So I have 25 lbs of cherries in my freezer... Well, I had 25 lbs of cherries until I took these 5 easy steps that put those little stone fruits to excellent use! The Cherry: Prunus avium is the sweet kind and Prunus cerasus is the sour kind. Try to use the sour kind for fermenting. Oh, and treat them with Pectic Enzyme per the method described below. Here's what I recommend to those of you with 25 lbs of cherries to burn:
Step 1: Brew 5 gallons of a Dry Stout and dump 5 lbs of your cherries into the secondary fermenter. 6 lbs Crisp Maris Otter 2 lbs flaked barley 1 lbs Simpsons roasted barley 1.5 oz Cluster hops (60 min) 5 lbs cherries* (treated with pectinase, added to secondary fermenter) 1 vial White Labs WLP022 Essex Ale yeast 6 weeks of waiting
Step 2: Make 3 gallons of a melomel using Ames Farm honey and 9 lbs of your cherries. 4 lbs Ames Farm honey 5 lbs cherries* (treated with pectinase, added to primary fermenter) 4 lbs cherries* (treated with pectinase, added to secondary fermenter) 1 sachet Lalvin D-47 1 sachet Lalvin 1122 6-12 months of waiting
Step 3: Modify Dawson's Kriek and put in 6 lbs of your cherries instead of Oregon puree. 7 lbs Rahr 2-row malt 3 lbs Rahr White Wheat malt 6 lbs cherries* (treated with pectinase, added to secondary fermenter) lots and lots of waiting
Step 4: Make "Cherry Bounce" with 5 lbs of your cherries. 4 cups bourbon 3-4 cups sugar 5 lbs cherries* 4 months of waiting
Step 5: Use the "wasted" cherries in some homemade ice cream, yogurt, marinades, and fruit salad.
(Cherry BBQ Marinade (Great for pork!) 0.5 cups honey 0.25 cups ketchup 2 tbsp soy sauce 1 cup "wasted" cherries 2 cloves garlic (thinly sliced))
*Preparing The Cherries: You'll want your cherries frozen and thawed and stoned (some folks say "pitted" but there are no pits in cherries because they are stone fruits). And you'll want to treat your cherries with Pectic Enzyme before you ferment them.
As our website states, Pectic Enzyme physically destroys pectins, which constitute the "fleshy" part of most fruits. It will break down the pulp, making pressing more efficient and will aid in the extraction of tannin from the skins. It can also slake pectin haze. It does it's best work at 113-131 degrees F within a pH of 4.5-5.5, so add a gallon of liquid that isn't just water (use your beer if you are making a fruit beer and use your honey if making a melomel) to your fruit and 0.5 tsp pectic enzyme.
Heat to 122 degrees F. Hold it at 122 degrees F for 45-60 minutes without stirring. Don't worry about driving off alcohol or ruining your beer/mead/bourbon/whatever. Alcohol boils at 174 degrees, so you won't lose it. And the vapor heat will keep a few molecules of gaseous water between oxygen in the air and the surface of your beer.
Reserving the squeezed solids for Step 5, return the entire liquid portion to the fermenter (cool it first). Related fruits include plum, apricot, and peach (so you can use your 25 lbs of these fruits in a similar fashion).