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Old 02-13-2013, 03:45 PM   #1
Jobo
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Default Questions about getting the right flavor

so I've decided I'm terrible at describing flavors. but I can compare them, to help get my ideas across! flavors I want to get to: Angry Orchard (the more pucker one, Crisp?), Strong Bow, Magners.

I grew up loving Cider Jack but it's not around too much any more. AO just hit my area recently. Strongbow and Magners were my goto guys before AO arrived. I find AO just a tad too sweet, but with much bolder/tarter flavor than SB or M's. I would love to get my own brewing to taste like ANY of those three.

my first batch is bottled and currently carbing up. it tastes nothing like those three listed above, hahah… hah…

I started with 5 gallons of unpasteurized fresh pressed from Lull Farm in Hollis NH, added campden tabs and waited 48hrs, mixed in dissolved white sugar for an OG of 1.0055 if my notes are right, pitched the dissolved yeast (ugh, lost the notes on what yeast, but got it on recommendation from the brew store) and let it run hog wild until it ran dry 18 days later. racked it off into 3 carboys and let it sit for 3.5 months. racked it back into the primary for bottling, blended in 3/4cup dissolved white sugar for priming, 1/2 cup splenda for sweetness, pitched 1/3pack more yeast to get it going again, added 2 drops-per-bottle of a sour-apple concentrate flavoring I got from Amazon (something I later discovered was labeled ECigsation ) super stirred it for maximum even blending and then bottled it all.

when I opened the first tester a week later, I found a mild fizz on its way to something good. the flavor and body… and here is where I struggle. there is tartness. there is very nice smoothness. not enough sweetness. not enough… apple-y flavor? to me, AO is like sucking on a sour-apple tootsie-pop. the apple-y puckery flavor is awesome, just a smidgen too sweet. Strongbow is great as well, perfect sweetness, but a bit less apple pucker (the flavor, not just the tartness that makes you pucker). add to that a slightly stronger-than-wanted sulphuric smell that I can probably deal with.

I can drink this stuff, but I 'll have to acquire a taste for it (I've GOT to, LOL, I have so much of it! ain't gonna waste it!).

will I ever be able to get the local random mash to taste like AO, SB, or M's? how can I do that? what needs to change to improve the flavor?

~Jobo~

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Old 02-13-2013, 05:55 PM   #2
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The blend of apples you use will get you closer to AO. I think they list the apples used on their site. Not the %'s, but at least the styles. Without those apples you could try experimenting with tannins and acids to achieve the flavor, but it may not ever be the same. You'll probably never get there by fermenting dry and then back sweetening. I bet they stop fermentation at their desired FG by pasteurizing (or chems) and force carb. Bottling and stove top pasteurizing would allow for the same thing.

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Old 02-13-2013, 06:56 PM   #3
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All the macro ciders are produced in the same general manner from what I've seen and read. The flavor comes from a blend of apple concentrate and malic acid on top of a dry cider base. Just keep experimenting and you'll get there.

Personally, the 6pack AOs doesn't taste like the bittersweet and bittersharp varieties they claim on the site, more likely to be made from common concentrate made from common apples.

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Old 02-13-2013, 07:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeBreton View Post
Personally, the 6pack AOs doesn't taste like the bittersweet and bittersharp varieties they claim on the site, more likely to be made from common concentrate made from common apples.
I've only recently tried the crisp and I didn't see a whole lot of complexity in them myself. They were better than woodchuck or some others, but I still can't justify the cost.

If they don't use those apples listed on the site...I'm extremely bummed out. Someone needs to find out and call them on it.
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Old 02-13-2013, 07:31 PM   #5
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Your method sounds fine except I would not have used the splenda. Just personal taste. Anyhow ... as far as coming closer to the commercial ciders you like with your own ...

SWEETNESS
Well, for Angry Orchards Crisp ...
It has 29 carbs ... 23 sugars.
The sugars would contain all the common ones including any "residual" fructose or natural occurring sugars.

The curiosity is what are the other 6 grams of carbs. They can be fiber or starches including complex carbohydrates ... of which maltodextrin is one. Also, “sugar alcohols” (a type of sweetener) are listed under *Carbohydrates* unless they claim to be sugar free or if the product contains more than a single sugar-alcohol ... in which case they have to be listed separately by name.

