I had a Belgian Dubbel in primary about two weeks, ending up with a gravity of 1.016. Then 3 days ago I racked onto 5.5 lbs of cherries, leaving the yeast cake behind.

I expected the residual yeast to cause additional fermentation and generate CO2, along with bubbling through airlock. I measured the gravity at 1.014, but that seems within the margin of error.

This is my first fruit beer: is this progressing as it should, or should I add more yeast to advance fermentation?

  • Did you prep the cherries? By freezing or cutting? If not, there may not be any sugar in the beer or cherry flavor. – Evil Zymurgist Oct 13 at 13:09
  • Yes, the cherries were prepped by removing the pits and freezing them in ziplock bags. Then I boiled them (190 degrees) in the ziplock bags to sanitize. So they were reasonably broken down after that. – Sboisen Oct 13 at 14:58
  • then I'm sure it did ferment the fruit. You probably just missed the activity. – Evil Zymurgist Oct 13 at 18:16

The fruit very likely has sugar, so it will cause fermentation to kick-off again when added, thus producing CO2. Obviously not with the same vigour as primary fermentation - although if you added a lot of fruit, maybe. Is the yeast able to get into the fruit? The skins are fairly tough for yeast, so will need to be broken somewhat. I typically mush my fruit a little with a potato masher (or slice - depends on the type of fruit).

I wouldn't be too concerned about the airlock not bubbling - this is mostly an indication that it's not perfectly sealed somehow. Or maybe it's going slowly, and you've not witnessed the odd bubble.

One other thing I would like to add - when I've added fruit to beers, sometimes it doesn't taste so good until it's been conditioning for a while. For example: A friend made a raspberry stout, and it was OK after a month or so, but after 3 months it was very nice indeed. So if at first the flavour is not pleasing, just wait.

Cherry dubbel sounds like a good mix BTW.

  • 2
    If it's in a bucket then I find the lids often don't seal well and thus CO2 escapes without creating bubbles in the airlock – David Liam Clayton Oct 10 at 16:30
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    It's also good to remember that the sugar in fruit won't be as easily available because it is locked inside the fruit, so fermentation will be slower due to this. – Robert Zormeir Oct 11 at 17:39
  • I used the extract version of this recipe: homebrewersassociation.org/homebrew-recipe/cherry-dubbel – Sboisen Oct 13 at 15:00
  • @Robert Zormeir: Sorry, I didn't get your comment. What do you mean by "locked inside the fruit" ? :) – rondonctba Oct 26 at 20:57

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