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Old 10-07-2006, 08:43 PM   #1
DirtyMick
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Default Help with a Christmas Cider Recipe

Hello,

I have been making cider now for ~2 years, and in that time I have made 4 different batches. All of them using Champagne yeast, thus making a rather dry style cider.
I was recently inspired, after finishing a pumpkin ale, to attempt a "Christmas" cider, something with a little spice for the holidays.
Here are my thoughts so far:

Starting with 5 gallons organic juice ( I use Whole Foods brand juice it is cheaper than most and seems to be well balanced)

One pound dark Honey

One pound chopped Raisins

Maybe through in some tart cherry juice

Orange peel, Cinnamon, Allspice, nutmeg ( not sure on how much to add and when???)

And i have not decided on the yeast... I thought maybe an Ale yeast but I do want it to be sparkling, but not like champagne.

Does any one have any thoughts or suggestions that could help me out.

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Old 10-07-2006, 09:03 PM   #2
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I personally think you've left it too late to start a cider now for drinking around Christmas - I always prefer to age them for at least 6 months, they taste so much better for it.
Your recipe idea sounds good though, using a neutral ale yeast works great for me everytime - you can carbonate with them well so no worries on that one. However, regarding the spices it's all down to personal taste. I'm not a fan of spiced ciders on the whole so would suggest you go easy with them to avoid overpowering your brew.

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Old 10-07-2006, 09:43 PM   #3
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Caplan,

Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with you that bottle conditioning works wonders and time is your friend. I would most likely not drink this cider until Fall 2007... But I would sample as early as February. Just to se how it was maturing...

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Old 10-07-2006, 09:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyMick
I would most likely not drink this cider until Fall 2007... But I would sample as early as February. Just to se how it was maturing...
I assumed you meant Christmas 2006 not 2007 - Perfect then!
I'd still go easy on the spices, I always think it's better to drink something lightly spiced and try and work out what's in it than just smell the brew and think 'cloves' or 'cinnamon' for example. They do mellow over time but I'm just not that keen.
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Old 10-08-2006, 12:33 AM   #5
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Sam of Dogfish Head advised to spice your brews its better to make a potent spice tea at bottling than putting the spices in at ferment, says it leaves them tasting fresher and helps from the ferment changing the taste of them.

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Old 10-08-2006, 03:17 AM   #6
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The ingrediants sound real good. I have a cider mill just a few miles away and want to make something like this. I had not expected to be able to drink it for a while... just the honey alone will take some time to ferment out. Just out of curiosity, why have you not tried the WLP or Wyeast Cider yeast options?

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Old 10-09-2006, 02:28 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the replies...
Caplan -

Man you and I are tuned to the same channel. I do not want an end result that is all cinnamon and cloved up... I would rather have the spices hit on the finish mainly and in the aroma slightly... not too over powering.

Cheaper Please -
As for the spices: I like the idea of the spice "tea" approach. How does it work? I imagine you add the spices to a bit of fresh juice warm to help release some of the essential oils in the spices then add the mixture to the bottling bucket... Does that sound about right?

Beer Snob -

I have been using Champagne yeast because it has worked well for me. I like the results, but I would like to try something different this time, get some experience with a different style. My expereince with Champagne yeast is that it is fairly robust and tends to eat almost any type of sugar, I have found that honey tends to take champagne yeast a long while to work through so I have been using that to prime with. The results have been good I get a nice champagne like head good sparkle and still a little sweet (just knocks the dry tartness out a bit).
Wikth the cider yeast what sort of ABV will it eat up to? Does it like warm or coolish temps.? If I start with a SG of 1050 how long will it take to go dry 1000?

Does anyone use ale yeasts or lager yeasts? Any funky results?

Cheers,

Mike

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Old 10-09-2006, 02:51 AM   #8
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Too tired to look it up but here are the links to the sites

http://www.whitelabs.com/
http://www.wyeastlab.com/

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Old 10-10-2006, 03:31 AM   #9
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Without any idea of gravity or what not, since I own no hydrometer, I cant tell you the exact abv of my cider currently but I used sweet mead yeast and got a primary ferment that went over 60 bpm for about 7 days, primary lasted 14 days before it slowed enough to consitter secondary. Only brewing beer before this I dont know if thats normal but it seems like it will be potant.

I hope to make a woodchuck like cider, something with a good apple tang to it.

The spice tea said to do as you said, strain it and use it at bottling. go buy a gallon of the juice you use and spice it in half gallon incriments using that tek and see what suits you, then step it up to your batch size. Thats what I intend to do anyway.

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