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Thread: What would you do with Cheey juice?

  1. #1

    Default What would you do with Cheey juice?

    I have not started my 2nd batch of mead yet, and I am already buying ingredients for my 3rd.
    Today I was at Trader Joes and picked up two 32 oz bottles of cherry juice @$5 each.
    If you were planning a new batch, what would you do with this juice?

    I have 1/2 gallon of Joe's cherry juice, it is pricey at $10 for half a gallon, but I could get more.
    I have not tasted it, but by the info below, it is tart (sour)
    I am setup to do 5 gallon batches, but I can change my ways if need be.
    What would you do with 1/2 gallon of cheery juice?
    Would it be good mixed with apple juice?
    Should it be spiced?
    Should I go for dry or sweet?
    Should it be used in the primary, or added as a boost when the primary is almost done, or something else?

    What do you think?
    Wayne


    This is the description from their website:
    March 16, 2015—Fearlessly Archived—Still a fun read; price & availability may have changed.

    Once known primarily as an ingredient for pie-baking, Montmorency tart cherries (AKA sour cherries) are now exalted as a drupe to be pressed for juice. And people are puckering up to drink in the Prunus cerasus because of the unique package of antioxidants and phytonutrients, including anthocyanins-the pigments from which they get their ruby hue. We'll drink to that-with Trader Joe's 100% Tart Cherry Juice. It's made for us from freshly-pressed, whole, red, tart Montmorency cherries. Depending on the time of year, our juice supplier acquires fruit from two of the most prominent tart cherry-producing states: Michigan or Utah. The result: POW! Consistently vibrant juice. Sip chilled or use it as a mixer. We keep the POW coming at $4.99 for each 32 fluid ounce glass bottle.

  2. #2

    Default

    Hi Wayne

    Welcome to the forum.

    I appreciate you desire to get some ideas on your future batch.

    Here is just an idea. I was suggest that you learn the process of making mead before you start asking for ingredients help. Once you understand the "How" the "what" becomes pretty simple. You can have the best ingredients in the world and bad protocol will still only give you crap. Of course the opposite is also true. Your finished product will only reflect the quality of ingredients you employ.

    Do you understand and employ the most modern approach for good fermentation management? It's not hard. But, if you just ignore one of the many, your finished product will suffer. We live in a very excitable time. No longer does one need to wait for a year or more to have great tasting mead. Today , it's not at all unusual to be able to drink you mead right after it's finished. Even before it's clear. Yes indeed, more ageing improves even more your finished product. But if you know and understand how to make mead with the best info available. You will be miles and miles ahead of getting some input on an ingredient list.

    Would you like that knowledge first. If you already have a good grip on that. I apologize. Just trying to help here, that's all
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Saratoga Springs , NY
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    Hi WayneG. I have to agree with Squatchy. You really want to master a simple honey, water, yeast + nutrient mead before you approach recipes that can highlight faults or hide them in ways that don't help improve your processes and practices. But taking that as a given you might use the cherry juice in place of water and get a little more of the juice to make enough must for say a 1.125 gallons (or a hair more) and add this to between 2 and 3 lbs of honey (say orange blossom or another fruity varietal (raspberry?)). Alternatively, you might simply experiment with fermenting the cherry juice itself. My concern is that in the hands of novice wine makers cherry wines often taste like cough medicine because what stands out are the phenols the yeast are (accidentally) encouraged to produce and /or interact with.

  4. #4
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    May 2015
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    Connecticut
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    Mmmm... Montmorency cherries, star thistle honey, some orchard cider.. sounds like a Zombie Killer clone is possible.

    But, I agree with these guys - figure out how to make good mead first. Fancy stuff comes later.
    Dave from New Haven County

  5. #5

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    Thanks for all your advice, and a brief history of me & my methods,
    My name is Wayne, but in other endeavors, they call me WayneL, mainly because I overthink everything I do (a bit to anal in my methods).
    Already I am less than happy that I screwed up the title of this thread, Cheey, Damn!

    So my first batch is almost ready to bottle and "in my opinion", tastes damn good!
    But without a unbiased judge, my opinion is only relevant to my taste buds.
    My second batch (apple Pie Mead) is still only on paper and the batch I am asking about now is starting now.

    One of my WayneL problems is that I want things done yesterday, and I know that Mead is a "day after tomorrow" project.
    My other problem is that, I dont know if I have time to have a taste my final work. One year ago they found cancer, so far so good, it has not returned and I am still here.
    Please forgive me for being in a rush, if it comes back I may not have a lot of time for trial and error.

    Call my methods down & dirty, my goal is to make something that is palatable without getting excessively extreme in its creation.

    Back to the topic, I figure Honey mead & Cherry should have an awesome flavor, if done right. No thoughts of Robitussin PLEASE.

