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Old 11-01-2012, 07:44 PM   #1
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Default Alternative Method for Freeze Concentration

I've been looking online for freeze concentration methods (which are legal in the US) and found that most people freeze a milk jug of their cider and then turn it upside down and let the alcohol drain off.
Could I not also just toss a bucket of cider in the freezer and skim off the ice as it form until the volume is say half of the original? Would this yield the same results?

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:04 PM   #2
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I made an Eisbock last weekend with the method you are describing. It was difficult to say the least. When scooping, the agitasion melts the ice. Also quite a bit of good product is stuck to the ice. I wish I had known about the jug method you described.

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:04 PM   #3
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As long as your only skimming ice I don't see why it wouldn't work. But how do you plan on freezing just the top? My experience with freeze concentrating has been that it freezes in varying levels of slushiness and doesn't seperate on its own

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:18 PM   #4
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dawgmatic, the whole thing would be freezing, but the ice would rise to the top because it's less dense. Would the jug method leave behind any less of the alcohol than the freezer bucket method?
The big bucket, while more work intensive, would be easier in my situation that buying a bunch of milk jugs and mason jars.
I would do the second options if better, but ideally not.

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Old 11-01-2012, 09:52 PM   #5
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I wouldn't know, I use a gallon jug whenever I do it. Whenever I make cider or mead I pull a gallon off to freeze it, I never do more than that though so its never been a pain. I let it freeze as much as it can, then I stab a wooden shishkabob skewer down into it a couple time to make some channels, then I put it upside down over a jar. Usually by the time its at half volume the color has almost entirely left the jug. Anything left behind still has some of the flavors, but never tastes like alcohol, the drainings on the otherhand are another story.

If you want to freeze a large batch, why don't you try freezing it in a bottling bucket, then just open the drain when your ready to seperate it. It might take awhile, but it might also be a lot less effort on your part

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Old 11-01-2012, 09:56 PM   #6
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It doesn't just freeze on top, it freezes on the sides, too and that's where you get a larger volume of ice. The reason the jug method works so easily is because you end up with that core of concentrated beer/cider/whatever in the middle that you can drain out and leave all the ice behind.

I guess you could scoop out all the ice from the top and then rack the core out and leave the ice in the sides and bottom.

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Old 11-02-2012, 02:25 AM   #7
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I've only done freeze concentrating in a freezer one time. I used a 10 qt icecream pail. Usually, I wait until it is colder than an Alaskan well digger's bum and set the pail in my garage. We usually get a cold spell around the end of January, early February where it gets below zero for a few days. Anyway...

Once my cider or beer has frozen, I stir it gently with a stick like a chopstick. This breaks up the ice into pretty coarse crystals. I let the slush sit in the cold for another day so all the stuff that is still liquid can percolate to the bottom of the pail. Then I scoop out the ice (frozen water) and gently stir again. I continue this process until the weather threatens to warm up or I think there is no point in continuing. I pour the remaining slushy liquid through a fine mesh strainer to get the last bit of ice.

Homemade blackberry wine, cherry wine and various apple concotions lend themselves quite nicely to this process. Patience really pays off. I have an apple wine concentrate flavored with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg that is just wonderful poured over a bit of icecream. I also have a 6 year old applejack that will knock your socks off.

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:35 PM   #8
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Great tips guys. I have a 5 gallon bottling bucket that just barely fits in my freezer that I'll use like dawgmatic mentioned.
You're right, Apache, the way I originally intended to do it would be too labor intensive and even more inexact.

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:40 PM   #9
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One thing though: how would I keep the spigot from freezing up initially and blocking the flow?

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Old 11-02-2012, 11:41 PM   #10
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Oh, and are their issues with oxidation?

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