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01/29/09 01:36 AM  
all brett cider
has anyone tried this? i've been thinking about trying to make something simple with the lady friend to sort of show her what it's like, get her involved, that sort of thing. the beers i like, she usually sort of hates. but she likes cider well enough. i was thinking of either juicing a bunch of apples (she has the machinery) or just trying it with juice.

i was wondering, though, if it might make the whole thing a bit more interesting to use a brett strain to do the fermentation. has anyone had any experience with this? any ideas on what sorts of esters might be produced that differ from, say, a normal brewing yeast strain, or champagne yeast, or baking yeast? this is meant to be a fun and simple thing, so if it gets too complicated, i'll just go the normal route (i have no qualms making a starter, though). but i think it might be nice to have the lemon/orange that i've gotten out of brux or the pineapple i've gotten out of clausenii. they might make a cider more fun and interesting, without having to make the actual brewing process absurdly complicated.

truth is, though, i have absolutely no idea how different yeast strains might interact with the sugars in apple juice. thoughts?

01/29/09 12:28 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Haven't tried it myself. But it should work fine. I know that plenty of people ferment ciders without adding additional yeast -- just by using the yeast on the skins of the fruit. Which I would presume would be a strain of brettanomyces, among other things.

I'd say go for it.

01/29/09 01:08 PM  
Re: all brett cider
I'm actually a pretty avid cider maker, in fact I even press my own cider. Every other year a lot of this is from apples I've grown.

Cider makers are a pretty reserved bunch, the last 3 years I attended "Cider Days" in NW MA (apple / cider central), this covers a few apple areas but the most represented is fermentation. I'll say this, during the cider making session somebody always asks about using lambic type bacteria and the answer is always the same - NO.

So last year I decided to rock the boat in another way, I blended the concept of barley wine with cider by making it hi-grav by reduction, partially to the point of caramelization (like using an apple version of crystal malt). Nobody there, including the panel (one of whom penned the BJCP cider stuff) had encountered anything like it. Which makes me wonder, what else could someone with beer background do that would be completely foreign cider makers? The answer could not be more obvious - successful use of brett.

This years batch I pitched a huge, healthy, AlB enhanced slurry of Clausinii. Why that? I used it once on a Berliner, the fruitiness it produced was not pineapple but apple. At last years Berliner swap another guy, who also used BC, got the exact same results. I think this has something to do with the lower gravity of Berliner, and cider tends to be on the low side. Cider ferments very dry, often cider makers want to know how to maintain apple flavors. The experts have suggestions that are all potentially problematic, next year I plan to introduce an new approach - ferment in a way that produces apple exters! I will say that at this point I am very much on target. Hard to say what any brett will do on the long haul, and this gets served in November. But so far my results are very much inline with my intentions.

01/29/09 10:12 PM  
Re: all brett cider
thanks for the input.

myself, i was thinking of going with a bit higher og through freezing out some of the water (how long must one boil to change the gravity significantly?). not exactly to the point of making it an ice cider, but a similar idea. i'd like a sweeter finished product, i think, so the idea is to make the og big enough that the yeast get pickled before they finish, and don't get it quite so dry.

i knew a lot of people just used the native apple yeast to ferment, but i think, due to my idiosyncrasies, i would like a bit more control over it than that. though i am considering infecting it with lacto to sour it up a bit.

i wonder if the yeast from my "saison" might not make a fine fermenting agent. i used the dupont yeast for primary and brett brux for secondary, which created a rather peppery citrus thing. the peppery part, i think, might go well with an apple flavor, and who knows what the brett might do. or the sacch, for that matter.

well, i appreciate the input so far, and invite as much more as anyone is willing to contribute. it'll probably be a few more weeks before i have time for this, or to get a suitable yeast strain and starter going.

01/30/09 03:41 PM  
Re: all brett cider
>>how long must one boil to change the gravity significantly?<<

Hours and hours. Most was just reduced to 50%, but to make the apple version of caramel malt I went from 2.5 gallons to 20oz twice.

>>i'd like a sweeter finished product, i think, so the idea is to make the og big enough that the yeast get pickled before they finish, and don't get it quite so dry.<<

Easier said then done, you'll need to go pretty high - I've never done it but I'd be surprised if increasing the gravity by 1.5X was enough. Effectivly it will be Eis cider.

