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Old 10-07-2008, 06:56 PM   #1
Mikey1976
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Default Cider with Blackberry Honey

I made my first attempt at a Hard Cider last year with 5 gallons of freshly crushed/pressed apples from an Aunts tree. I did not follow any recipies, just "threw in" some things I thought would be good. These included cinnamon, cloves, honey, brown sugar, and nutmeg. The final result, after all was said and done, turned out very good, and was well liked by all my family and friends.

The major mistake that I made, was not writing anything down during the process, since it was more of a "wing-it" style.

This year I have spent a lot of time checking out all of your recepies and Ideas, which I want to thank all of you.

Now, on to my question! My wife bought some locally made "Blackberry Honey" that I am thinking of using in this batch of cider, or I guess it will be Cyser. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? I am also thinking of adding some natural blackberry flavoring to give it a little more.

Please give me your honest opinions and comments.

Thanks

Mikey

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Old 10-07-2008, 07:22 PM   #2
Tusch
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I highly recommend real fruit over "flavoring" You can get as much fruit flavor as you want, and you get the beautiful colors.

Also, experimenting with different honeys is a great idea. There's a local(ish) bee keeper that sells at a store near me in varying sizes. This allows me to buy a squeeze bottle of a few kinds, trying the flavor before I lay some big cash on enough honey for a full mead batch. Just bought a small bit of blueberry blossom and wild raspberry this morning.

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Old 10-07-2008, 07:31 PM   #3
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Thanks for the ideas. When using real fruit, do I crush the blackberries and add it in primary?

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Old 10-07-2008, 07:49 PM   #4
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I've never used blackberries, but plan on next season. I believe thry can have a lot of pulp and seeds to block up racking. Some might suggest using a mesh bag to help out, not sure if it's necessary. Wait for someone more experienced with them to chime in, perhaps yopper or big kahuna.

What I would recommend is freezing them. Whether they are fresh or already frozen. If frozen, thaw, then freeze again. The freezing helps to break down the cell walls, allowing more flavor and color to come out of the fruit.

I personally believe in fruit additions to go in secondary, I feel it gets more flavor into the brew. So ferment a "traditional" mead (water or juice, honey, nutrients) then rack onto your fruit. Fruit amounts depend on how much flavor you want to add, between 1-3 lbs per gallon.

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Meads: Hababero and Sarrano Capiscumel, Show Mead possibly getting split and flavored, and 12 gallons of Bochet Deliciousness
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:04 PM   #5
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Working with whole fruit has a few more steps. You'll want a few basic supplies too.
Medium size pot: hold liquid until you put it in a carboy.
Campden tablets: helps sterilize the fruit, prevents wild yeast, bacteria
Pectin enzyme: chemically breaks down cell walls. Helps improve juice yields.
Strainer bag: Something to squeeze the berries. Usually cheesecloth, other things work too.

Step 1: Pick out leaves, sticks, bugs, rotten berries. None of those taste very good.
Step 2: Freeze the berries. This helps break down cell walls.
Step 3: Put berries in the bag, and add enough water/juice to cover. If you're making a blackberry cider, you'll probably want apple juice. Add campden and pectin enzyme. Directions are on the jars. You can find them at a LHBS. Cover the pot.
Step 4: WAIT 24 HOURS. AFTER you have waited, add your yeast. The campden will kill your yeast if you add it before that.
Step 5: Stir and smush the berries once a day.
Step 6: Repeat step 5 for a week.
Step 7: Pull out the bag. Squeeze the bag until you can't get any more liquid out. Pour all the liquid into your carboy. You can add stuff like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg here.
Step 8: Top off with juice/water. Whatever you used in step 3. Be sure to leave about 1-2 inches of space at the top. You will have krausen. Cork it, and add an airlock.
Step 9: Wait. FOREVER.

Did I miss anything? Do too much? Feel free to contradict.

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Fermenting: Blackberry Wine
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Old 10-07-2008, 09:46 PM   #6
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Hey will, why do you suggest that it is necessary to bring the juice/water to heat first? Are you saying this because of the use of frozen berries?

In the past, since I haven't used fresh fruit yet, I have not worried about killing nasties on frozen berries. I don't personally feel the need, but I have been wrong before. I freeze all the fruit, then let it thaw completely before adding it to my carboy. That way I don't have to worry about heating my juice.

I will say, will's process is the safest way to handle the fruit. The only thing I don't do like him is to heat my juice, but everything else is perfect, no contradictions here.

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Meads: Hababero and Sarrano Capiscumel, Show Mead possibly getting split and flavored, and 12 gallons of Bochet Deliciousness
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Old 10-07-2008, 10:22 PM   #7
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Thank you both for the great advice. I will start this tonight.

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Old 10-07-2008, 10:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikey1976 View Post

My wife bought some locally made "Blackberry Honey" that I am thinking of using in this batch of cider, or I guess it will be Cyser.... I am also thinking of adding some natural blackberry flavoring to give it a little more.

Mikey

I'm not sure if I'm taking your question the right way, but don't expect the blackberry honey to give your cyser a blackberry flavor.

+1 on adding fruit in the secondary. I think you retain more flavor that way and sanitation is less of an issue due to the alcohol.

I made a blackberry mead this summer. I added the fruit in the secondary. I washed and then froze the berries in a ziplock. I put the berries in a food processor and then into a nylon mesh bag. I racked the mead into a bucket and added the bag of blackberries. I left the bag in there for about three weeks. My blackberries didn't really float, but some people add sanitized marbles to the bag to keep the fruit from being in contact with the air.
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Old 10-08-2008, 12:44 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tusch View Post
Hey will, why do you suggest that it is necessary to bring the juice/water to heat first? Are you saying this because of the use of frozen berries?
Look closer. I never said to heat anything. I said to put it in a pot. Depending on the amount of berries, you can also use a fermentation bucket. I'll probably need to pick one up when I try my hand at mulberry wine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GinKings View Post
+1 on adding fruit in the secondary. I think you retain more flavor that way and sanitation is less of an issue due to the alcohol.
I have yet to try adding stuff to secondary. So far, I haven't wanted to clean out berry goo from the bottom of my carboy.
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Fermenting: Blackberry Wine
Aging: Mulberry Wine, Mint Mead, Dandelion Wine, Mesquite Mead
Drinking: Apfelwein
On Hand: Peach Mango Wine, Huck's Cider, Mulberry Mead, Orange Spice Mead, Cyser, Apfelwein, Maple Cinnamon Mead, Hard Cider, Brown Sugar Cider


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Old 10-08-2008, 12:48 PM   #10
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I must have read that 4 or 5 times and just now understood it... Man what is wrong with me.

Yeah what he said is pretty much exactly what I do, and what you should do

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Meads: Hababero and Sarrano Capiscumel, Show Mead possibly getting split and flavored, and 12 gallons of Bochet Deliciousness
Ciders:3 Ciders with differing additives TBD, Strawberry/Apple Cider
Wine: Black Cherry Vanilla Port
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