Cherry Explosion (and a new recipe)!

2 Jun

English: explosion symbol

It’s been a rough couple of days.  The heat in New York is oppressive, and to top things off, our refrigerator decided to give out yesterday afternoon.

Recently, I made a batch of cherry soda with tibicos (water kefir).  I left the bottled brew out only a few hours for the secondary ferment, but it was enough to create TONS of fizz!  I think this is due to the heat.  The first  bottle I opened up in the sink spewed all over the sink area before I could hold the bottle cap down to contain the fizz, and I lost 3/4 of the bottle all over the place.

Grolsch:  My bottle of choice, up till now.

Since then, I have had better luck opening bottles:  I place the bottle in a bowl, cup my hand  the cap and push down hard so that when the fizz bubbles out, it deflects off my clean hand and bubbles down the sides of the bottle into the bowl.

Then, the fridge died.  We are currently waiting for a new relay switch to arrive in the mail.   In the meantime, our refrigerator is packed with ice from the bodega to preserve our foodstuff.  I learned the hard way that it hasn’t been quite cool enough for my tibicos:  this morning, from a room away, we heard a “bang!” from inside the refrigerator.  I opened the door to find that not only had my cherry soda escaped, but it went the crazy way:  breaking the glass bottle into tons of little shards.  Not fun to clean up, but also scary!  Someone could have gotten hit in the face with that bomb!  I posted the incident to my Facebook fermentation forum, and one fellow fermenter recommended always leaving at least 2 inches of space at the top of the bottle.  She said the same thing  happened to one of her bottles before she started leaving the extra space.  I used to just leave one inch… not anymore!  I may even consider switching to plastic bottles, although the thought hurts me so….


Before all of this this bad excitement, I have slowly adapted my original cherry soda recipe into something even more fabulous.  The first ferment is the the same as the original recipe.  When I bottle it, I add to a single Grolsch bottle (12 oz bottle):

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbsp cherry concentrate

1 tsp wild cherry bark

Let the bottled brew sit out at room temperature for a little bit (maybe not too long at all if it’s hot in your kitchen!) to build up some bubbles and to create a secondary ferment.  You can  “burp” the bottle during this second ferment, to allow some of the CO2 buildup to escape.  You could also just put the bottle with the flavorings straight in the refrigerator.  Cooler temperatures significantly slow fermentation but do not completely stop the process.  After a couple of days, the cherry bark should be sufficiently infused into your brew.  Strain the bark out of your soda when you pour it.

Prunus serotina (Wild Cherry)

leaves of the wild cherry, photo credit Wikipedia

About Wild Cherry Bark (Prunus serotina):  

Wild cherry bark should be stored in an airtight container away from light.  It is most commonly used to ease coughs, although it treats the cough symptom, not the healing of infection.  It is useful along with other herbs to control asthma.  Wild cherry bark is also useful as a digestive bitter, and a cold infusion of the bark can be used as a wash for eye inflammation.  (Thanks to David Hoffman’s Holistic Herbal for this information)

8 Responses to “Cherry Explosion (and a new recipe)!”

  1. Janet January 4, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

    Hi, I’m a newcomer and also new to fermenting. Just read about your cherry explosion. I read that if you do the 2nd ferment in plastic bottles (sturdy food grade, from flavored water bottles or the like), you can easily tell when it’s ready as the bottles become very hard. Then carefully open (they still fizz over as with glass) and pour into the glass bottles for long term storage and then there’s no danger of explosions. It worked well for me and I also strained out the fruit, etc as I poured it into the glass bottles. But that was my first time so I don’t know how to judge it. Tasted great, but not as much carbonation left. I might just stick with the heavy duty plastic since none of them lasted very long! I’ll eventually get brave enough to try glass as I picked up a slew of almost new Grolsch bottles for a buck a piece. Thanks for the website!

    • Adele January 11, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

      Hi Janet,

      Yes, this is a technique of knowing how “done” your carbonation is– if the bottle is hard, then it is ready. I’m just a paranoid plastic hater. At any rate, I’ve found that the key to this explosion problem is to stay on top of burping the bottles before it gets that crazy. Anyway, in the above story, I had already strained the fruit out of my bottle, and I had placed it in the refrigerator when it was a reasonable pressure. The big lesson is that things DO continue to ferment in the fridge– just more slowly. And,fermentation quickens again when your refrigerator dies and gets warm!


  1. Prunus serotina | Find Me A Cure - June 9, 2013

    […] Cherry Explosion (and a new recipe)! […]

  2. Jun 101 | Brooklyn Alewife - June 13, 2013

    […] Once you have bottled your Jun, you may leave it out for about a day, especially if you have flavored it, to create a secondary ferment which will let the flavors sink in and build up bubbles. Soon, you will want to put it in the fridge, to slow down the fermentation process, or you’ll end up with a super sour and potentially explosive brew (see Cherry Explosion). […]

  3. Ginger Beer: Warmth in a Cool Drink | Brooklyn Alewife - December 14, 2013

    […] them in the refrigerator.  Otherwise, you can end up with glass bombs that are quite dangerous!  (See my cherry explosion incident from last summer).  The safe bottle time at room temp could be as short as a few hours, especially if you do this in […]

  4. Alewife gets a cold, engages with Osha root: Monica’s tincture. | Brooklyn Alewife - March 13, 2014

    […] 2/3 oz cherry bark (read more about it here) […]

  5. Dandelion-Burdock Soda. British and Beautiful. | Brooklyn Alewife - July 16, 2014

    […] up some fizz, but beware of leaving it too long.  Tibicos has exploded in my refrigerator, (see my cherry explosion article).  If in doubt, it’s a good practice to “burp” your container after […]

  6. Waning Moon Brew | Brooklyn Alewife - August 4, 2015

    […] they have built up some fizz.  BE CAREFUL not to leave them too long, or you can create a bomb!  See this post.  “Burping” your bottles periodically can help to prevent too much gas pressure […]

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