sweet cherries vs tart

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reeflections

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I have read here that tart cherries were best for wine but I never saw a reason besides the cough syrup taste of sweet cherries. I wasn't afraid of that taste cuz I kinda like it, plus I figured if ABV and sweetness was kept to a minimum it wouldn't be so bad. My mistake was to copy a successful recipe for 2 batches of tart and sweet mixed with a batch of plain sweet juice.

After reading, what I could understand anyway, this article, I realized how different the sugar and pH of these two types of cherries are. So it's back to mixing the two for me. Just started a 6 gal batch today.

This is an interesting article about cherries and other "soft fruit" that I think some of us fruit wine makers can benefit from.

 

Rice_Guy

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FYI
pie cherry 2014 to 2020 crop years, , , , primarily malic acid
pH 3.04 to 3.64, TA 1.71 to 2.19%, gravity 1.046 to 1.066

sweet cherry examples , , , primarily citric acid
ranier 2020 4.45/ 0.17%/ 1.109
ranier 2019 4.53/ 0.52%/ 1.106
bing 2019 4.38/ 0.73%/ 1,085
,,,, yup they are very different wines
 

Raptor99

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You can adjust the sugar and pH as necessary, so you can use either or both. I have made a batch of each, and I think that the tart cherries provide a much richer and more complex flavor. Some recipes blend the two, so for my tart cherry chocolate wine I used tart cherry concentrate but added 1 lb. of frozen sweet cherries.
 

Scooter68

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I am a fan of Tart Cherry wine but I did make some "Sweet Cherry" wine. It was still a blend but in this case I basically reversed the blend to 1 bottle of Sweet Cherry Juice concentrate and 1/2 bottle of Tart Cherry concentrate (1 Gallon Batch). The resulting wine has tartness to it but much less that my typical Tart Cherry which is 3 bottles of Tart Cherry concentrate and 1 bottle of Sweet Cherry concentrate for 3 gallons of wine. As far as drilling down to the contents of specific Cherry varieties, I'm not that sophisticated with my wine making.
Sadly I only have one cherry tree and it has never performed that well in producing fruit. Birds don't bother it too much but with as few cherries as it puts out, I normally don't bother even picking them unless I happen to be out there with ladder at the right time. Our sweet cherry trees - never had more than a handfull from them because the bird stripped the as soon as they had the first hint of pink on them. Eventually I just cut them down.
Personally I like the stronger wines in terms of flavor and ABV. So my favorite batch of Tart Cherry wine was bottled with an SG of 1.014 and 14.5% ABV. Basically a dessert wine. With the solid tartness and higher ABV, you the sweetness was only there at the finish. The tartness was what got your taste buds first. I shared it at a party once along with several of my others and found the most folks were put off by the tartness except for the hostess. She loved it so I made sure my wife took her a bottle next chance. (Hostess held the party at her house for 25-30 people and her hubby had ducked out on a business trip. Figured she deserved a reward.)
So Bottom line for me is I'll try various fruit wines but eventually I just end up making what I like and if others like it too, good for them otherwise - it's there loss.
 

Chuck E

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FYI
pie cherry 2014 to 2020 crop years, , , , primarily malic acid
pH 3.04 to 3.64, TA 1.71 to 2.19%, gravity 1.046 to 1.066

sweet cherry examples , , , primarily citric acid
ranier 2020 4.45/ 0.17%/ 1.109
ranier 2019 4.53/ 0.52%/ 1.106
bing 2019 4.38/ 0.73%/ 1,085
,,,, yup they are very different wines
My sister-in-law just dropped off 40 lbs. of tart Door County cherries. They're still frozen so I have no chemistry yet. I think I am going to shoot for a 4 gallon batch. What's a good target SG? I was thinking 1.08. Have you made this before?

C
 

Rice_Guy

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Yes I have run Montmercy cherry.
we are post harvest so I will guess that you have four ten pound tins which are pitted and have sugar added, the fourty pound square pail is a commercial ingredient most folks don’t see, ,,, mine aren’t sugared.
3D84212D-B400-4EFB-B819-44E9283D2A81.jpeg
1.080 will work, I normally run 1.090 mainly since this is the target for a ripe grape. What I have seen is that pie cherries are quite consistent so your numbers on non-sugared would be similar to mine. Before you go too far pop the lid to see what gravity (added sugar) you get in the juice surrounding the cherry. If you want to keep the solids high you should be able to find in the natural foods grocery section,, concentrated cherry juice.
,, Humm? I don’t own a four gallon carboy and ten pounds per gallon is high so I would probably plan a six or seven gallon primary.
My sister-in-law just dropped off 40 lbs. of tart Door County cherries. They're still frozen so I have no chemistry yet. I think I am going to shoot for a 4 gallon batch. What's a good target SG? I was thinking 1.08. Have you made this before?
A down the road observation is that I get astringent flavors at about 18 months in a 750ml bottle. ,, Anyone have a fix? ,, I am wondering about adding Scott FT blanc or trying to get less than a kilo of FT rouge berry ,,,,?
 

Chuck E

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Thanks. I will go with a 6 gallon primary. I do have the large square pail of unsweetened cherries. I should be able to get some readings today.
 

Rice_Guy

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The next time I run pie cherries I will probably try Maurvurn B to reduce the malic acid and then since the TA is reduced run 100% juice , , , and see what kind of ribbon it can get at state fair, , :trygold?. I have my first test with that yeast running and am surprised to see the pH up 0.1 unit instead of a normal decrease.
71B is the runner up choice for metabolizing malic, but didn’t look as interesting, ,,,, that trial has been going a month.
 

Chuck E

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Have you tried to source Maurivin B? I only found 500g packages. That's a lot of yeast for a trial.
I will buy some from you if you want to share.
 

Vinegaroon

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50# cherries (20# Evan’s Bali, 30#Montmorency) picked 6/23. 8# sugar two gallons boiled well water yeast 2 packets BM4x4, two packets Bourgovin212. Added sugar poured hot water over to dissolve preliminary mash pitched yeast 6/24 when must had cooled enough. Pressed 6/28 yield was roughly 6 gallons. Airlock activity ceased 7/10+- left on lees in conical fermenter bottled 8/1 in swingtops with 5 grams per liter sugar for priming. 21 liters bottled. Yes I have a ph meter and a couple hydrometers no I don’t have the slightest idea what any readings might have been. What I can say is it is crystal clear pale pink and while still a bit “hot” it is bone dry and redolent of cherries. Yes the fruit was fermented whole for 5 days with leaves stems and pits. One other intervention was retarding the primary with dry ice on top of the oversize stainless fermenter. The only thing I take too seriously is sterilization. I am delighted to see all these observations and thought I would add my two cents just in case somebody was surfing and looking for ideas. As for the original question Sweet vs. Pie, we have 4 Sweet cherries. Beautiful trees but never very productive and the birds beat me to them but the 3 Pie cherries deliver every year and some of the best cider I’ve made to date was last year with Lodi apples and 1/3 Pie cherries which is what prompted this years brew. Lodi being almost completely biennial we have none of those this year so Pie cherry wine it is! Oh and the yeast I pour in dry on top and let seperate colonies build for 12 hours then punch down and away we go.
 

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