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.


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

  2. 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!

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

    Happy brewing,
    Bad Ben

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

  5. 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.