I started my second batch of Apfelwein today, and again, only got a starting gravity of 1.061. I had originally thought it was because I didn't give the carboy a good shake before taking the sample but not this time.
Mind you, I'm using Walmart's "Great Value" 100% juice (from concentrate) and the Walmart brand brown sugar. I'm starting to suspect that it's the juice that's the issue, not my hydrometer.
Has anyone else noticed a difference in OG using various juices? Reading through the original monster thread seems to indicate that people are using TreeTop juice and getting OG's in the 1.090 range. While the product that I'm creating will have a 6.5% ABV result rather than the 8.5% ABV that people are reporting, I'm also able to do a 5 gallon batch for $25 or less.
Other than sheer numbers, has anyone else tried utilizing the cheaper stuff and determined that it might be worth it to step up in quality of ingredients?
I'm all for cheap hootch, but if there's really a significant taste and quality difference in using a different brand, maybe it's worth the extra few bucks to do so. My other alternative would be to boost the amount of brown sugar that I'm using (currently 2#). Would doubling it help here, or is this a juice-quality issue alone? Would adding the canned concentrate to the mix help at all?
Here's what I'm doing:
5 gallons Great Value WalMart brand 100% Apple Juice (from concentrate, only with Vitamin C in it, but artfully stenciled with "apples may come from china")
2 pounds Great Value brown sugar
1 packet Montrachet yeast
Thanks in advance for any insight.