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Old 10-11-2012, 01:28 AM   #1
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Default Apple pie liqueur chill haze?

Hi all, new fish here. My name is Brian, 43, from Connecticut. Not a beer brewer, but I could use some assistance.

I began makin apple pie liqueur last year after seeing a recipe posted on an ice fishing forum I'm on. It's cheap, tasty, popular with friends, and has become a bit of a "hobby" since I enjoy cooking. I wound up doing 30 quarts last season, and they lasted until a few weeks ago.
The hobby part of this is wanting to filter and clarify it as much as possible. 2 of my batches last year had what I initially called "dust bunnies" that would form into the bottom of the bottle.

Most batches I just wound up with a thin layer of grayish sediment and clear amber goodness.
1'st batch this year was awesome, best yet since I've learned to refine my hillbilly process. My 2'nd worst, and mostly cloudy. Figured the whole time it was the apple solids, but after doing research I came across chill haze when brewing beer. It sounds a LOT like the random "dust bunny" batches I'm getting.

Please help. Is the cooling process my wild card?

Basic recipe I use per batch is the following:
1/2 gal of premium unconcentrated apple juice on the grocery store shelf (pasturized)
1/2 gal of local cider from the orchards in town "parurized"
1.5 cups sugar
3 or 4 cinnamon sticks, some nutmeg, and a little vanilla extract.
-------------------------------------
1 liter Graves grain alcohol

The cider I let sit in the fridge for a week or so and settle, then siphon it out of the jug from the top down, and leave the sludge behind. That goes in the pot with the rest of the ingredients and I simmer covered for 1/2 hour.
I let it sit for 20 minutes and then comes my "filtering" process while hot. A coffee filter in my flour sieve and I ladle in a couple scoops of the juice per filter and use a panning technique to use all the filter since it loads up pretty quick.

I filter it twice using this method (takes an hour), and then give the pot a cool water bath so I can add the grain alcohol and bottle it.
After that it goes into clear glass "settling tanks", and then into the fridge.
Normally in a few days the light sediment goes to the bottom. I then siphon this off into my final product reserves. Done...
Now, within 24 hours I know when it's not settling. It then sits in the fridge until it clots up good, then I filter it through a stack of jelly bags. I lose a little, but it's a PITA.

So, what am I doing wrong? All suggestions are welcome.
Thanks for reading!

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Old 10-12-2012, 05:20 AM   #2
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Have you tried using pectic enzyme? I have also had good luck clearing ciders using honey to back sweeten, don't know why but it seems to come out much clearer.

Boiling can also cause the 'haze' to set and make it very hard to clear.

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Old 10-12-2012, 05:27 AM   #3
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Yes. Sounds like pectic haze from boiling the juice. Try pectic enzyme.

Other clarifiers that may help include whirlfloc, and gelatin. The idea isn't to turn your mixture into jelly, but rather have the gelatin cling to particles that are in suspension, making them heavier and causing them to fall more quickly to the bottom.

You can also purchase filters that work under pressure. They do a great job, but can be finnicky to use. You will probably need a compressed gas source to force the fluid through the filters.

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Old 10-12-2012, 05:15 PM   #4
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Try pectic enzyme if the mill hasn't done that.

Why are you simmering everything? In general, in order to retain the cider's natural apple flavor, we try to heat it as little as possible.

If it's just to dissolve the sugar, and extract flavor from your spices, just throw it all in Pyrex container with some water, and microwave it. You could also put the spices in vodka for a few days to extract the flavor, and dissolve the sugar in some water separately. If you want to use cider to dissolve the sugar instead of water you can, but there's no need to use a gallon.

Whatever you do, add the vanilla when your done with everything else and it's all cold, or else it will just evaporate.

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Old 10-13-2012, 04:07 AM   #5
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I'm new to fiddling with apple juices in any form, and haven't heard of pectic enzyme. This is a recipe I found online and focused on.

Any clues as to why 80% of the time I have a product that has a little dust settling on the bottom, and moderate to serious hazing the other 20%? I suppose I can try variations in heating cooling methods and take notes, but I've tried to stay consistent in my methods since it mostly works.

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