Accidental Lambic Cider
So I accidentally made a lambic-tasting cider. I purchased two gallons of pasteurized pressed cider from Schutt's Apple Mill in Webster, NY. I went on duty for two days (active duty Coast Guard on Lake Ontario), and came home to find my cider had started fermenting without me!:drunk:
So I decided, what the heck, I'll go with it. I started fermenting it, and followed it through. It turns out the yeast was a brett strain (which isn't surprising) and left a very lambic taste in my cider. After further research I learned that brettanomyces isn't always killed off in pasteurizing, thus campden tablets. I have some interesting cider, and SWMBO enjoys it lightly sweetened with xylitol, so I guess it worked out :mug:
But I find myself wondering; does malolactic inoculation remove some of the lambic tang? I'm wondering if I could use this strain (i've got it culturing) to make something similar to a Basque cider.
I've done a wild ferment using juice from Schutt's, KMeta was used to around 100ppm to ward off anything too nasty and let 'er rip. Mine definitely did not come out bretty at all, Saccharomyces taste down to about 1.002 with slight earthy notes to it (pleasantly so, not overwhelming). Bottle pasteurized and over time (5 months now) in the bottle this has aged very well.
Schutt's has a reputation of having yeasty equipment/juice and tends to ferment on it's own.
Are you sure it's a brett strain? Intense barn flavors with some serious horse blanket in a locker room full of band-aids? There are many other types of yeast infections and other faults that are often mis-attributed to brett.
I would not mess with it any more personally. Inducing a MLF will only swap the malic acid to lactic acid, and if the yeast is giving you a sharp sour flavor then the malic acid may in fact be covering up a significant portion of the grossness.
If you want to make a Basque cider, you need really sharp juice/apples to give a citrus character to your 100% dry cider. Here in the states I'd even consider adding a citric acid addition post fermentation to highlight this as needed.
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind. I can't say with any certainty what strain it is; makes me wish I had a microscope to play with. Regardless, the cider has mellowed quite nicely. Looking forward to seeing how it ages. And I'm looking forward to seeing how the next batch comes out; much more controlled conditions.
US Coast Guard
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