Duplicating the sweetness of your favorite cider would mean taking your dry cider (that you’ve made) and backsweetening it to 23 grams of some sort of sugar.
23grams would equal about 5-3/4 teaspoons of table sugar in a 12 ounce bottle ... which to me seems like a lot and very sweet. But that’s what the label says. (a teaspoon contains approx 4g of sugar)

For what it’s worth ... that AO Crisp cider is pretty sweet as ciders go. Other cider examples would be ...
Crispin ... 12 sugars ... 18 carbohydrates
strongbow dry ... 12 sugars ... 12 carbohydrates
Hornsby ... 20 sugar ... 24 carbs
AO Hard Cider (regular) ... same as the crisp ... 23 sugar ... 29 carb

BODY
About those other missing 6 grams of mystery carbohydrate ...
-- Fiber? ... now there’s a health food for you. But no, I doubt it.
-- “sugar alcohols” ... doubtful ... there’s more than enough straight “sugars” to need any sweeteners of that nature.
-- Maltodextrin?? ... that I’d believe.
The brewing guys would have a better grasp of the use of maltodextrin for mouthfeel in a product. I’ve used it in a somewhat bizarre ale that I’ve made from a variety of sugarbeets ... but that’s it. I would strongly suspect that there is maltodextrin in many commercial hard ciders.

TARTNESS
For the most part, increasing tartness or acidity - i.e. “brightening” wine (which is what cider is related to) is generally done with Citric Acid (carefully) ... even though Malic Acid is the predominant acid in applejuice, and as LeBreton notes above, commercially malic is added to commercial ciders. Personally I think I'd try a side-by-side taste comparison before I did my whole batch.

I would work with the tannin content first to see how that affects flavor before I adjusted the taste with acid though.
The taste of tartness ... and IMPORTANTLY the overall flavor of your cider ... is also in part dependent on tannin content ... read here ...
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/wine...3/#post4382358
By the way ... the Lull Farms cider you started with is almost *certain* to have NOT been made with higher tannin apples - bittersharp or bittersweet.
Because they are ugly, non-eating apples they are very uncommon to see in cider-mill ciders available locally.

FLAVOR
No doubt you could backsweeten with Frozen Apple Juice Concentrate and get more apple flavor too.

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Old 02-13-2013, 07:38 PM   #6
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AO does list the ingredients on the side of the bottle and for the life of me I can't remember what it said. I think sulfites was one, some sort of acid was another, but the rest...don't remember.

Wouldn't they have to list the Maltodextrin if it was included? (Which I can't remember if it's on there or not)

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Old 02-13-2013, 08:00 PM   #7
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I use malic acid in a lot of my ciders. It is derived from apples and is what makes Granny Smiths sour.

I know it is used in some AO products and in Sam Smith's Organic Cider.

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Old 02-13-2013, 08:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickled_Pepper View Post
AO does list the ingredients on the side of the bottle and for the life of me I can't remember what it said. I think sulfites was one, some sort of acid was another, but the rest...don't remember.

Wouldn't they have to list the Maltodextrin if it was included? (Which I can't remember if it's on there or not)
I poked online just briefly ... that's how I found the sugars/carbs info. Like I say, the maltodextrin is represented under the total carbohydrates ... However, I did not see any ingredient lists anywhere for any ciders including AO. Maybe there out there ... I just didn't take the time to search further.
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Old 02-13-2013, 08:12 PM   #9
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Well ... not being able to just leave-well-enough-alone:

What sugars are they adding to Angry Orchard Cider? ... High Fructose Corn Syrup !?!

check out this post about the ingredients of Angry Orchard cider! ... http://twostepsscd.blogspot.com/2012...er-labels.html

Artisanal???
Mine arse on a bandbox.

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Old 02-13-2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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Well there you go. The FDA considers HFCS to be "natural" (as in natural flavors) when it adheres to Archer Daniels Midland Company's manufacturing process*. (Can anyone say 'political lobbying'?) So there are your mystery sugars.

Wow...this thread went WAY off topic, but I'm glad to find out the info. Thanks, Jacob.

* Reference:
http://envs.colorado.edu/uploads/und...ural_Foods.pdf

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