Sunday, 15 July 2012

Where do all the Cherries go?

Hi all,
My family & I have just returned from a two week break at our Apartment in SW Turkey. At this time of Year the Monday market is full of trays of cherries. I would like to buy them all but limited myself to a 2 KG bag. As i am shameless here's a barefaced plug for my apartment!

Highly unlikely that anyone reading this will ask me about it which is a shame as its a fantastic chilled place to be in.

Anyway, i destalked the cherries this morning and gave them a warm water wash over to remove dirt and hopefully keep any Turkish yeasts onboard the skins.

The first batch to have the cherries is a Apple & Pear Cider spiced with Three vanilla pods i picked up at the spice market in Dubai at Christmas.

Theres nothing fancy about the making of the cider. Its bog standard cartoned apple juice, tinned pears (two of). If there is any magic here it is in the quality of the vanilla pods (still dripping pure vanilla essence) and the yeast combination which is Burton WLP023(highly sulphurous) and Brett C(A wild Edge).

I removed a small amount of the cider for tasting tonight and poured in the cherries. I took a few photos of the plastic FV as previous experience has shown a radical change in colour of the beer/cider once the yeast goes to work on the cherry skins.

I will update with photos as the colour changes in the cider.

The second batch is a 8.2 to 9% (i lost track) Solera of Belgian golden ale, Apricot soaked Saison, and Russian Imperial stout. Its had been on a couple of kilos of figs for a year or so and has at least 5 yeast varieties in it (Duvel, Dupont, Chimay, US-05, Brett C) and whatever wild yeasts were present on the figs and on the newly introduced cherries.

I introduced some cocoa powder to the beer 1/2 a year or so ago. When i removed the airlock there was an immediate smell of oranges and chocolate and a note of a liquer. Looking into the neck of the FV i could see a chocolate plug had formed.

I sterilised a kebab skewer (did you notice that Turkish influence there)? and popped the chocolate plug. I have decanted by siphon one pint of this beer. Half to go into a steak and ale pie and the other half to be tried by Myself and Mrs I.
I then hit a small problem, it takes time to get cherries into a FV through a restricted hole!

Once that was done i could take time to truly enjoy what i can only describe as 'yeast strata' at the bottom of the FV.

Yeah i know,total beer geek but lets be honest, how often will i get the chance to observe yeast stratification with background cherries? :)

You would think that after getting on for two years in the making that there wouldn't be much activity in a beer? Well, after the introduction of the cherries this beer started releasing CO2 like crazy within 5 minutes of the first cherry going in. I assume it's being released from solution and not a sign of ferocious reawakening yeast, it was impressive to see nonetheless. To truly stamp myself with beer geekness i hereby admit that i took a video of said CO2 release. How geek are you, Let's see shall we? Will you watch it? :)

So that's what i did the day after my holidays! I am really enjoying my adventures into the world of wild beer making, its great fun and allows a good bit more creativity than the 'standard' realm of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The link below will take you to a brewing book that really opened my eyes to the different directions we can go in brewing if the mood takes us.

Lastly, I was free associating in my head while my hands were doing their work today and i realised that this beer should be a hit with the ladies. It's dark and mysterious, it has chocolate, ripe figs, apricots and for the killer sex fruit its got cherries in it and a touch of the exotic about it which led (eventually) through the wonder of free association to the name 'Dark Sin'. I'll have to find an art deco black and white picture to go with the name nearer bottling time.
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