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10/05/09 03:47 PM  
Anyone going to CiderDays?
Anyone that is besides me?


11/09/09 12:50 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
What I thought was the big shocker this year, somebody brought a cider that tasted like a normal, finished cider that she made in September. Nobody could believe it was 2 months old! I was pretty amazed.

As expected the all brett cider went over well with some, not-so-well with others. By and large I don't think the expert panel was so crazy about it, except for one who made a point of telling me when the event was breaking up how much he enjoyed it. Thus is the reality of brett!

11/21/09 11:30 AM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
I jumped into cider making on a whim this year - and I know there's a lot wrong with HOW I did it, but when time is limited...I cheat.

We have some great apple orchards here in WISC and cider season brings out lots of fresh pressed juice.

Here's what I did. During a stop a the local farmers market http://www.dcfm.org/ I picked up a gallon of cider from a random vendor; when I got home I had a glass (mmmmm good) and left the jug on the counter to bring it up to room temp. A couple of hours later I dumped in a pack of Lalvin wine yeast D-47 and put an airlock on top.

It fermented on the counter for about 5 weeks and I used a funnel to fill bottles and dropped in couple of prime-tabs and a shot of honey in each. Two weeks later...really nice cider - very dry, light and clean. Light carbonation and a bright acidity-notes of pear and nuts. The suprising thing to me was how absolutely clear it is; everything floc'd out and it looks like a white wine (tastes a bit like one too).

I'm thinking next year I may buy a several gallons to use; and then eventually get into buying/pressing my own.

Great, another hobby!

Cheers, scamborn

11/23/09 11:03 AM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
I think I mentioned previously I've had an opportunity this year to press a bunch of apples at a farm in PA with friends. We went back last weekend for the 2nd time and pressed about 25 gal of pure Granny Smith plus another 40 gal of a blend of Ozark Gold and Cortland.

So, yet another round of cider-making is under way now. We've just begun bottling some of the first series from early October. Being a 5 gallon batch beer brewer, the volume is kind of blowing my mind.

Also, and perhaps of most interest to this bunch, I have another carboy of all Granny Smith set aside for spontaneous fermentation next to one from the previous batch. The first one is coming along, tasting funky but not undrinkable - a little acetic acid character and some spiciness over a kind of meaty, earthy main taste. We shall see . . . I've saved some sediment from this first one if anyone is interested in checking it out (hi, microbiologists).

The biggest issue I see with our first results is that, while they vary from dry to tart with other complexities that I am happy with, there is not too much distinct apple flavor. Now, while I realize traditional cider fans would likely say that a cider that tastes like apple juice is about as good as a wine that tastes like grape juice, I can see from my co-cidermakers that there is an expectation in the USA at least due to commercial products (Woodchuck, Original Sin) to have more of this.

So, again following SteveG's lead, instead of adding honey or sugar to increase the OG, we decided to reduce some of the cider itself to hopefully concentrate the apple character. One batch we reduced the whole contents from an OG of 1.047 to 1.064 by heating to 170 for ~3 hours. For others we took portions and cooked them down to various extents, getting up to 1.147 in one case, and in another all the way down to an intense near-syrup that I didn't test the gravity of. Should be interesting to see the results.

11/23/09 11:59 AM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
Hey Dave, D-47 is the most recommend yeast choice discussed at Cider Day, good choice!!

Eric, maybe we can compare our efforts some day. Did you hit the cider with pectic enzymes first?

11/23/09 02:30 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
Interesting to hear about Lalvin D-47. For a couple of batches we used their EC-1118 and K1-V1116 and I don't think it has done such a great job. Exceedingly dry and not preserving a lot of fruit qualities. Best results for us to date have been with Saison yeast strains and Red Star Pasteur Champagne.

Steve, we did use campden tablets, pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient on everything except the spontaneous batches. What has been astounding to me is that, regardless of yeast choice or starting gravity (1.046-1.108), all of these batches have uniformly chewed down to 0.996-0.998. I am wondering if the pectic enzyme, in addition to promoting clarity, is also drying out the cider further. Info on it does say that it breaks down carbs and enhances yield.

Hmmm . . .cider swap or a meet-up? Maybe something in the first quarter of 2010?

11/23/09 03:48 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
<<I am wondering if the pectic enzyme, in addition to promoting clarity, is also drying out the cider further.>>

I'd be majorly surprised if that turned out to be the case. Its more than just clarity, years ago I pressed cider then ran hot water over the spent apple stuff. A "second runnings" cider. Juice had pretty good flavor, but after some time, maybe a week or so, it turned thick and snotty textured. Like what you'd expect of a sick lambic, but this was not bacteria related. Pectins are what you add to fruit to make jelly. The hot water activated the apples natural pectins, making for a horrific texture. The enzymes insure that won't happen.

