Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2010 Cider (redux)

For this year's cider attempt, I managed to get 4 gallons of fresh pressed juice from a local orchard. Though it was fresh-pressed, I got it after it went through their UV pasteurizer - I was hoping to get it unpasteurized , but the orchard owner didn't want to disconnect the set-up for only 4 gallons, which I figured was fair enough. The juice was pressed from a variety of apples that made it on the sweet side, which I have read isn't necessarily ideal for making cider, but I was happy to try it nonetheless. The orchard owner said that he was going to do a special tart apple press in a few weeks for some other cider makers and agreed to give me a call when he does (UPDATE: I never heard from him...oh well)

My two previous attempts at cider have had mixed results. The first attempt (February 2009) was straight juice + ale yeast and turned out good - though certainly very dry and quite tart. I'm still drinking it and I like it. My second attempt turned out (so far) to be undrinkable - I think it might be overly oxidized. For that one, perhaps I got too complicated - juice + honey + raisins + dried cranberries + ale yeast. I'm hoping it turns around, but I'm not holding my breath.

This time, I tried a few new things:

1) I made a "reduction" out of some of the juice to drive the OG without adding other sugars and to hopefully add some body, complexity, and perhaps some residual sweetness via the caramelization process. I boiled 1 gallon of juice down to 2 cups and added that to 3 gallons of straight juice.

2) Used a wine yeast

3) Added some oak cubes to the primary fermenter for added character and complexity (per the BN podcast episode with Shea Comfort - one of the best episodes out there).

I'm excited about this one, and initial samples are promising, but only time will tell how it will work out.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 3.13 gal
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.000
ABV: 8.36%

3 gallons fresh-pressed apple juice
2 cups of apple juice "concentrate" - 1 gallon of fresh-pressed juice boiled down to 2 cups

Lalvin 71B-1122

3.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (added to boiled down juice)
1.50 tsp Pectic Enzyme - added ~6 hours before yeast
0.50 oz Oak Cubes, Hungarian, Medium Toast (Primary)

  • Started on 10/23/10
  • OG of fresh cider = 1.050
  • reduced 1 gallon down to 2 cups and added yeast nutrient
  • OG with reduction added = 1.064
  • added pectic enzyme ~6 hours before yeast
  • fermented in mud room - ambient ~60°F
  • 11/3/10 - SG = 1.001
  • 11/23/10 - SG = 1.000; racked to 3 gallon carboy (did not transfer oak cubes); topped off with some organic, stop & shop apple juice; mud room closet temp down to 58°F
  • 1/23/11 - bottled with fructose - target volumes = 2.5

Bottled on 1/23/11


geoff said...

Not sure where you are in New England, but this guy will squeeze apples directly into your brew bucket at cheaper than jug price.


I pitched some WL English Cider yeast into it when I added raisins and honey, and it got going and slowed back down quickly, but something (assumedly some wild beast from the skin) was definitely still working on it about 6 months later when I hit it with some Camden tabs and bottled it.

Jim Lemire said...

Thanks for the link - I'm not too far from him and I may have to check that out this Fall. I'd be curious to know what you think of the English Cider yeast. For some reason I've stayed away from it - I guess mostly because I rarely hear about anyone using it, even though it is a 'cider yeast'.

David said...

Out of curiosity could you elaborate on the reduction process? Specifically did you encounter any issues with pectin activation, I seem to remember reading somewhere that heating above 160 to sterilize fruit juices (maybe it was heating to boiling) activates natural pectin and has adverse effects.

Jim Lemire said...

@David - I took 1 gallon of fresh-pressed juice and boiled it until it had reduced to approximately 2 cups. It was a sticky, thick, very sweet syrup at this point (it tasted spectacular). I was concerned about setting the pectin, which is why I used some pectinase before pitching the yeast. In the end, I have had no problem with haze - not sure if I would have if I hadn't used the pectinase though.

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