START DATE: 12-22-12
RACKING DATE: 12-28-12
COLD CRASH DATE: 12-29-12 until 1-19-13
BOTTLING DATE: 1-19-13
Fermentation Temp: 60 F
ABV: about 6.25-6.45%
Final pH (after back-sweetening): 3.51
3 Kroger brand frozen apple juice concentrate used per gallon batch and the added water was poured from a Britta filter to fill each jug up to 1 gallon.
1 crushed Campden tablet was added 24 hours prior to adding nutrients, pectin enzyme, acid blend, tannin, and pitching yeast to help inoculate any bacteria and yeast present in the frozen concentrate or water.
1/8 tsp of tannin was added per gallon (to add a crisp flavor that it lacks due to using frozen concentrate)
1 tsp of Fermax Yeast Nutrient was added per gallon (to help feed the yeast)
½ tsp of pectin enzyme was added per gallon (to help clear the pectin protein out of suspension in the cider)
¾ tsp Acid Blend was added per gallon (to boost the acidity level since it is frozen concentrate)
On 12-22-12 ¾ tsp Safale US-05 yeast was pitched per gallon
Cold Crashed for three weeks. At beginning of cold crash I opened up 4 tea bags, dumped out the tea leaves, and filled them with .1 oz of Czech Saaz hops with an AA of 3%. I sanitized them in some star san solution first and then I steeped 3 of the carboys for 4 days. The other one carboy I steeped for the entire duration of the cold crash because I accidentally ripped the tea bag open when trying to take it out at day 4 and the hops fell inside.
I back-sweetened with Kroger brand apple juice concentrate that had been treated with campden tablet 24 hours before. I also racked the concentrate into a clean jug in case the concentrate had any sediment. When I racked the cider into the bottling bucket I stirred up tiny bit of yeast on the bottom so I could make sure yeast would be available for bottle carbing. I was afraid that after cold-crashing for three weeks there may not be any yeast in suspension...
I used 12 oz soda bottles so I can roughly test the carbonation so I know when I need to bottle pasteurize.
Overall the cider retained a LOT of the original apple flavor (at least compared to the Red Star wine and champagne yeasts I've used). The taste was very clean and I didn't taste andy sour or odd off flavors. The cider was VERY clear when bottling but I would hope so after cold-crashing for so long.
The tea bags worked great for keeping the hops out of the cider. Dry hopping the cider for four days seemed to be perfect. The four day hop batch had a nice hoppy/apple smell and the bitterness of the hops was complimentary to the semi-sweet cider. However, the one carboy with the tea bag that broke open was full of hops and did not clear well. Also dry hopping the cider for three weeks seemed to be too much. That batch had a very bitter hoppy taste and it overpowered the cider. I am hoping that the hops will dissipate in the coming months.
The lightly toasted American oak chips that had been steeping for 3 weeks in Bacardi Oakheart Rum had steeped a lot of the oak flavor and had a nice dark brown hue to it. I added this rum to each kind of cider for oak taste. The oak added an interesting flavor...especially when combined with the hops. I could taste sever different flavors in the cider and each flavor seemed to hit at different points in the tasting.
Now the carbonation, bottle pasteurization, and aging process begins
I will post details in months to come...