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I am going to make a dry amber ale beer that is low in alcohol, but am thinking about adding a hint of cherry flavor to it. I am unsure if I should use a cherry extract or real cherries. If I use real cherries should I use sweet cherries or tart? Also I want to maintain the dryness of the beer. the recipe I am using is

  • 3lb muntons amber DME
  • 1lb briess golden light DME
  • Safale US-05
  • some roasted barley for color
  • and some cara belgian for light caramel.
  • I have not decided on the hops - maybe some Perle, or Willamette.
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Sour cherries would probably be best. The sourness fades, but they won't add any sweet flavours, so the beer should stay dry. If you go with an extract, be very careful to add a tiny amount, mix it in, and then sample it. It's easy to use too much and ruin it. Underestimating the strength of an extract is a common mistake, but if you are careful, the results can be excellent. –  FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Dec 7 '13 at 5:13
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I strongly advise against using a cherry extract. They are notorious for contributing that "cough syrup" cherry flavor. –  LoganGoesPlaces Dec 7 '13 at 5:39
    
I like brewing with fruit quite a bit and if you ask me variety can add a lot of character. Get some of both sweet and sour cherries to get as much of a well rounded cherry flavor as you can. Personally I like a more sour note to my cherry beer (kriek for example) so I'd go heavier on that type. –  LoganGoesPlaces Dec 7 '13 at 5:42
    
I have had good luck with, and continue to use ~68 brix cherry juice concentrate. It is available in both tart and sweet varieties. I find it easier to work with than whole fruits. –  nofunsally Dec 10 '13 at 0:07
    
What makes this "dry"? –  Wyrmwood Jan 20 at 19:48

3 Answers 3

I'm new to this forum--just discovered it today, still feeling my way around--but thought I'd add a comment: my absolute first choice would be cherries, not extract, but cherries are rich in pectin, the protein that makes fruit jellies gel. It could leave a protein haze that would be a long time clearing, if it ever did. Wouldn't hurt the taste, only the looks. Protein hazes can be eliminated, in theory anyhow, by papain or some other protein-digesting enzyme. You may find proprietary brands at your local winemaking supply store. They're more likely to carry them than your homebrew supplier. Cheers!

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I have not used this product as of yet, so I can not give it a true recommendation but I remember looking into it a little while back to potentially use in a kriek style ale and it may work for you:

Cascade tart cherry candi syrup http://morebeer.com/products/cascade-beer-candi-syrup-morebeer-tart-cherry.html?a_aid=Brewing

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I've used tart cherry juice concentrate in brewing, added after primary fermentation. I used one bottle (don't remember the size exactly--I believe 32 oz?) for a 5 gallon batch. It has natural sugars which you need to let ferment out for a few weeks so you don't make bottle bombs.

It added a nice, relatively subtle cherry taste without being overwhelming. Due to the tartness I think it would pair better with a maltier recipe--brown ale for example, not 100% dry.

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