>>i would like a bit more control over it than that. though i am considering infecting it with lacto to sour it up a bit.<<

Actually that will give you considerably less control. I have found natural fermentation to be extremely consistant, actually pretty similar to innoculating with conventional yeast. Lacto, by comparison, will be quite the wildcard. Personally I think its aweful in cider, produces an off-flavor like cheerios or cracker jacks. Unlike brett (IMO), lacto is avoided by cider makers for good reasons.

Rob B
01/30/09 04:32 PM  
Re: all brett cider
<<myself, i was thinking of going with a bit higher og through freezing out some of the water (how long must one boil to change the gravity significantly?). >>

You won't be able to freeze out water prior to fermentation, you will just make a cider popsicle.

01/30/09 04:55 PM  
Re: all brett cider
I hadn't thought about that aspect, but I bet you are on the money Rob. The Canadians do it by picking apples real late in the season, my understanding is that they pretty much dehydrate on the tree. The stuff is pretty expensive and REAL hard to get, I would imagime one reason for that is the yield from a tree-dehydrated apple.
01/30/09 06:01 PM  
Re: all brett cider
<<You won't be able to freeze out water prior to fermentation, you will just make a cider popsicle.>>

That's not entirely true. The sugar content should lower the freezing point considerably. Mike T attempted an ice cider a while back. Here's his blog about it:


01/30/09 09:21 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Neat write up, but it does lack final results. I guess it was from this past season, too soon for the next chapter. Heart breaker about the turkey!!

I'd love to hear how this is progressing, I would be surprised if 1.082 was high enough in gravity to stun the yeast, its significantly lower than that of Eis cider.

At Cider days there were several people who had been in Canada to look into this, the very late apple harvest was a pretty common concensus. The description Mike has up does not mention this - but then it is from wikipedia. Anyway, I will say hats off to Mike for pushing this as far as he did. A gravity bump that significant is impressive.

Mike T
01/31/09 01:31 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Correct Steve, it got all the way down to 1.006 (10% ABV). Since it got so dry I decided to give it some lively carbonation and call it apple champagne instead. Just bottled last weekend, so it will probably be next fall by the time it really hits its stride. Next fall I'll do another batch hopefully this time I'll be able to do the two freezes and get the gravity up to 1.130.

The most traditional way to make ice cider is to harvest and press partially frozen apples (cryoextraction), but many cider makers also just do the freeze concentration on the juice after pressing (cryoconcentration).

I have also considered buying a bunch of frozen apple juice concentrate, diluting it a tiny bit, and fermenting. I doubt it would be quite as good, but it sure would be easier.

02/01/09 03:17 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Mike, do you have a real good apple source? I have bought Roxbury Russetts to press, I'll say the juice from them was the most syrupy I've ever come across. They were purchased well after harvesting, one of their more desirable characteristics is extreme storability.

Cryoextraction is what I've heard of, I wonder how important it is that they are on the tree when they par-freeze? Maybe next season I'll pick up some late season apples, there are some places that offer them into December. By then they'd be looking to just move them, so if you can find them I'm sure its would be a pretty cost-effective purchase. Seems like a simple matter, leave them outside then run 'em through the press. Sounds fun, I'll let you know at the end of the year ... !

Mike, presses arn't all that expensive, and the process of making cider is surprisingly alluring. I have a dozen or so folks over once (a cast party) and during it I intended to make cider. It was late in the year, December and pretty cold out. It was my intention to make the stuff myself, popping in and out of the party. But everyone wanted to be involved! I ended up doing very little, the cider was made and the guests felt they had a really unique experience (in a good way!). Food for thought.

02/01/09 03:19 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Mike - follow up. I have an out there idea that would involve collaboration. Would you be interested? It would require you to de-bottle a bit of cider...
Mike T
02/02/09 10:10 AM  
Re: all brett cider
I do not have an excellent source for apples, I generally just go down to the farmers market and buy a few gallons of local cider. Sadly cider pressing is out of my spatial ability, I live in apartment with no place to keep a press. It is certainly something I will look into when I have more space.

Iím always up for out there collaborative ideas, fill me in.

02/02/09 01:57 PM  
Ice Cider
I purchased a very nice Ice Cider from one of the Quebec makers at the Festival du Bieres et Saveurs in Chambly back in September, though I can't recall the name . . .

I do remember, though, that he indicated their product was from apples allowed to freeze on the tree, and with the pressed juice from that also allowed to naturally freeze outdoors (I believe the restriction of freezing to 'natural' temperatures is mandated in Quebec if you want to use the name Cidre de Glacee).

