Category Archives: Cider

Cranberry/Peach Cider Tasting

DSC_0018Appearance: Light pink with reddish highlights, medium haze and a thin white head that fades quickly.

Aroma: Ripe red apples, fresh clean fruits, lavender.

Mouthfeel: Champagne-like, slightly thin with prickly carbonation.

Flavor: Most noticeably peach and apple with some very subtle berries in the finish. Initial sweetness fades to slight tartness. Faint alcohol in the finish too.

Overall: Very refreshing beverage, but just a little too sweet for my liking. It figures – my goal was to leave this one a little sweeter than the last but I think I just prefer ciders dry. This reminds me of a sweeter “blush” type wine like a white zinfandel. The mild acidity works really well with the fruity sweetness. The cranberry could afford to be much bigger, but it did provide a nice accent to the peach.

 

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Filed under Cider, Tasting

Cranberry Peach Cider

IMG_1025Since Wegman’s juices are so awesome, I went back and picked up more to make another cider. This time I used the Cranberry/Peach one, along with some regular apple juice, to make a quick summer-y beverage. This time I’ll try to “catch” it before it hits 1.000 gravity to retain a little more sweetness.

  • (4) 64 oz bottles of Cranberry/Peach White Grape Juice
  • (2) 64 oz bottles of natural style Apple Juice
  • 1 packet WLP001
  • 0.25 tsp yeast nutrient

// Add juice to carboy, shake each one for 10-20 seconds before. Add yeast and nutrient. Nice light pink color. Brewed 6/27/16. //

6/28/16:  Big, 3 inch thick krausen.

7/17/16:  Gravity down to 1005. Caught it! Great fruit flavor and sweetness, ready to keg. Tasting notes.

 

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Peach Cider w/ Citra – Tasting Notes

The inspiration for this recipe came after tasting the Brewers Best Peach Cider kit at my LHBS. They had it on tap for customers to taste, and, even me not being a big cider guy, I was blown away by how good it was. Bright, juicy, crisp, not overly sweet, and most of all super drinkable. I checked out the packaging in the store, and the ingredients had loads of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and preservatives (womp womp), so I didn’t buy it. I decided to try and make something similar based on ciders and other non-alcoholic things I’ve tasted before.

Wegman’s “natural style” apple juice has made consistently good cider for me. All of their apple juice is 100% juice without preservatives and I think the “natural” label means it’s slightly less filtered compared to its counterpart which is crystal clear. It’s a little cloudy and I think it has a much more rounded and smooth apple flavor.  This, plus WLP001 was the starting point for the recipe.

Then for the peach. The white-grape-peach juice from Wegmans is delicious on its own, too. It’s more peachy than grape in flavor, so I went with this. The citra hops were an afterthought – I thought it needed a little “edge” after tasting the batch halfway through.

Appearance: Extremely pale, like a wit. Slightly hazy. White head that fizzles quickly to nothing.

Aroma: Peach, pear, all-around tropical. Sort of fruity white wine cooler-ish.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thin, but spritzy.

Flavor: Good balance of fruit and acidity.  No single fruit jumps out at first, but the peach comes a little later followed by apple.

Overall: Very nice spring/summer sipper. Almost reminds be of a less sweet, more tart Moscato white wine. Next time I might to catch it before it hits 1.000 gravity to retain some sweetness, but it’s fine dried out like this, too. The ratio of apple to peach juice was pretty spot on – if anything I would go up a little more with the peach (adding some fresh peaches would be nice too), but I think 100% of the peach juice would be too tart given how balanced it is now.

 

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Filed under Cider, Experimental, Hoppy, Small Batch, Summer, Tasting

Peach Cider dry-hopped w/ Citra

Quick recipe for a cider using apple and white-grape-peach juice from Wegmans.

  • 2 gal white grape peach juice (100% juice from concentrate)
  • 1 gal “Natural Style” apple juice (100% juice)
  • 1/2 oz Citra hops.
  • 1 vial WLP001
  • 0.25 tsp yeast nutrient

// Pour apple juice, yeast, and nutrient into carboy. Brewed 5/5/16. Signs of fermentation about 6 hours after pitching. //

5/12/16: Fermentation still going strong (1″ layer of yeast on top), but took a sample anyway. Gravity at 1020. Slightly sweet, but good peach flavor. I could live with something more tropical, so added 1/2 oz Citra pellets to the carboy and shook.

5/18/15:  Fermentation seemed to still be going strong up until today when it abruptly stopped. Gravity at 1.000 – go figure. Pretty thin, slightly tart, but overall pleasant fruity peach and apple flavors. Moved to the fridge to crash cool.

5/21/15: Kegged and carbing at 15 psi for 1 day. Should carbonate pretty quick because it’s only 3 gallons, and it’s so thin. Tasting notes.

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Brett Lambicus Cider

The Brett cider I made a few months ago turned out awesome. It was my first successful cider that tasted really clean and dry, with just a touch of funk. I wanted more funk, though. I redid the same recipe but switched over to using Brett Lambicus as well as unfiltered apple juice instead of filtered. After tasting the juices side by side I really liked the unfiltered more – it has a really smooth apple flavor that comes across as softer and with less of a bite than the filtered (at room temperature that is).

  • 3 gallons Wegmans unfiltered apple juice
  • 1 vial White Labs Brett Lambicus

// Pour cider into carboy. Pitch vial into carboy. Done. Made 8/23/15. //

After 3 weeks in the primary this beer tasted weird. It had a super funky flavor – smoke, hay, with some weird cheese flavors. After thinking about it for a while, it tastes like a strongly flavored funky smoked cheese. So weird. The gravity is at 1004 so I gave the carboy a good shake to help it finish out.

5 weeks in the primary the gravity dropped to 1.000. Much cleaner, funkier flavor with more of a crisp apple presence too. Added 1/2 of an oak spiral directly to the glass carboy. Small pellicles starting to form on the surface of the cider, but it is also clearing up significantly.

THE VERDICT

Sadly, I had to dump this batch. I let it go for a total of about 3 months in the primary aging on the oak spiral, and the level of weird funk unfortunately took over. I don’t know whether it was  the Brett Lambicus being just too weird for my palate, or if these would actually be considered off flavors. It had flavors and aromas that reminded me of a stinky, sharp tasting cheese (along with the usual barnyard Brett character). I really don’t know where these flavors came from (maybe oxidation? i thought that would produce vinegar, though), but there was evidence of it all the way from early on to the very end. I even tried blending it with other beers like a saison to see if it added just a bit of complexity – nope, it just added stinky cheese notes and ruined whatever it touched! I hate dumping batches, but there was just too much to waste a tap spot; it would have been painful to get through 3 gallons of this stuff. Brett Brux seems like the way to go for a cleaner, more tolerable funky cider.

 

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Filed under Cider, Experimental, Funky / Sour, Gluten Free, Small Batch

Brett Brux Cider

IMG_0921I 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!

THE VERDICT

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!

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Filed under Cider, Experimental, Funky / Sour