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I am about to get together the ingredients for making a cherry stout. I am going to add the cherries at flameout, but I have no clue how much to add. I want there to be a solid cherry taste in the stout. I also don't want to misjudge the amount of sugar the fruit will add, since I don't want my stout to end up too strong (ABV wise).

How much cherries should I add?

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3 Answers

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My take on this type of question is that you aren't going to get it right the first time, so don't over think it. If you want to make a "perfect" fruit beer on the first try I say make a great stout and add cherry extract at bottling time.

If you are prepared to deal with the unpredictable, then I would not worry about the sugars in the fruit yet. Just make the best damn stout you can and add smashed up cherries at flame out. The contribution of sugar from one pound of fruit is going to increase the final ABV by less than 1% point. Its closer to a half of a point. So don't worry about it.

I'd recommend at least 3 quarts of cherries, maybe even 4 quarts. I think that sweet cherries have a slightly better aromatic quality for beer, but that's just me.

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So for a base stout for the beer, what would you recommend for ingredients? I'd like it to be a somewhat malty and smooth stout, a little chocolaty. I was thinking .25lbs Black Patent, .5lbs CaraPils, .75lbs American Chocolate, .5lbs American Crystal 80L, .75lbs Roasted Barley, 1.0lbs Flaked Barley, 7.0lbs American Two-row Pale. Based on this recipe: tastybrew.com/newrcp/detail/203 Using the tasty brew calculator, that should leave my beer with 56.2 gravity points. Will that recipe work? Will it give it enough color/flavor? –  bfrederi May 7 '10 at 15:41
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For a definite cherry flavor, you should be using a sour cherry which will have less simple sugars and more unfermentables. Sweet cherries will ferment out dry and will add to your ABV disproportionate to flavor.

A pound of cherries can have no more than 1 pound of sugars, obviously. When using simple sugars, i.e. brown sugar or molasses, etc about a half pound is at the brink of tolerable for an ale by my taste. Based on the above, my guess would be about a pound, pitted, and softened in a saucepan, less if you're feeling conservative.

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I like the comment about 1 pound of fruit can't have more than one pound of sugar. I suppose from there then you could get the generic nutritional info on cherries (or any fruit) and use the carbohydrate level and grams of fruit to get a rough %age of sugar in the fruit. Nice. –  brewchez May 6 '10 at 12:41
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I have no idea on this one.. I'm actually going to ask a question for determining potential gravity of adjuncts. For now, unless someone has a good answer, I'd say see what other recipes are saying online, and build off that. If it's too strong, go lower, and vice versa.

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My question about determining gravity of adjuncts: brewadvice.com/questions/1285/… –  hookedonwinter May 5 '10 at 21:29
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