So while it certainly does not appear to be required, there's some anecdotal evidence for . . .whatchacallit? . . . cryoconcentration.

02/02/09 08:29 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Mike, as far as I can see there are two schools of thought regarding high gravity cider that has not been fortified with non-apple products. Judging from the response at Cider Days I'm probably the only one in the second school. There is the gravity enhancement through freezing method and the reduction on the stove method. My first go got up to about 1.115, though I don't have a gravity on batch 2. I reduced 5 gallons to 2.5, pitched some fermenting cider to innoculate then set out to reduce down another 5. Plus there was the 2 doses of "crystal" that went from 2.5 gallons to 20 oz. Anyway, I filled the carboy over the better part of a week, fermentation was going very well so there was no point where I could have taken a reliable gravity reading. I will say though the syrup I made appeared to reduce more than the previos batch, it was bubbly and caramel-like in texture. I would have to guess that if anything, batch two has 5 or 10 points on batch 1.

I tasted it yesterday for the first time, to my amazement I was nicely attenuated. Batch one took like 10 months, so getting finished results in 3 months was a nice surprise indeed. I have not measured this batch, my guess is it has finished in the mid-ish 1.020s.

Anyway, I was thinking it might be interesting to do a little blending, yours of 1.082 origin and mine of 1.120(?). Considering where mine has stopped they may compliment each other very well.

Mike T
02/03/09 09:24 AM  
Re: all brett cider
They certainly seem like complimentary batches. What is the easiest way to work a collaborative blend like this? I could ship you a couple bottles, you could do some blending and sent a couple back.
02/03/09 11:04 AM  
Re: all brett cider
Hummm. I think I should send you some of mine, say 2 or 3 22ozers. Yours is bottle conditioning, it would be best to not subject conditioning cider to freezing. You blend and when the weather is better send me back half the blended batch. Does that sound good? I only have an interium address for yo in Waldorf from an old swap, I guess you must have been relocating at the time.
Mike T
02/03/09 12:00 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Sounds good, check your email.
02/06/09 09:14 AM  
Re: all brett cider
Mike, I'm bottled and boxed up, just waiting for a couple consecutive days that are not supposed to be rediculosly cold. Hate to loose cider to exploded bottles. I had a box with one of those 2 750ml bottle inserts, so I have 2 22ozers. packed up.
Mike T
02/06/09 09:32 AM  
Re: all brett cider
Great, luckily I live south of you. Just gives me a heads up when you ship so I'll be on the lookout for it in my lobby.
02/06/09 09:37 AM  
Re: all brett cider
Looks like some 40's this weekend, I think I'll hit the PO tomorrow morning. I'll confirm.
Mike T
02/10/09 10:02 AM  
Re: all brett cider
The bottles were waiting for me when I got home last night. Hopefully I'll have time for some blending over the long weekend.

Any thoughts on how to deal with carbonating the blend? Should I give the blend some time to see if the yeast from mine are going to go to work on the residual sugars in yours before bottling? Then just prime as usual?

02/10/09 02:28 PM  
Re: all brett cider
Well...good question!

I have found ambient apple yeasts ferment very well, as - if not more - attunuative as brewing yeasts I'm used to dealing with. But now that I think about it I'd hate to assume that, bottle it up and wait for the high explosives to go off!

Mike, maybe you could blend just one small bottle. Take half mine then recap (purge if possible) and half yours. Store it in a zip lock. See what happens in a month! Actually this aspect of the blend is not something I thought about, it will be really interesting to see if your cider can push mine further. This collaboration just got more interesting...

10/16/09 09:17 AM  
Re: all brett cider
Just wanted to resurrect this thread to see if there's any more info on the subject. I'm thinking of doing an all Brett L cider. Traditional gravity, no fortifying. Anyone think there's a better strain to use? I loved the flavors from my Brett L beers. Should I still expect complete fermentation?
10/16/09 12:05 PM  
Ice Cider / Imperial Cider
DanF, you had good timing! Just 2 weeks back, MikeT posted his tasting of these efforts:


I'm lucky enough to be going out with friends to an orchard tomorrow to do some pressing, although the weather looks to be quite nasty! We are looking to get 70 gal or so of cider out of it, so I am thinking of maybe trying both Mike's partial-freeze concentration and SteveG's boil-down method on separate portions of the yield.

Actually, this thread has really developed 2 separate topics - Brett Cider and also Ice Cider. Can it be split maybe?

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