Homebrew: In The Pink

Submitted by DM on Wed, 14/06/2017 - 11:44

I found some jars of sour cherries in Lidl & had to have them to make a beer with.   While it will have some resemblance to a Belgian Kriek, it is not soured with wild yeasts or bacteria.   The sourness will come from acid malt predominantly.In The Pink glass of beer

Mash: 1 hour 10 mins starting at 70°C & falling to 57°C at the end.

2 Kg pale malt

250g acid malt

150g crystal malt

Boil: 1 hour

10g Archer hops (5.0% alpha acid) added 30 mins before end of boil

700g of sour cherries that had been through a food blender added at flame out

The wort was chilled to 18°C.   The 660g of bright red syrup from the jars of cherries was poured straight into the fermenter along with Mangrove Jack's M44 yeast recovered from a previous brew & kept in the fridge for a few weeks.   The chilled wort was splashed through a colander & into the fermenter to aerate it.

The OG of the cooled wort was suprisingly 1.050, but I guess I underestimated how much sugar was in the syrup.   The gravity at bottling was 1.018 - higher than I was expecting.   This should give a beer of around 4.2% alcohol & around 4.3% once the priming sugar has carbonated it up.   The mash could have been better temperature controlled, but there must also be plenty of unfermentable sugars from the cherries too.   With the length & temperature of the fermentation this will be as low as it'll go.

Bottled after 8 days fermenting mostly at 20°C, but rising to 22°C  for the last 3 days with the summer temperatures reaching 28°C outside.

Verdict at bottling - disappointing.   The beer was still very turbid & not sour at all.   I really expected the acid malt to give it a sour bite, but it's just not there.   The cherry flavour is modest & I cannot detect any hop bitterness at this point. 

Hopefully when the beer has dried up a little more, cleared a little better, carbonated up & served chilled it will be very different.

This beer has dropped bright now, but some floating pieces of fruit remain in most bottles.   A good red colour.   The acid malt is coming through a little more now the beer is drying out, but still at a disappointingly low level.   It's not a bad beer, but has no oomph to make it stand out from a supermarket bought bottle.

Not bad though & worth the experiment.   Twice as much acid malt next time though.

This beer has suffered from a too warm fermentation period and has plenty of fruity esters.   The tang from the acid malt is just perceptible & I deliberately only put a tiny amount of hops in so it wouldn't distract from the cherry & sour flavours, so it's not surprising that I'm not tasting anything from them.

Disappointing since I've put the same amount of acid malt in another beer and it ended up nicely tart.   I guess there's no quantitative measure of sourness to sell acid malt by.

I've taken to rescuing this beer by adding lactic acid directly to the finished product.

This beer was saved by the addition of lactic acid (1ml per 100ml of beer approx of a 60% solution).   The estery-fruitiness is no longer n issue as it is balanced out by the strongly acid-sour taste of the lactic addition.   Now this is a refreshing, enjoyable drink.

An expensive way to save the beer, but not as expensive as throwing it away and brewing it again.   Next time I'll add much more acid malt.