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Old 10-26-2008, 07:16 PM   #1
lonejeeper
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Default increasing alcohol content.

An old-timer buddy of mine brewed his own hard cider in an oak barrel. This was rugged stuff, and he never gave out his recipe. It was pretty kickass stuff, drank out of a ladle. after 5 or 6 ladles between the two of us we'd be warmed right up and giggling like schoolgirls.

Turns out, he left it to me in his will, with the line "since he drunk enough to have it figured out anyway". I have it framed... written in carpenter pencil, all capital letters.

I know, it's a touchy subject... The recipe just mixed today registers 11% on my meter, which seems quite low compared to how i remember his brew treating me. I have a few other 11% beers and the effect isn't nearly the same. Was his stronger due to the charcoal lined oak barrel and the "angels share"?

what are my choices for a having it result in a stronger brew? I figure it's just adding sugar, but i don't want it to influence the taste...

thanks gents.

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Old 10-26-2008, 10:46 PM   #2
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11% is pretty strong and the barrel itself won't give off any extra alcohol content, only flavor. If you do want to up the percentage you can just add more sugar. Check out Ed's Apfelwine thread there is TONS of info and variation upon it all over the place here. Good luck, I hope you find what you are looking for and can make your buddy proud.

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Old 10-26-2008, 11:24 PM   #3
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11% is pretty strong and the barrel itself won't give off any extra alcohol content, only flavor. If you do want to up the percentage you can just add more sugar. Check out Ed's Apfelwine thread there is TONS of info and variation upon it all over the place here. Good luck, I hope you find what you are looking for and can make your buddy proud.
That is a heck of a thread...

So, in order to ensure i had a variety of apples, i got a few gallons from a few different places. I know a couple of the orchards and got it fresh from the press. The third place was a local grocery store ( I needed a half gallon more cider). So, now it's all mixed up and setting there. and setting there. and setting there. A quick look at the last half gal label says "potassium sorbate"

son of a ....

is there anything I can do to counteract the potassium sorbate?
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:27 PM   #4
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He didn't leave you his aging barrel did he?

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Old 10-26-2008, 11:58 PM   #5
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That is a heck of a thread...

So, in order to ensure i had a variety of apples, i got a few gallons from a few different places. I know a couple of the orchards and got it fresh from the press. The third place was a local grocery store ( I needed a half gallon more cider). So, now it's all mixed up and setting there. and setting there. and setting there. A quick look at the last half gal label says "potassium sorbate"

son of a ....

is there anything I can do to counteract the potassium sorbate?
Well, did only ONE of the ingredients have the sorbate? If it's only one 1/2 gallon, and you made up 5 gallons or more, you might be able to over come the sorbate. You'll have to buy some more cider (or just use apple juice) and more yeast. You can add the yeast to some room temperature cider, and let it get foamy. Add some more of the juice. When it's really foamy, add a little bit (like less than 1/4 cup) of your must mixed in with the regular juice. If it's still alive and going, do that again. Each time you add, add a bit more must and a bit less juice, so that it about two days, you're adding straight must. If it's still going, then you can add that entire yeast starter/cider mixture to your barrel.

That might work for you. I'd suggest using champagne yeast, to get it started. Did you sulfite the must? If you did, it may take 12-24 hours or more to get going. I always sulfite, then wait 24 hours before adding my yeast.
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Old 10-26-2008, 11:59 PM   #6
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He didn't leave you his aging barrel did he?
nope. just some hoops and really really old staves... it would be great to have a barrel like that.
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Old 10-27-2008, 12:04 AM   #7
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Well, did only ONE of the ingredients have the sorbate? If it's only one 1/2 gallon, and you made up 5 gallons or more, you might be able to over come the sorbate. You'll have to buy some more cider (or just use apple juice) and more yeast. You can add the yeast to some room temperature cider, and let it get foamy. Add some more of the juice. When it's really foamy, add a little bit (like less than 1/4 cup) of your must mixed in with the regular juice. If it's still alive and going, do that again. Each time you add, add a bit more must and a bit less juice, so that it about two days, you're adding straight must. If it's still going, then you can add that entire yeast starter/cider mixture to your barrel.

That might work for you. I'd suggest using champagne yeast, to get it started. Did you sulfite the must? If you did, it may take 12-24 hours or more to get going. I always sulfite, then wait 24 hours before adding my yeast.
sulfite wasn't in the recipe. neither was potassium sorbate... I hashed out a plan similar to what you laid out. Thinking that there must be some strain of yeast that can handle a bit of potassium sorbate, so I've got a huge starter going and i plan on splashing it with a bit of the cider in the hopes some of it lives.

thanks for the info! worse comes to worse, i've got some sickeningly sweet spiced cider to warm up.
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Old 10-27-2008, 02:30 PM   #8
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I have fermentation! Was bubbling at about once every 3-5 seconds. Not as fast as i'd like, but i'm excited.

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