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Old 02-26-2010, 03:12 PM   #21
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I had a little bit of argument with a person at a local beer bar about where the ridiculous sweetness of Scrumpy's comes from. He said it was due to complex sugars, but I doubt you could get an FG this high with any kind of juice (does juice have that many complex sugars?) unless you either add extra sugar at the start, or backsweeten it somehow, and since the bottle is stamped that it's organic my guess was that they backsweeten it with more juice. Does anyone know if this is the case?
Okay, for those who did not open up my previous link at http://organicscrumpy.com/WhatIsOrganicScrumpy.html, their website says:

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After the harvest, we press our organic apples and allow them to slowly ferment for up to six months. We then carefully hand-fill and label each bottle and let it age for several weeks to properly condition.

There are only two ingredients in our Orchard Gate Gold: Juice and Yeast . No artificial flavors or colours and - of course - no sulfite nor preservatives of any kind.
First off, 100% of apple juice sugars are fermentable, so the complex sugar theory that works on beer does not apply here. There is no added sugar, so that is not the case. So, since most apple juice is around 1.055 yet it is a 6.0% finished product, and somebody here on the forum took a hydrometer reading at 1.025, they are most definitely fermenting dry and back sweetening with apple juice. I just don't know how they are stablizing it to do so.
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Old 02-28-2010, 08:41 PM   #22
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If you are starting with an sg of 1.055, no combination of fermented and unfermented juice will give you an sg of 1.025 and ABV of 6%

I suspect they are sweating their apples in cold storage to about 1.070 or 1.075, which would not be difficult

In interviews, Jim Koan attributes nitrogen limitation as one of the main reasons for the taste, so I suspect they are using nutrient reduction to stop the fermentation, although it could be as simple as post fermentation pasteurization

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Old 02-28-2010, 09:07 PM   #23
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This thread has my head spinning with ideas! Once the local Mennonites get to pressing their apples it's GAME TIME!

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Old 02-28-2010, 11:21 PM   #24
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In interviews, Jim Koan attributes nitrogen limitation as one of the main reasons for the taste, so I suspect they are using nutrient reduction to stop the fermentation, although it could be as simple as post fermentation pasteurization
Wait, do you think he meant keeving when he said nitrogen limitation, or could it be limiting the nitrogen to the trees?
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:26 AM   #25
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FYI, traditional scrumpy is made by adding protein to the batch and letting it degrade a bit. Many farmers add beef, pork, or mussles. Some choose to add blood from culled animals, and some tend to simply add egg ('safe' scrumpy). I lived in the south of England for years. When you walk into a local pub and see the big oak barrel on the counter just dropped off by the local farmer, yer' in for a treat.

I don't know for a fact how protein helps the fermentation or nitrogen content but, as biochem was part of my education, I can speculate and offer a (fuzzily) educated proposition. As protein degrades it releases proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes break down amino acids which would eventually end up as free nitrogen. Some of the released enzymes are glucanases which break down heavier chains of glucose (e.g. beta-glucose) into alpha glucose which the yeast can utilize.

I don't believe that anyone nowadays would use raw meat or egg in brew, but perhaps a proteolytic enzyme or some concoction of 'degradation enzyme' is added to maintain the low N concentration for flavor and increase usable glucose for higher alcohol content?

Just some thoughts.

Edit: Did a quick search for Devon Scrumpy and came up with a recipe on the firt hit that requires '2lbs raw meat' (http://www.devon-calling.com/food%20...rink/cider.htm). Come to think of it, when I was brewing beer many moons ago I recall a medieval recipe in (I think) Papazian's 'Joy of Brewing' which required a raw chicken to be added during fermentation.

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Old 03-01-2010, 02:46 AM   #26
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Wait, do you think he meant keeving when he said nitrogen limitation, or could it be limiting the nitrogen to the trees?
He meant limiting nitrogen to the trees - which will in turn reduce the amount of nitrogen in the juice. Getting a fermentation to stick at a high fg is fairly easy with low nitrogen juice. Unfortunately most commercial growers over fertilize to pump up their weight and juice yields, but you can still find growers who care more about taste than volume.

I believe the traditional reason people added meat to cider was to get enough nutrients for a complete fermentation, because back in the day there was no nitrogen fertilizer other than animal waste. Maybe the protein adds some body.

Personally, I like the taste of bacon, but not in my cider. To each his/her own
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Old 03-01-2010, 03:28 AM   #27
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About protein - Andrew Lea's website reads:

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The next addition is that of vitamins and yeast nutrient. These may be bought as such or may be added as thiamine and ammonium sulphate (or phosphate) respectively. The dosage rate is up to 0.2 milligrams per litre of thiamine and up to 300 milligrams per litre of ammonium salt. This is what was meant by 'amino nitrogen' in Table 1 of the previous article, and it is needed by the yeast to make protein and amino acids for its own growth. (This is not unlike human and animal nutrition - the yeast's carbohydrate or energy source is of course the apple sugar which is not in short supply!) Apple juices are generally very low in yeast nutrients (unlike beer worts or grape musts) and so your fermentation rate will probably be much improved if you add these. The fermentation is also much less likely to 'stick' or to grind to a halt before completion. The cider can therefore be racked and bottled sooner, reducing the chances of spoilage in store. On the other hand, it is undeniable that some of the finest ciders are fermented very slowly without the addition of nutrients, but the risks of failure are correspondingly greater. You pays your money and you takes your choice! Traditional cider-makers used to hang a leg of mutton or a side of beef in the fermenting vat to boost the nutrient levels. The meat broke down slowly in the acid juice, releasing soluble amino nitrogen which the yeast could use for growth. The supposed requirement of a few dead rats in every vat is a more colourful manifestation of the same idea!
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:05 AM   #28
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Traditional cider-makers used to hang a leg of mutton or a side of beef in the fermenting vat to boost the nutrient levels. The meat broke down slowly in the acid juice, releasing soluble amino nitrogen which the yeast could use for growth.
Hmm... I suppose so, but keep in mind that the "traditional" cure for botulism poisoning was to bleed the patient with leeches and then blame evil spirits when said patient inevitably died. Basic sanitation is a relatively recent concept

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The supposed requirement of a few dead rats in every vat is a more colourful manifestation of the same idea!
If by "colourful" he means "only your most hardcore alcoholic friends will touch the stuff and you have long since abandoned all hopes of getting laid", then um... sure....whatever works
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Old 08-24-2010, 04:54 PM   #29
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BUMP

Has anyone made any concerted attempts to match J.K.'s yet?

I sent an email to Bruce Wright (listed on their website) last night asking for any general advice, haven't heard back yet.

I'm pretty set on doing some experiments with this in the coming fall months. I've found an organic apple orchard (nitrogen fertilizer-free) within driving distance of where I live, and am waiting till they've had a few more pressings before I buy their juice (to get a pretty well mixed contribution of apples). Once I've got the juice, I plan on doing a couple separate 1 g batches to test out a couple different methods of doing things.

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Old 08-25-2010, 02:11 AM   #30
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I've been hearing back from Bruce, and he's been giving a couple helpful tid-bits.

For one, they don't use the champagne yeast any longer. They've found that since beginning several years back, they now have a large enough wild yeast culture going, and are fermenting in such large quantities, that the commercial yeast is no longer needed.

Beyond that, he's basically been confirming a lot of the suppositions on this thread. I have a couple more questions off to him, regarding bottle conditioning and if they sweat their apples, so I'll keep the thread updated.

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