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Old 11-03-2011, 12:39 AM   #1
ditchbanker
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Default First Cider experiences

**First paragraph will be about how I came to try this particular recipe, if you don't care, you're welcome to skip it.**

Last year I started making fruit wines. Enjoyable, but a little mellow compared to the big red wines I like. I tried one batch of beer, but didn't particularly enjoy it, and I'm not a huge beer drinker. Got an opportunity to get cheap grapes this fall and filled most of my carboys with Syrah, which won't be drinkable for over a year, probably closer to two. So I was looking for something a little quicker to drink. Similar to beer time, but with a fruit base rather than grain. My wife also has a gluten allergy, so she wouldn't be able to have beer even if I made it. I was thinking a 5-6% fruit "wine" maybe carbed in beer bottles. Talked to my sister, who works at a high end beer shop, and she told me I was describing cider. Huh. Never had it. Sounds logical. I've got a decent *idea* of most things fermented, so I'll give it a go. On the cheap. Like I said, my carboys are nurturing wine, so I wanted to stick to my basic primary. When I made my extract pale ale, I left it in primary for about 4 weeks before bottling (no secondary) and it tasted fine. Little cloudy, but fine. Figure to try a similar approach with this cider stuff. BTW, hadn't actually drank hard cider until a few days after my drink was bubbling away. Tasty stuff. Now, which fruit to use... Holiday season is coming up. That means lots of turkey. What goes well with turkey? Cranberries. And didn't I just see old orchard Cranberry and apple juice concentrate at the store? I did, I did.

So, I bought 5 cans of Old Orchard Cranberry Apple concentrate. Mixed it up to make 3 gallons. SG was WAY low. Went back to the store, bought 5 more, put 4 of them in and ended up with an SG of about 1.044. Just about perfect. I had EC-1118 in the fridge. I know it will ferment about anything, so I went at, pitched it dry. Airlock started bubbling at about 12 hours and has been going so far for 4 days. When I realized last night that both my primary buckets have spigots so either can serve as a bottling bucket, I realized I'd be cheating myself NOT to try it. Very good. Today's a little drier, still kind of sweet, but coming down. My plan is to let it work itself to completely dry, give it a week or so, move it to a bottling bucket with either some sugar or the final can of concentrate (or part thereof, still need to do the math) and bottle. Temp in the kitchen, ahem, fermenting room is about 64*.

I know I should let it age more. I know. I know. However, I'm already playing the aging game with my wine, how much patience am I supposed to have?

Any thoughts or inputs on my impromptu recipe?

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Old 11-21-2011, 01:38 AM   #2
Tw0fish
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Thought: sounds amazing

It's too late now, seeing as you posted this 11/3, but there's another recipe (for 5 day sweet country whatever) that pretty much skips the "let it get dry and backsweeten it" bit in favor of cold crashing, bottling and bottle pasteurizing.

Just saying.. you coulda waited less

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Old 02-11-2012, 03:22 AM   #3
NineMilBill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ditchbanker View Post
My wife also has a gluten allergy, so she wouldn't be able to have beer even if I made it.
Sounds like you really don't have an interest in making beer, but just be aware that there is an entire thread here on HBT devoted to Gluten-Free Beer Recipes. If you get a wild hair to try to re-create a favorite commericial brew or simply a certain style - check it out!
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