Fresh Cherry Nut-Brown Ale Recipe 2008

Written by Damon on September 18, 2008

My cherry beer for this year mixes sweet and sour cherries on a nut-brown base.

moments later, this ale met its demise

moments later, this ale met its demise

The cherries in this recipe don’t stand out like in a Bellevue Kriek, but they create a very balanced beer that is difficult to classify. If you don’t know its a cherry beer, then you probably won’t be able to guess. But if you know what to look for, then both the sweet and sour cherries are evident. I would compare the fruit-beer balance of my cherry nut-brown to Swan’s recent Berry Ale (hope you were lucky enough to try that).


Make the Base Beer

  1. Mash in at °67 C (°152 F) for 1.5 hours.
  2. Sparge for 1.25 hours.
  3. Add hops and boil for 1.5 hours.
  4. Cool and pitch yeast.

Prepare the Cherries

  1. Wash the cherries.
  2. Split the cherries open, keeping the pits.
  3. Freeze the cherries and pits.
  4. Defrost the cherries.

When primary fermentation is done or almost done:

Combine Cherries and Base Beer

  1. Rack the beer to another primary fermenter (you need the headspace when the fruit starts fermenting).
  2. Add the cherries.

Fermentation will restart. Leave the cherries on the beer for at least two weeks (I’ll try three weeks next time).


  1. Rack to secondary.
  2. Refridgerate to clear the beer.
  3. Bottle or keg as normal.


  • 4.5 kgs (10 lbs) 2-Row
  • .45 kgs (1 lb) Barley Flakes
  • .23 kgs (.5 lbs) Crystal
  • .23 kgs (.5 lbs) Wheat Malt
  • .23 kgs (.5 lbs) Chocolate Malt
  • 28 g (1oz) Northern Brewer (boil)
  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale
  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) Sweet Cherries
  • .9 kgs (2 lbs) Sour Cherries

OG = 1.048
FG = 1.015

Note: The actual alcohol content is much higher because the sugar from the fruit is not counted in this calculation.

Brewers Notes

If I had my experimental platform set up when I brewed this, then I probably would have made a small lambic version on the side. I think this recipe would be perfect as a lambic.

You could also make this in to a fruitier beer. I don’t think I would go over 1.4 kgs (3 lbs) of sour cherries because this recipe is pleasantly sour, but I’d be willing to try between 2-3 kgs (4.4-6.6 lbs) of sweet cherries. I’d love to hear from people who have used a larger quantitiy of cherries in their beers.

I don’t advise using fewer cherries. The cherry flavour in this recipe is already quite subtle.

Posted Under: Fruit Beers

2 replies to “Fresh Cherry Nut-Brown Ale Recipe 2008

  1. mcatbrews

    I really like your site. You seem to be a great brewer and excellent blogger. I will include your site into our Fermentation Friday on the 26th and also add your blog to my site. I hope to learn more about brewing with fruit from your site. Jealous of your access to farm fresh food!

    Brew Strong,

  2. Post Author Damon

    Thanks Marcus.

    I will addFinal Gravity to my blogroll when I finally get around to doing one. But I’m working on a creating a Beer Lover’s Map of Vancouver using the Google Map’s custom maps API just now.

    And yes, fresh fruit and wild mushrooms really make a huge difference.

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