I had a really good cider recently that was unusually funky and sour – pretty much like a sour beer but a little drier and sweeter. I made one cider few years ago but it didn’t come out very well. The recipe was a combination of apple cider, honey, some steeping grains, and hops in a short boil; I think i just tried to do too much and the result wasn’t very drinkable. So I gave it another shot and went with some Brett and plain old apple juice. I may also dry-hop this later on if the flavors seem like it could work.
- 3 gallons of Wegmans 100% Apple Juice (not from concentrate, no preservatives)
- 1.5 tsp pectic enzyme
- 2 vials of WLP650 Brett Brux
// Add juice and pectic enzyme to sterilized carboy at room temp, let sit for 45 minutes (covered) before pitching yeast. “brewed” 5/13/15. //
5/15/15 Still no activity in the airlock, starting to get a little nervous. I pitched two vials, but did not oxygenate.. maybe i should have done that. Gave the carboy a couple good swirls.
5/16/15 Almost 72 hours later and finally a raised airlock. Shook the carboy a few more times and got a few bubbles.
5/17/15 1/2″ layer of krausen on the surface, consistent bubbling every 5 seconds or so. Very bright apple juicy smell coming from the airlock.
5/21/15 Gravity at 1013, bubbling every 30s or so. Interesting aroma – sweet apples, but with a sort of soapy, dish-cleaner finish. Taste is much better. A little sweet, but a very delicate apple flavor that doesn’t jump out at you as being overly apple. In fact, it reminds me a lot of champagne – I don’t really drink champagne a lot so it’s hard to describe. Very, very little funk or Brett character, though. The beer already built up a substantial about of carbonation in the carboy.
6/1/15 Really interesting aroma has developed. Smells very much like a wine wine and/or champagne. The taste is very similar, much drier now, only with just a hint of apple in the finish and a very tiny bit of funk. Really like where this is, but I’m struggling on whether i should dry hop it. Nah. Kegged it. Gravity at a whopping 1002!
Brett Cider… A cool experiment that I’d highly recommend any home brewer to try. This was a really nice summer beverage that was dry, crisp, and refreshing. I didn’t really get a lot of funk in the finished cider, but some people said that they did. I kind of wish it was sour and/or more funky. It’s a fairly straightforward cider flavor (from what I’ve experienced in terms of ciders) but with a little extra estery and floral aroma/flavor. Incredible clarity, with a nice apple-y yellow color. Tall white head that dissipates very quickly and fades to nothing with strong bubbles underneath. Dry hopping with something fruity would be an interesting twist to try.
Important tip: I stupidly dumped the brett cake down the sink as i was cleaning up the primary of this batch – the smarter thing to do would have been to just add more apple cider to the carboy to start fermenting another 3-gallon batch right there on the spot!