I can say my "fire and ice" cider is really not dry at all. It probably finishes where typical unfortified cider starts. Its not cloying though, really its the most popular cider product I make. The process precludes taking a reliable gravity reading, I'll say though I'm sure it starts out at well over 1.1.

11/24/09 09:36 AM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
Wow, this is a new one. Normally I ferment my enhanced gravity ciders naturally. I keep some cifer aside and let it start to go while the rest is being reduced. But I did one smaller batch with a helthy slurry of Brett A. Dropped to .998 in a month! A prefect blender...
11/24/09 12:20 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?

I also live in WI. I'm not sure where you live in the state, but if you're near southeast WI during harvest season, try Brightonwood Orchard in Burlington for your cider. They have a partner winery, Appletreow, in the barn that produces some amazing cider, perry, and other products.

11/24/09 03:38 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
Hi Jaymo,

I'm in Madison - the appleteow stuff is goood, so I'll look into it next fall. Thanks for the info.

Cheers, David (at Barriques Fitchburg)

11/24/09 06:23 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
Steve, the first batch that we let go spontaneously took about 3 weeks to show activity, then took of with a beer-style primary ferment with some blow-off to boot. (The batches dosed with commercial wine yeast seemed to be much more subdued in the primary).

Interesting that your speedy Brett A. ferment came down to exactly the same FG we've experienced. I am wondering if that is essentially the 'fully fermented' apple level - basically everything edible to yeast being gone.

To get a sweeter product, I was thinking that an FG of at least 1.010 would be desirable, and hoping that the caramelization involved in cooking down the raw cider to near-syrup might help in creating some residual unfermentable sugars.

I see that some people kill of the yeast via more campden tablets or similar and then add sugar, or add unfermentable sugar like lactose etc to get a sweeter hard cider, but I'm not so comfortable with that. The attenuation rate we've been getting is so high, though, that I'm not sure what I'd need to boost the OG to to offset that - sounds from your own 'enhanced gravity' experiments that that could be the way to go . . . although it seems you are working more in the range of say OG 1.100 / FG 1.035 maybe?

04/12/10 03:20 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
Just recently moved to MA an figured I could attend in 2010(with a 9month old) What events would you suggest going to?
04/12/10 04:52 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
When it gets closer to the date they'll have a schedule online. But among the activities are some orchard related things, like an orchard ride. A 9 month old would definately prefer that to a panel discussion on sensory profiles!

There is one participating orchard I've not gone to, its pretty far east. Like an hour or so from the main events. Salem Orchards or something I think. From the description it sounds like they offer some more family oriented stuff.

04/13/10 02:25 PM  
cider cider cider
Not to hijack the thread, but wanted to let you know I've continued with our own cider experiments, with some inspiration from this discussion.

To wit, the Granny Smith ciders we've now done with 2 different types of cooked-down juice have been very interesting, expressing different levels of distinctive green-apple flavor and a sour apple tartness.

Another batch we did in fact try to kill the remaining yeast off with campden tablets, then added some fresh (pasteurized) apple juice to try to make a sweeter, more apple-y still product. This tasted fantastic 2 weeks in, but a tell-tale spritziness warned us that trouble lay ahead. I opened one last week and half the bottle geysered out. The remainder still had some apple flavor and sweetness, but was perceptibly dryer (and quite effervescent!). Will probably try heat pasteurization next time to get a better kill rate . . .

Oh! Almost forgot - also 'jacked' by freezing an 8% neutral tasting batch to about 50% of it's volume. Pretty nice, some perceptible alcohol, the muted flavors slightly boosted but also rounded in that eisbock way.

Would love to share some of these with Babblers at some point for some more discerning feedback!

09/19/10 11:29 AM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
After a Saturday of apple picking and drinking some West Country cider, I am in a cidery mindset and thinking about going to Cider Days this year. Anyone else planning to go?
09/19/10 01:31 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
I already have my room booked. I've gone the last 4 or 5, would not consider missing it!!

Actually just picked my Jonagold tree. Have a bunch of West County's in the fridge...

Oh, and I pressed yesterday. This batch is not for fermenting, next batch though I doing a run of a mock eiscider that I've made the last few years. BTW, this year on Sunday they are doing an eiscider tasting, that seems like a pretty rare type of event.

09/26/10 09:52 PM  
Re: Anyone going to CiderDays?
I saw the Eiscider event on the schedule. I'll likely be driving out from Boston with some friends for a few yet undetermined events.
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