    I like to cook, and I take recipes & techniques from several sources, analyze them in my WayneL way, and come up with a final result that suites my tastes.
    This works for me with food, I assume it will work with mead.

    PLEASE, "No sorry to hear about what you have" replies! Some folks say life sucks then you die, I say life is good so enjoy it, make it better if you can.
    Wayne (WayneL)

  6. #6

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    So Wayne, part of the point here is if/when you learn to make better mead it becomes drinkable much sooner.

    The reason you can take other recipes and tweek them is you know how to cook. I'm a total "thinker" as well. So I get it. A guy like you would enjoy making mead more when you have the knowledge you could gain over the weekend. You could learn to make good mead in a couple days if you wanted to spend some time reading. I can even send you to one link that will teach most of it.

    If you want to use your juice just do what you have been and use the juice instead of water. Do everything the same as you did before if you like your other creations.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  7. #7

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    Not to throw a spanner in the works here but, avoid things like cloves or spice. My tastebuds would perceive it as a cough drop (Fisherman's Friend). We're all different obviously. My tastebuds will detect different flavours to yours. I would suggest some floral notes would help enhance the sweeter side of the cherries and give a little more depth to the mead. Anybody else with more experience with the resulting flavours be able to set me straight on this one?

    I only commented because you sound a lot like me; impatient almost to a flaw and any idea has to be tried and put to bed before you can stop dwelling on it. I have next to no experience brewing mead but it hasn't stopped my mind running wild with ideas. Self restraint is difficult but I'm holding it together for now. The basics have been fun but I have not yet mastered them and keep having to talk myself out of going 'fancy' this early in the game. I'm still yet to source bottles for my creation and I'm writing lists in my notebook of recipe ideas and matching them to specific yeast strains and even how I want the end result to look when it's neatly presented in a bottle. Whoa is me. Life can be very stressful for the creative genius lol.
    From my brain to your eyes.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneG View Post
    So my first batch is almost ready to bottle and "in my opinion", tastes damn good!
    That's all that matters. No unbiased judge needed. If you like what you brewed, then you made a damn fine mead.
    Mead Magic
    Turn Honey Into Wine
    With our complete one-gallon kit!

  9. #9

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    Strait cherry wine sounds like fun, but that is definitely unknown territory. I agree that spices that are not tired and true for a cherry mead could end up as a waist of time.
    I like the thought of apple & cherry juices, I need a good tasting ratio for the juices.
    I am just not sure if the flavors will be lost in the ferment if they all go in the primary.

    One gallon batches sound practical but due to time restraints, I am going all or nothing, I will stick with 5 gallon batches.

    My thoughts (again as a newbie) is to do like I plan with the apple pie mead, just without spices:
    Using one gallon of honey, replace the 4 gallons of spring water with 3 gallons of apple juice (leaving the must 1 gallon short)
    On the first racking top it off with one gallon of cherry juice and allow the sugar from the cherry juice to resume the ferment.

    My 3 major concerns will be:
    1) What is the best flavor ratio of cherry to apple or water?
    2) Will the cherry juice have a better flavor in the primary ferment or in the secondary?
    3) If I leave the cherry juice out of the primary that leaves one gallon missing from the primary, I wonder if the SG may be to high for my yeast to handle?

    Thanks again for the suggestions!
    With all these methods, formulas and recipes, maybe someone will invent a Mead time machine:
    You put your stuff in one end and you instantly have a fully aged drinkable product at the other end!
    Wayne
    Last edited by WayneG; 01-21-2017 at 08:25 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WayneG View Post
    Strait cherry wine sounds like fun, but that is definitely unknown territory. I agree that spices that are not tired and true for a cherry mead could end up as a waist of time.
    I like the thought of apple & cherry juices, I need a good tasting ratio for the juices.
    I am just not sure if the flavors will be lost in the ferment if they all go in the primary.

    One gallon batches sound practical but due to time restraints, I am going all or nothing, I will stick with 5 gallon batches.

    My thoughts (again as a newbie) is to do like I plan with the apple pie mead, just without spices:
    Using one gallon of honey, replace the 4 gallons of spring water with 3 gallons of apple juice (leaving the must 1 gallon short)
    On the first racking top it off with one gallon of cherry juice and allow the sugar from the cherry juice to resume the ferment.

    My 3 major concerns will be:
    1) What is the best flavor ratio of cherry to apple or water?
    2) Will the cherry juice have a better flavor in the primary ferment or in the secondary?
    3) If I leave the cherry juice out of the primary that leaves one gallon missing from the primary, I wonder if the SG may be to high for my yeast to handle?

    Thanks again for the suggestions!
    With all these methods, formulas and recipes, maybe someone will invent a Mead time machine:
    You put your stuff in one end and you instantly have a fully aged drinkable product at the other end!
    Wayne
    1) That depends on what taste you are looking for
    2) More fruity in secondary but more wine-like in primary
    3) If you add juice you need to watch the SG. Most yeast struggle above 1.15.

