Originally Posted by Brewskii
I did my first cider last fall as an augmented fermentation, bottled, and then pasteurized.
It was awesome fast and easy.
Looking to jazz it up this year and was wondering what all you cider folk think are good add-ins I can throw in the fermenter to give it some character.
Any advise is good. Addition technique info would be helpful. So what have you tried that worked?
I've used various types of malt & LME, oats, raisins, ginger, caraway seed, liquorice, molasses, brown sugar, honey, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon balm, lemon grass, all with varying results.
I used Brandon O's graff recipe as a base for most of the above adjuncts.
As with beer, the various malts & LME(s) will impart their flavours to the cider.
Oats give it a smooth, silky mouthfeel & I've heard that toasted oats will impart much more flavour, but I haven't tried toasting them yet.
Raisins add some body without adding much discernable flavour when used at 2-4lbs/6 gallons.
Ginger can be good, but it can also add some bitterness; I'm still working that out.
Caraway seed is AWESOME! If you like seeded rye bread, you'll like caraway seed in graff/cider. the longer you leave it in, the stronger the caraway flavour.
The liquorice I didn't care for, but my friends loved it. I used brewer's liquorice & a little goes a long way; I used 1/4 stick if I remember correctly & I boiled it in water & cooled before adding to the must/wort.
Molasses is good, but for me there's a small window between the molasses flavour being virtually undetectable & being overwhelming. Been thinking of trying priming with it, but haven't actually done it yet.
The lemon juice was a bust, doesn't do anything except lower the PH.
The zest wasn't bad, but I think I need to use more to get more lemon flavour.
The herbs didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. They had a certain vegetal flavour that I didn't like.
Honey just ferments out unless you use a lot of it, then you're into mead/cyser territory.
If you use spices, use whole/sliced/cracked & put 'em in a hop sack or make a little teabag & toss it in. Makes things easier to control, and easier to remove once your desired flavour profile has been reached. You can't remove powdered spices without filtration & some of them will make quite a mess.
Hope this info helps.