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Old 06-05-2012, 06:07 PM   #1
MattTimBell
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Default applejack recipe for a homebrewer

Hi all,

I'm a homebrewer, having never dabbled in cider. I've recently become fascinated with freeze concentration, and am thinking about trying my hand at making some applejack. I'm a bit confused on some details though, and thought I'd ask the experts.

First, the recipes I've read say that either cider or apfelwein can be used as a base. The apfelwein recipes seem stronger and more interesting to me, but they also sound like they ordinarily need to age months before they can be drunk on their own. If I were to use an apfelwein recipe, would I need to let it age before freeze concentrating it, or could I concentrate and then age, tasting periodically to occupy the learning process, of course

Second, I've read some recipes for caramel apfelwein that sound really interesting. I've used both caramel and caramelized wort in my brewing before and have loved both. The thought of using that instead of the brown sugar / molasses charactersting of some of the recipes I've read seems really interesting. But, is it *actually* interesting, or is it a bad idea for something to be turned into applejack?

Finally, I'm thinking of aging on oak cubes. Any experience with this for cider / jack?

Thanks!

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Old 06-05-2012, 08:06 PM   #2
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I have one freeze concentration under my belt.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/free...riment-324124/

I havn't gotten around to my 2nd effort yet that i mentioned in that thread.

I still have the qt from my first experiment aging on the shelf. My findings were that the process really concentrates the flavors. It started with a nice cinnamon flavor and after concentration it was nearly overpowering.

I am planning to do some more experiments with it in the future. I'm thinking it may be a good way to salvage a cider that turns out tasting a little blah....may help to concentrate the apple flavor.

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Old 06-06-2012, 05:22 PM   #3
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roady, thanks! So, I suspect from your description that the thing to do would be to ferment, then freeze concentrate, then age the jack on oak til the oak reaches a desirable level. I think I'm going to try the following experimental batch:

2 gal apple juice
1/2 lb caramelized sugar
1/2 lb dextrose
fermented on S-04

Freeze concentrate using a freezer that can reach about -20degC (reportedly gets the concentrated portion to about 27% ABV), then age the results on oak in a jug, possibly in the freezer, until ready for use.

Which leads me to one more question: where is it best to age? The freezer would be out of the way, which would be great, but would it so slow the aging process as to make it not worth while?

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Old 06-06-2012, 05:26 PM   #4
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freeze concentrating is a no no to mention on this forum . . . think it falls under the whole distillation thing legally

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Old 06-06-2012, 05:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Pumbaa
freeze concentrating is a no no to mention on this forum . . . think it falls under the whole distillation thing legally
And you would be wrong
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:13 PM   #6
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Freeze concentrate using a freezer that can reach about -20degC (reportedly gets the concentrated portion to about 27% ABV), then age the results on oak in a jug, possibly in the freezer, until ready for use.

Which leads me to one more question: where is it best to age? The freezer would be out of the way, which would be great, but would it so slow the aging process as to make it not worth while?
I froze 1 time overnite in a standard household freezer at 0 F. It was pretty well frozen solid. (Made sure the cap was loose and that I had a little head space)
I had it in a plastic 1/2 gallon juice jug.

To thaw I simply inverted over a quart jar and let drip until jar was full. I then thawed the remainder over 2nd jar. As you can see in pics the 2nd qt was pretty much clear.

I probably should have bottled in 375 ml wine bottles but I just left it to age in the mason jar. I have some oak chips........maybe I'll give that a shot. Never used oak before. An ounce in a qt for 2 weeks enough?
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:40 PM   #7
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A colleague of mine, who is more experienced at homebrewing than I, gave me a lot of advice about cidering and freeze-distilling. He said that his group did it once, and it was very easy, just scrape the slush off the top every couple of days. This pulls out the water, leaving behind the alcohol, but also leaves behind every flavonoid and impurity. Thus, it tastes like sweet delicious apple-juice, but goes down so smooth that you're like to make yourself blind. He also confirmed that it gave him the worst hangover he's had his entire life.

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Old 06-06-2012, 10:16 PM   #8
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This pulls out the water, leaving behind the alcohol, but also leaves behind every flavonoid and impurity. Thus, it tastes like sweet delicious apple-juice, but goes down so smooth that you're like to make yourself blind. He also confirmed that it gave him the worst hangover he's had his entire life.
I wonder how long they aged it afterwards?
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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I wonder how long they aged it afterwards?
Don't think the impatient suckers did. If they did it would have been a month or two, tops. Probably would have taken the edge off that hangover, but from what he said it was already deceptively smooth. He said the flavor didn't even hint that the stuff was more than 50% abv.
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Old 06-07-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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Don't think the impatient suckers did. If they did it would have been a month or two, tops. Probably would have taken the edge off that hangover, but from what he said it was already deceptively smooth. He said the flavor didn't even hint that the stuff was more than 50% abv.
Also........it's one thing to sip on a nice tasting adult beverage........and quite another to get hammered on it.
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Give a man a beer, he'll drink for the day.Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk the rest of his life.
I have 8 carboys, 8 cornies, 5-1 gal jugs, 200 wine bottles, 10 cases of beer bottles and a nice assortment of flip tops....My goal is to keep them at least 50% occupied
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