When I found out that Amy’s parents had a sour cherry tree I knew there was only one thing to do. I had to make a beer. When I found out that Amy’s Mom had recently begun drinking wine coolers for the first time since having children, that beer took shape. How could I make a cherry beer taste like a cherry wine cooler?
I don’t know that I achieved the sweetness of wine coolers with this beer, but the cherry is definitely the dominant flavor. I decided to divide the frementables evenly three ways. They are, by weight, one third barley, one third wheat and one third honey. This is an extract beer with no steeping grains and the wheat extract I used was 50/50 barley and wheat. I added half of that amount of honey, more than double that weight of cherries and a very small amount of hops and fermented it with weizen yeast.
Okay, to be more specific, I used three pounds of DME, a pound and a half of honey and seven pounds of cherries. The cherries were frozen and I added them at flameout which facilitated a very quick chilling of the four gallons of wort.
I kept the cherries in through primary fermentation, about five days, then racked the beer into secondary and away from the floating fruit. The cherries were already drained of most of their color, letting me know that they had given their goodness to the beer.
After a short secondary, I bottled the beer, which had taken on a nice, slightly pink hue. We had Amy’s parents over for dinner a few weeks later and I served them the beer. Her Dad later commented to Amy that it tasted more like those things her Mom drank than beer. I guess that’s a success?
This was a tasty beer and I have recently uncovered a few bombers in a forgotten case, so there will be tasting notes soon. I hope I can ahold of more of those cherries this Summer to make something new, too.
Very Neat Cherry Wheat
Style: Wheat Beer with Honey and Cherries
Brew Date: July 2012
Serve Date: August
ABV: 5% (approximately, not sure of the sugar content of the cherries)
3 lb Wheat DME
1.5 lb Clover Honey, added to chilled wort
1 oz Hersbucker @ 60 min
7 lb of Sour Cherries, frozen and added at flameout
Danstar Windsor Weizen Yeast