Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cider 2006

With fall and apple season upon us once again I felt it was time to put up a cider post. Last Fall I brewed a very simple hard cider. I threw the recipe together spur of the moment before heading off to Denver for a few weeks. I added some malt extract to the cider to give it some residual sweetness and some yeast nutrient to aid the yeast. I used a packet of dried champagne yeast which makes for a very clean cider, but one that is pretty low in character.

I have a new batch fermenting now, that is a bit less traditional, but should have a bit more interesting flavor and hopefully won't take so long to get good.

My 1st Cider

Recipe Specifics
Batch Size (Gal): 2.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 16.75
Anticipated OG: 1.055
Anticipated SRM: 6.9

16.50 lbs. (2 gallons) Cider
0.25 lbs. Generic DME - Light

EC-118 (Champagne yeast)

Made 10/31/06 by myself

Heated a cup of juice with 1 cup DME and .5 tsp yeast nutrient.

Cider was from Whole foods, pasteurized but no preservatives. 1/2 packed of yeast added straight into fermenter.

11/18/06 transferred to two 1 gallon jugs and stuck them in the fridge. 1.010, tasted pretty good with a sour twang at the end.

11/24/06 Bottled aiming for 2.5 volumes of CO2.

1st Tasting 10/17/07

- Sweet apples soaked in white wine. There is a hint of sulfur as well, but it is just a background note like is often present in many white wines (not sure if that is the only reason I thin.

Appearance -Nearly opaque it is so cloudy because I didn't use finings or pectic enzyme. The cider is yellow-tan with a thin white head that has surprisingly good retention. Personally I don't mind a hazy beverage, but if you do some pectic enzyme is important because it breaks up the pectin (the same stuff that is responsible for the thickening jams and jelly).

Taste - Tangy with a light apple flavor. Some apple skin as well. It still tastes pretty fresh, with no oxidation or other off-flavors apparent. It strikes a good balance between sweetness, dryness and acidity. However, the flavor is very mild to the point of being bland.

Mouthfeel - Prickly carbonation and a bit thin. There is a light tannic roughness on the tongue as well.

Drinkability/Notes - Finally getting pretty good after almost a year, but it is still rather bland. As time has passed the apple flavors have come more to the front which is nice, in fact I think this is the most I have enjoyed a bottle of this one so far. It really didn't turn out badly for a batch that I threw together on a whim and fermented while out of the state.


Josh said...

What was the new recipe for the cider? I would be interested in Playing Along at Home.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I’ll throw a full post up sometime, but here is the preview version:

Dissolve ½ pound of muscovado sugar (or any other dark unrefined sugar) in 1 pint of water. Once it comes to a boil turn off the heat and stir in ¼ tsp of yeast nutrient and 7 oz of apple butter. Cool the mixture down and mix with 2 gallons of preservative free cider. I used unpasteurized cider in the hopes of getting some funk, but pasteurized would work as well. The OG was 1.063. I then pitched 2 grams of rehydrated Fleischmann's Rapid Rise bread yeast. If you want a “full” 5 gallons it would be 1.25 lbs muscovado, .5 tsp yeast nutrient, 1 lb apple butter, 5 gallons cider, 5 grams yeast.

Fermentation was going strong after 12 hours with an ambient temperature around 65 degrees. After a week fermentation looked about finished so I took a gravity reading and it was down to 1.005 (92% apparent attenuation). It tastes pretty good already with only a distant hint of spices from the apple butter. I’ll probably bottle it after a total of 2 weeks in primary, even if there is some wild yeast from the unpasteurized cider it won’t have much residual in the way of residual sugars to eat.

At 7.5%+ ABV this batch also disproves my claim that bread yeast has an alcohol tolerance 5%.

If you brew it please let me know how it turns out!

Ben, aka BadBen said...

I haven't done a cider in a while; I probably should. This has got my interest perked-up.

Happy brewing,
Bad Ben

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

The great thing about ciders is how fast and easy they are to make. There is no reason not to make one.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I like New England style Cider, and add a handful of raisin along with a dark sugar, like the mucovado -- the tannins in the raisins are great for the mouthfeel, and they add a nice complexity that basic cider lacks.