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10/24/07 09:39 AM  
Crazy take on cider
So wow, this year my Jonagold tree produced over 6 bushels of apples. I've never been in a position where I was wondering what to do with them all! The cider making potential really exceeded our consumption potential. Then I had this crazy idea...

I filled a pot with about 2.5 gallons of fresh cider and slowly reduced it to a little under a quart. It became syrupy, the OG which started around 1.046 dropped somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.3. Anne thought it tasted like malt extract, I found it a bit tart, intensely caramel sweet and with a strong honey character. Awesome, that's a way to use up cider! So I added that to a fermenting batch, then did the same again. I thought it might be like adding crystal malt to an all pale malt beer.

Oh, the cider was treated with pectic enzymes prior to heating.

So then here was the crazy idea. I took 16 quarts of cider and reduced it to 9, then added 28 ounces of the syrup (prepared separately). The combined OG was about 1.115, I dosed it with fresh cider and some from the fermenting carboy (mentioned above). After a day got a big foamy head, patient is fermenting comfortably. High gravity cider is not something new, but every reference to it I have ever seen has been due to fortification with honey or some other sugar source. This one is barley wine strength and all apple!

Al B
10/24/07 10:14 AM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Yeah, since I don't have a tree, I bought some "boiled cider". Its a syrup and very good on pancakes.....and....potentially fermented beverages. I'm a big fan of "ice cider" so that process above looks like a nice alternative.

I'm guessing the pectic enzymes were used for a period of time on the crushed apples and/or cider prior to heating (sine the heat denatures the enzyme), how long do you leave the enzymes in?

10/24/07 10:40 AM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
I tried heating cider years ago and it started to thicken. You add the enzymes (.5 tspn/gallon) 1 hr before heating it up. In some cases it made this awesome, thick, merangue-like foam on top that disaapated as it heated. I guess those were the denaturing pectins.
10/24/07 02:04 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Mmmm . . . Eis Cider. I tried the very nice 'Cidre de Givre' from Etienne Dupont courtesy of folks at Pigalle in my neighborhood not long ago. Good stuff, brandy-like but smooth with no bite and a slightly sweet syrupy edge.

Steve, as usual, you are leading us off into heady new directions. I am not aware of anything available that matches that description - kinda like applejack or Eis Cider, but without the fusel risk from freeze concentration.

10/24/07 04:17 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
We do something similar, but instead of boiling the cider -we freeze it, thaw it slowly, and let it drip into a new container. This is with unfermented apple juice, we are NOT freeze distilling alcohol. We check the brix of the collected liquid until it drops to where we want it - the first liquid that melts is like apple syrup. We call it(once fermented) apple icewine and its very good.

We also use boiled down cider to make applebutter at my wifes family reunion. They boil the cider down till its almost black, the taste is like tart apple candi syrup. Amazing stuff. I made some for homebrewing but have not decided what to do with it.

Al B
10/24/07 06:42 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
<<I made some for homebrewing but have not decided what to do with it. >>

Same here w/ the bottle of boiled cider I have (other than for pancakes).........perhaps a super-cider like Steve, or maybe a Belg. specialty brew (Stille Nacht?), saison, or a pomme lambic. crazy takes.

10/25/07 07:45 AM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Erik, you're too kind! SAH, your experience on concentrating via freezing vs. reduction is the same as mine - the latter kicks asss as it will result in caramelization. What a difference! So this is an usual cider season for me, I never make two batches. This year though I have the cider "barley wine" (somehow "apple wine" seems like a bogus description!) and a regular batch with a small proportion of added reduction syrup treating it like it was crystal malt.

I think when you add in the significant flavor differences and sugar levels of various apple varieties this syrup things could get real interesting.

One thought on how it could be used with beer...the biggest character I got out of the stuff I made (along with tartness) was a strong honey character. Al mentioned Stille Nacht, that's primed with honey. Given the flavor balance this stuff has over honey I can't imagine it not working beautifully in that capacity. Al, where'd you get boiled cider? Did you find it commercially or did you make it?

10/25/07 02:27 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
do you guys pitch belgian yeast for this? Or is champagne yeast the way to go?

Could you just pitch yeast straight into the glass jug that the cider comes in from the store if its already pasteurized?

10/25/07 02:59 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Personally I make all my own cider affording me the option to naturally ferment. So I don't pitch anything. I can say though that the people who make cider the way we make beer always use wine yeast. From what I can tell the clear favorite of the big boys in cider making circles (for instance one of the cider day round table panelists had written at least some of the BJCP guidelines for cider) is a dry yeast called D40. They actually did not like champagne yeast so much. The reason they gave was that the conditions within a grape must ("must" is the fruit juice version of "wort") intended for champagne is very different than the conditions within an apple must. Makes sense I think as champagne is 4 to 5 times the strength of an unfortified cider.
10/25/07 03:03 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Thanks Steve.

And could one pitch yeast right into the gallon glass jug and toss on an airlock?

I've never made hard cider and was thinking I'd add some DME for a little body, maybe a cinamon stick and give it a whirl.

10/25/07 03:13 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Innoculating here isn't something I have experience with, this page might help:


I think the yeast I meant is the D47, not D40 as I said. If you're interested you live closer to Cider Day than I do, looks like maybe a 150 mile drive to north western MA. Its a terrific experience - and 2 weekends away. Think about it.


10/25/07 03:18 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
BTW pre reg price ends today ($50, goes to $60 tomorrow)
Al B
10/25/07 03:28 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
I found a commercial bottle of boiled cider - 16 oz.

I also found cider that is unpasteurized + preservative free. They also make a tart cider too. So a ratio of 3:1 cider to tart cider plus the boiled cider looks like a good possibility - for those w/out apple trees.

10/25/07 04:15 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Is the potassium sorbate going to be a yeast killer?

10/25/07 04:37 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Al, if I can hit ya for some mild yeast I'll swap you a bottle of cider syrup that'll knock your socks off.
Al B
10/25/07 04:58 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Steve - its a deal

Ryan - Potassium sorbate will turn to sorbic acid at a low pH (less than 6-7). Sorbic acid is the active preservative against all fungi. If you wanted to make still, sweet cider, then to stop fermentation you could use Pot Sorb.


10/25/07 07:12 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider

but I don't want to stop fermentation. I want to ferment the world!

Seriously though, I guess I will have to go to a local orchard and try to get some cider without pot sorb.

I think I'll boil some down with STeve's method and then go from there.

maybe brown sugar, some DME and a cinnamon stick?

10/26/07 06:36 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Hey guys thanks for all of the input

I just bought two gallons of UV pastuerized but preservative free cider from my coop. I boiled 1 cup of brown sugar and a half cup of white sugar with a cinammon stick and added that with yeast starter and the D-47 that Steve recommended above.

I'm excited to see what comes in a week or so.


10/26/07 09:32 PM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
I can't figure out who's thread is this, Ryans or Steves?? :)
10/27/07 08:24 AM  
Re: Crazy take on cider
Geesh Ross

Can't a guy get stoked?

I thought you quit!


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