    As far as spices to mix, I always recommend the Flavor Bible. It is meant for cooking, but what we do in fermentation in mixing flavors is awfully close to cooking.

  11. #11

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    Before Trader Joe's runs out of this juice I bought 3 more bottles, now I have a little less than 1.25 gallons to play with.
    I opened one for a taste test and the GF & our 11 year old dont care for it, no sugar! More for me.
    It is pure sour cherry flavor, it tastes just like strong cherry pie filling minus the sugary goo.
    This is making me wonder if water or apple juice is best to make up the rest of the must?
    I am going to make up a grolsch bottle of my traditional mead and add 20% of cherry juice and check the flavor, and then let it sit for a while and check again.

  12. #12

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    I did a quick test today. I used one of my Batch One (Traditional Mead) test bottles, SG 1.001
    Removed 20% and topped off with cherry juice and recapped the bottle to let nature take its course.
    With the mead I removed from the test bottle, I added 20% of the cherry juice for a quickie taste test.

    The taste was predominantly Semi sweet Mead, still in need of aging. It has a very slight cherry flavor, but bit more prominent sour flavor reminding me of grapefruit.
    I know, it is a half-assed test but I am flying blind here and wondering if the cherry flavor will get lost with the following ratios:
    20% cherry juice, 60% apple juice or water, and 20% honey.
    Has anyone done a cherry mead with sour cherry juice? What juice types/ratios did you use?

    Also did a SG test on the cherry juice: 1.042 My apple juice is 1.040

  13. #13

    Default

    I've made several with tart cherry juice. One has won a medal in the last contest I entered.

    I already replied in the above. Yes the cherry will get lost with your ratios. I have even used that exact juice. You need to use it as your water and add honey and yeast. Even then you will have very little cherry when you are done.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    I've made several with tart cherry juice. One has won a medal in the last contest I entered.

    I already replied in the above. Yes the cherry will get lost with your ratios. I have even used that exact juice. You need to use it as your water and add honey and yeast. Even then you will have very little cherry when you are done.
    Thanks,
    I would love to use 4 gallons of cherry juice, but that will $80 for the juice. I can afford a second gallon of cherry and then use 2 gallons of apple juice for the balance.
    Having just a hint of cherry will be OK as long as it comes out semi sweet.
    I will postpone my apple pie mead, I have the spice bags for that mellowing in two 1/2 gallon jars of apple juice, that will give the spicing a head start on that batch.
    I will start the "cherry pie"? mead as soon as I have all the stuff and write up the specs & recipe.
    I wonder how it would taste served warm with a cinnamon stick in the glass?

  15. #15

    Default

    One way you can get more cherry is to hold on to some of it and add it after you stabilize.

    This is what I would use. It is concentrated so you can have a stronger flavor profile. It's cheaper. And you'll have some left over. http://www.hopgoblin.com/Vintner-s-B...rw_wcB&click=2
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squatchy View Post
    One way you can get more cherry is to hold on to some of it and add it after you stabilize.

    This is what I would use. It is concentrated so you can have a stronger flavor profile. It's cheaper. And you'll have some left over. http://www.hopgoblin.com/Vintner-s-B...rw_wcB&click=2
    It looked interesting until I got to the ingredient list:
    Ingredients: High Fructose Corn Syrup; Apple, Pear, Cherry & Grape Juice Concentrates; Water; Citric Acid;
    With corn syrup being first in the list, then apple and pear next, it looks like the cherry percentage may not be that high in that cocktail.
    I think I will stick to the pure stuff for this one and do 50/50 with apple juice, maybe a little more of the cherry after the ferment, if I can afford it.
    Thanks for offering the alternative
    Wayne

  17. #17

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    I am on day 6 of this batch of "Cheey" mead, I wish I could fix the topic title!
    It is a 5 gallon batch using 15 pounds of local wildflower honey.
    2 gallons of apple juice,
    2 gallons of tart cherry juice from Trader Joe's.
    It would have been a full 2 gallons but the total volume would be over 5 gallons.
    Yeast is 71b and I am at 1/3 break yesterday.
    I was surprised at the speed this is fermenting. I am using the 4 portion method of adding energizer, but I am guessing that the fruit juice has a lot to do with the speedy ferment.
    Anyway, I will let you know more when I have something worthy of a taste test.

  18. #18

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    It has been a while since I have been back here, doctors keep me jumping through hoops.
    Anyway, I think this batch is ready for some outside advice. It has a nice light caramel color, and a brandy(ish) like flavor.
    I started it in Feb 2017 and I bottled it in September, so it has about 8 months on. It is about 15% ABV and it is smooth going down at room temp. I would say it may have a hint of oak, but I have not added any.

    SO, I was wondering if there are any competitions coming up in the near future? I tried going to the Mazer Cup website a few times but it is off line.

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