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-   -   Anyone sucessfully done a JK Scrumpys clone? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/anyone-sucessfully-done-jk-scrumpys-clone-125852/)

Elfmaze 06-28-2009 02:41 PM

Anyone sucessfully done a JK Scrumpys clone?
I just had some of Scrumpys cider for the first time. Way different from any other commercial ciders i have tried(woodchuck, thornsbee(?) etc)

The scrumpys was much more of a appley cider taste. Ingredients were cider and yeast. No sulfites.

Any ideas how they make this stuff? ive searched. Didn't find much but references too it.

JoeSponge 06-28-2009 06:40 PM

JKS is da BOM! Ok, sorry. JKs is awesome. It is my favorite commercial brew. A clone would be awesome. I also looked around but haven't seen anything.

JKS is made on their farm/orchard/?? from their own apples.

Interestingly, J. K. of JK Scumpy's shows up on the forums occasionally. He will also occasionally mention that his wife, K., claims that the K in JK is for her. :-D

AFAIR, it's all made on their farm, bottled by hand, including labels. I mention the labels, because of the running joke about most of the labels being on crooked (that, coupled with the stringent need to sample the scrumpy to ensure high quality... ;-)


Stratotankard 06-28-2009 06:49 PM

Is JK Scrumpy the same as Scrumpy Jack (from England)? I love me some Scrumpy Jack and would love a good clone recipe. Wish I had more to add, but I'll keep watching here.


Elfmaze 06-29-2009 03:10 AM

i listened to an interview with JK. 50 degrees. 8-9 months. slow ferment, but how can u do no sulfides? pasteurize?

JoeSponge 06-29-2009 04:56 AM

IIRC, "Scrumpy" is a generic term for English "farm house" cider... usually a pretty informal drink. I think that it is usually naturally fermented (yeasts left on the apples and occuring naturally in the juice). I have read that you can (could) buy it by the gallon.

"Scrumpy Jack" is a brand name (for an English cider).

JK Scrumpy is an American brand. I believe that it is natural yeast only, but someone said that they thought that the JK had champaign yeast added at the last part for some reason (finishing? Carbination? higher ABV?).

If English scrumpy or Scrumpy Jack tastes like JK Scrumpy's, I'd buy it by the gallon, for sure.

Where did you find an interview? Podcast?

Re: no sulfides: I am guessing that is it a mix of
having a low-alc fermenting yeast,
racking off the cider while it's in a cold state,
and the low temps for commercial and customer storage keeping any remaining yeast in a dormant state.

Just guessing.

david_42 06-29-2009 01:48 PM

I've never had JK Scrumpy, but the best cider I've run across was Newton's Folly, a 100% Granny Smith cider. It has a strong apple aroma and flavor. I've noticed the more tart (cooking) apples in a cider, the better the flavor. Sweet (eating) apples ferment down to nothing.

Elfmaze 06-29-2009 08:11 PM

The interview he did is posted on his website ORGANIC SCRUMPY J.K. SCRUMPY CIDER Its an MP3 interview in the bottom right of the page.

Elfmaze 06-29-2009 08:12 PM


Originally Posted by JoeSponge (Post 1404807)
@Re: no sulfides: I am guessing that is it a mix of
having a low-alc fermenting yeast,
racking off the cider while it's in a cold state,
and the low temps for commercial and customer storage keeping any remaining yeast in a dormant state.

Sounded good untill the cold storage. bottles are stored on shelf not cooled :confused:

CvilleKevin 06-30-2009 03:44 AM

Elfmaze - Thanks for the interview link. That was very interesting and helpful.

I don’t know about a “clone”, but you can make a decent farmhouse cider in the same style as a JK Scrumpy by a) starting with unpasteurized fresh pressed juice that is a blend of good apples – whatever are the best cider apples in your area, b) keep handling of the juice to a minimum and keep everything scrupulously clean, because wild yeast ferments can easily pick up weird flavors c) let the cider ferment with just the natural yeast at as low a temp as possible and d) stop the fermentation before it gets below 1.020 or so.

The FG of flat, JK Scrumpy at room temp is 1.024. I measured one last year also and it was 1.028. I don’t know if that is because they vary from batch to batch, or maybe last year I didn’t wait for it to go completely flat and there were some bubbles on the hydrometer.

As JoeSponge pointed out on an earlier exchange (which is why I double checked this eve – plus a good excuse to drink another Scrumpy), an FG of 1.024 plus six percent alcohol, means that the SG of their starting juice must be at least 1.072. That’s a lot of sugar, but certainly not impossible. I got a batch of Staymans and Romes this past season that was at 1.064. I have heard of “sweating” apples to increase the sugar content, so my guess is that it is possible to bump the SG to 1.072 if you have full control over the cold storage process. For the rest of us, it is certainly possible to get a good blend of juice that is in the 1.050 to 1.060 range and end up with a similar end product with a little less punch. Personally, I like it just a tad dryer, so you could let it go to 1.010 to 1.015 and it will still be very nice.

As far as stopping it goes, cold crashing will do the trick. But then you have to either drink it still or force carbonate it in a keg. I’d go with the keg. Once you start kegging you wont go back.

So how does Scrumpy’s stop the fermentation and bottle without cold crashing and forced carbonation?

I think the biggest clue is in the interview where JK said that because they use no fertilizers, they have low levels of nitrogen in their apples. Remember, he said that nitrogen hinders the development of flavor and growth. That is really, really interesting, because nitrogen is also a necessary yeast nutrient. A lot of people ADD nitrogen to prevent stuck fermentations. My guess is that JK has figured out how to induce a stuck fermentation by limiting nitrogen. That is probably more reliable than coming up with a yeast with a low alcohol tolerance.

Nitrogen levels can be measured in wine, but it takes some expensive kit. My guess is that after five generations of cider making, the Koan family has figured out how to tell when the nitrogen is getting low enough that the yeast will starve. If you add some champagne yeast and bottle right before the nitrogen runs completely out, that ought to do the trick!

If you want to test this theory, take a bottle of JK scrumpy and add some DAP. My guess is that it will start fermenting like nobody’s business. However, even if I am right I am not sure how helpful that really is, because then trick is how do you tell when nitrogen is so low that you are about to get a stuck fermentation without a lot of expense? If anyone knows the answer to this, then we might have something! Be warned though that one of the signs of a ferment running low on nitrogen is excessive sulfur production, so you’d better have a tolerant S.O. while working out whatever kinks there might be in this process.

I was happy to hear that they use Johnathans in their mix, cause those are one of the first good cider apples that will be available next Fall here in Central VA. C’mon September! I’ve heard good things about Northern Spys before. There is a place that sells them here but they are expensive. I guess that’s because they are outside of their growing range. Staymen, Winesap, York, and Granny Smith are usually plentiful, and I’m pretty happy with those so far.

JoeSponge 07-05-2009 01:54 AM

I'll have to listen to the interview again. What I got out of the data was that they starve oxygen during the fermentation (or was it storage?) phase... something about having equipment that extracts oxygen and puts the remaining gas mix back into the room.

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