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Monday, August 30, 2010
Have I ruined a perfectly good homebrewed stout?
The answer to the title is still unknown. The jury will be out for at least a week, I suppose. Gotta let the cherries do their thing with the yeast (or actually, vice versa, right?) In the meantime, thought you might like to see a few pictures. Or, at least one particular person is interested in the cherries and these pictures. After the beer spent 6.5 days in the primary fermenter, it seemed time to move it to the secondary glass carboy fermenter where I could watch the fermenting cherry action. The original gravity was spot on 1.100 and after almost a week in a 70-74 degree room, two packets of dry yeast brought the gravity down to right around 1.030. The fermentation had begun in less than 12 hours and last for around 40-42 hours. This attenuation, Adam tells me, was a pretty good one and resulted in a hearty stout weighing in at around 9.5% ABV. Then, I had to open up those darned frozen cherries. They were fresh last August from a Berks County farm, but I knew I wouldn't use them quickly enough, so into the freezer they went. Now they've made their debut. Let's see now. What have I learned? I've learned, first off, that these fresh cherries will not only have pits (duh, I knew that), but there will also be small twigs, leaves, and stems as well. When I decided not to pit the cherries before tossing them into the carboy, I knew that I would have to somehow break the skin of the cherries so that the beer could better and more quickly get to work on the sugars contained therein. This turned into a project of taking small handfuls of cherries from the freezer bags, picking out stems and whatnot, and squashing them in my hands to break their skins before tossing them through the funnel--all ten pounds of them I also learned that it would have been much kinder on my hands to have allowed the cherries to come closer to room temperature before handling them instead of moving them from the freezer to the refrigerator overnight to immediately using them first thing in the morning. Then, it was on to the transferring of the beer from the bucket to the carboy on top of the cherries. Actually, the third thing that I learned was that a full five gallons of beer and ten pounds of cherries will fit into a six gallon carboy with no problem. Within minutes, there were little bubbles forming around some of the cherries that had already floated to the top. By the time I put the airlock on more apparent fermentation had begun and in less than two hours, the airlock began slowly "burping". By the time 24 hours had passed, the airlock was burping every five seconds, or so, and everything appeared okay.....for now.... Now it's just a matter of time to see what the introduction of these cherries will do to what was seeming like a perfectly good chocolate imperial stout.
p.s. Laziness got the better of me and I decided not to re-shoot nor try to edit the video that you see here. Sorry, just turn your head if you really care to watch this most boring video. Hint--not even the cats find it interesting to sit and watch the fermenting action!