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What is the best way to add cherry flavour to cider batch?

I previously tried adding whole mashed cherries to the carboy at the beginning of primary fermentation.

Would it have been been to first make a simple syrup with the cherries or to simple add cherry juice?

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All techniques you mention will work, e.g. juice, syrup or fresh fruits.

The only concern would be that you will have a fermented cherry flavor, which may not be the same as the fresh cherries you put in.

I would test multiple types of additions on smaller batches to make sure you like the final taste.

  • so would it be more ideal to add the cherries after primary is done to help lessen any off flavours from the cherries fermenting? – Liam22 Oct 23 '18 at 13:17
  • cherries will ferment either way, it will not produce an off flavour, but a different flavor from fresh cherries. It is noticeable that if cherries are known to ferment to a good flavour, some fruits ferment to less pleasant flavours. – JeanMi Oct 26 '18 at 8:59
  • I've used cherry juice as a priming solution for a wheat beer. It turned out very nice. The cherry flavor was very subtle, so it isn't the way to go if you want a prominent cherry taste, but it gave the beer a wonderful color. – Dave Oct 27 '18 at 14:57
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I second JeanMi, fruit or syrup will work. Traditionally the Belgian brewers would add the cherries to the fermented beer then leave it in the conditioning tanks for 12 months as the cherries get eaten away by the yeast leaving only the stones. There are not many breweries left doing this but the results are spectacular.

Most of use now use fruit syrups, or fruit run through the blender. I often freeze my fruit to burst the cell walls and extract the flavours more rapidly.

Again as JeanMi rightly worries, you will end up with fermented cherry flavour, but to my mind that is a wonderful thing.

I am not sure we can precisely answer your question as 'Best' is very subjective. Most traditional is to add whole cherries and wait, most rapid is to take a blender and make a cherry syrup. It totally depends if you desire speed or are a sucker of historical methods.

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