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I laid out the recipe in the original post, however, in the end, I realized that I was unprepared for the cherry portion.  According to Randy Mosher, regular cherries don’t hold up, you want to go with sour/tart cherries.  Did you know that fresh cherries are available only in the summer?  If so, you’re more aware than I am.  Makes sense, though.  So, where do I go in late January/early February?  2 options according to Googletron: frozen or concentrate.  I chose concentrate and ordered Tart is Smart on Amazon (around $30).

tart is smart

My hope was to not produce a “cherry bomb.”  I’m aiming this porter at a fruity “complexity”.  Forums didn’t point me towards anything definitive – only amounts that were deemed too strong (over 48 oz).  I landed on a mix that worked out to 28 oz. for the 5 gallon batch (added after 7 days).  Important note, if you try this, active fermentation will kick up again.  I don’t know why I didn’t expect it but I came back 4 hours later to find my carboy (sans blow off tube) oozing beer and bubblely gunk all over the closet.  Anyways, I added that blow off tube and let it go for another 2 weeks.  Following that period of time, I found the remaining cherry-flavor to be more-or-less spot on for my intentions.

As for the whiskey portion, the original plan was to soak whatever cherries were added in Jack Daniels. When I decided on the concentrate, this idea went out the window.  So, I went with the backup plan being simply adding the whiskey at bottling.  After some testing, I arrived at 1 2/3 cups of whiskey for the batch.  My target CO2 amount was 2.1 atmospheres and required .42 cups of white sugar.

The result, at bottling, had a flavor possibly reminiscent of a barrel-aged Old Ale.  I wasn’t quite expecting this but, given all the pieces, it makes complete sense. And honestly, I’m very ok with how the brew tastes at this stage.  Now, I just hope the CO2 level will not crash the party.

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