solution, then bottling?

Inquiring minds want to know.
Cheers
jeff


Ok, first of all, you have lots of questions here! In the future, you should ask in a separate thread instead of "hi-jacking" someone else's thread. As long as we're here though, I'll do my best to answer these.

First and foremost, you need to sanitize your blender when pureeing those cherries (I don't believe this was mentioned yet). The cherries will not be boiled and even though they have been pasteurized, your blender/food processor has not and you don't want to risk infection, right?

Next, it is okay (for a handful of reasons) to open your LBK. A fistful of wild yeast and bacteria will not immediately attack your LBK if it is opened for just a moment. MB is cautious about this and they mostly want to make sure you aren't just opening the LBK to look at it for no good reason. If you are adding dry hops or additional flavorings/sugars to your brew, it is OK as long as you are cautious and everything is well sanitized (wash your hands!).

As far as cold-crashing, you can indeed just place your entire LBK into the refrigerator, but as it was mentioned if there are a lot of particles like fruit or extra hops, it may help to move your beer to what is referred to as a secondary fermenter. This could be a fresh LBK or a slimline (though the slimline containers are clear and should be kept away from sun or fluorescent lighting as this can skunk your beer).

As for batch priming, you should not add a priming solution (basically simple syrup) to your beer until you are ready to bottle. If you were to add it and then cold condition, some of the yeast might eat it and you'd lose the carb (or blow up your slim-line) and it would defeat the purpose.

FYI - cold-crashing, batch priming and secondary fermenters (slimline or 2nd LBK) basically have little to do with each other other than theoretically helping your beer out a bit. They should be thought of as separate processes, though all will require you to continue the wonderful sanitation habits I'm SURE you have already employed.

If you intend to pick up some slim-lines, they are cheaper and just as good at acting as a cold-crashing or batch priming vessel than an LBK. You can't ferment in a slim-line (or I should say it isn't recommended) so save your LBK's for that.

And finally, WELCOME TO THE OBSESSION! I hope this has been helpful. Don't stop asking questions. We're here to help.

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Wow - am I glad I asked about the slimlines. First off, I hadn't considered the whole "clear" thing. I guess it shouldn't be a problem for cold crashing, as theoretically the light in the fridge goes out when you close the door, but can you ever really be sure :)

It would be a couple bucks cheaper than each LBK, and they are available immediately at WallyWorld so I think I will pick a couple up. That way - as soon as I transfer fermented brew from LBK I can start it cleaning/sanitizing and get ready to get another batch rolling in the LBK. Might be able to get by with just the 3 LBKs to start with this way.

So, tomorrow after work pick up a couple of slimlines at Wallyworld (hopefully my MrB refill kits will have been delivered to store at same time). Saturday after making our batch of beer at microbrewery, pick up the autosiphon/flex hose. Things are starting to come together. I have started saving the glass bottles from store boughts now rather than tossing/recycling, have 16 of the 1L PET.

Now the hard part - waiting the full 3 weeks of fermenting before bottling. For once the beer gods are working with me as opposed to against me. Since I will have company this weekend, the last thing on my mind will be bottling beer :)

Thanks for the advice all
Cheers
jeff

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Hi Everyone, I'm going to start this afternoon, 1 quick question, the recipe does not call for the booster. Should I add it or not?
Thanks for your help

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plowhandle44 wrote:

Hi Everyone, I'm going to start this afternoon, 1 quick question, the recipe does not call for the booster. Should I add it or not?
Thanks for your help

Hi plowhandle44!

Welcome!

It would be helpful to know what else you are planning to use in the brew...

For example, if you are just using one 1.21 lb can of Mr. Beer HME, you would be right on the edge from the standpoin of malt to adjunt ratio.

(If you haven't already, read the Simple Guidelines which explains the malt adjunct ratio guide on the New Brewers discussion)

In that case, you coud back down the booster by a couple of ounces, or use it all and give it a bit more time to condition.

If using two cans of Mr. Beer, then you're ok for the whole bag.

In either case, be sure to ferment for about 21 days, then prime and bottle, keep at room temp in the bottle for 2 weeks ( i like 3-4 weeks), then refridgerate at least 2 days before drinking.... Good Beer!


PS: Keep your fermentation temps around 66-70*F if you can... Don't want it getting too hot as it will produce off flavors and possibly kill your yeast! Too cool for an Ale and the yeast will go to sleep.

Happy Brewin'! :)

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Hi Everyone,
Thanks for the advice. Just finished. Smells good. Can't wait til Christmas to give it a try.
Signing off!

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Guest System Admin

Don't worry about the slimlines being clear if using them for cold crashing. Cold crashing is done in the refrigerator ... it gets pretty dark in there when you close the door ... NO light, NO skunk.

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Well... bad news gents. I just started bottling and took a small taste. There is a small vinegar taste and it's a little bitter. Smells good though. I'm going to let it condition for the next month. Hopefully it will smooth out for Christmas.

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Merry Christmas everyone,it's the day after Christmas and I'm happy to report that the Christmas Beer came out OK. I guess that month of contitioning really smoothed out the flavor. Had the whole family over for Christams. In-Laws, kids and grandson. Everyone had a glass ( except the grandson ) and said how good it was. They all had a different opinion on the first then subsequent flavors, ginger, cinnamon, clove or almond. The cherri puree was always an after taste though.

Thanks for everyones help,
signing off.

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