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HAREEBROWNBEEST 07-31-2012 04:30 AM

Questions about stuff in cider
 
I have 2 carboys that are begging to be filled with something special. It's going to be cider and I want to do some sort of steeping with maybe some oats, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans maybe some nutmeg? I want to get a oatmeal apple cookie taste if that's possible. I plan on doing two separate 2 gallon batches. Is there anything I should watch out for or possibly not do from anyone's prior experience? I'm going to place my order to northern brewer tomorrow and get started as soon as my stuff gets here.

emjay 07-31-2012 04:52 AM

I'd personally avoid adding oats to the cider. If you really want to do it anyways, I'd consider doing it to only half the batch, and doing it like a graff. It would require the use of some 2-row to actually convert the oats. A mash ratio of perhaps 3:1 oats to 2-row should work, but you'll probably want to use the BIAB technique, as a traditional sparge would definitely get stuck with anywhere near such a high proportion of oats.

Also, go easy on the spices. A little goes a loooong way, and it's easy to overdo it. You can always add more spice, but you can't take it out. Getting the spice level right also requires tasting it constantly, even if only a little bit. The longer the spices are steeped, the stronger their presence will be, so consider grinding the spices (freshly ground is ideal) and putting it in a very fine mesh bag, leaving the tie-off string at the top so that the bag can be removed when you find the spice level to be perfect. Spices that will work well include cinnamon, nutmeg, dry ginger, allspice, and cloves.

It's also very possible that you'll find that vanilla actually clashes with everything else (especially in more noticeable quantities), so wait until the end to add some vanilla extract, and make sure to test it on a small sample first! Once you find the ideal dosage, then you can scale it up to the full batch. If you really want to use actual vanilla bean, you'd be best off steeping the vanilla bean in a bit of vodka or other neutral grain alcohol for a few months, and then following the same process that was mentioned above for store-bought vanilla extract.

Good luck!

HAREEBROWNBEEST 07-31-2012 05:12 AM

Wow that's a lot of great info, thanks. I will definitely go easy on the spices and maybe ditch the oats idea, maybe some hops? Not sure now but thanks again for the insight. I just want something different.

emjay 07-31-2012 05:50 AM

No problem. But two more things...

1) I'd personally avoid hops altogether, ESPECIALLY if you're trying to emulate a cookie, and would use oats in a recipe like this way before I'd ever add hops. (In fact, oats would in all likelihood be good in SMALL amounts if done like a graff as I explained above, and would add a nice silky texture - if you don't mind doing a BIAB mash, I'd actually go so far as to *recommend* it, in retrospect). As for hops, you could probably get away with just a tiny bittering charge (but no flavor/aroma additions) of a low-alpha strain (no more than 10-15IBUs in the finished product), but most people would definitely prefer it without hops, and you'll probably find it to be a waste of time/effort/money. If you actually decide to use hops, this is doubtlessly something you'd want to add to only half the batch. Also...

2) With all these spices and whatnot, it will be best with some degree of sweetness. With this in mind, you'll want to decide on a strategy for either leaving residual sugars or backsweetening. The easiest method is just to use a non-fermentable sugar. A good amount of lactose would be great, as not only will the sweetness of lactose have a very appropriate character, but it will add a fair amount of body in addition to the sweetness, which should be very desirable in a liquid "cookie"! I think 2 pounds (or a pound in each half-batch) will provide a good level, but this is another ingredient where it's best to experiment with a small sample and then scale up. Lactose isn't as sweet as most people think (about 1/6th the sweetness of table sugar), so you could very possibly end up wanting to use even more, but I doubt you'd decide to use less than a pound overall.

HAREEBROWNBEEST 07-31-2012 06:36 AM

Thanks for all the goods, I'm a rookie at this so I appreciate the recommendations.

HAREEBROWNBEEST 07-31-2012 07:00 PM

So here's my idea 1lb oatmeal flakes, 1lb of briess organic crushed, steep in mesh bag at 155-158* for one hour in two gallons of juice, cool back down to 74*, add yeast and go from there, throw in some cinnamon sticks in secondary or primary? Not sure just yet and add apple extract for taste.

HAREEBROWNBEEST 08-01-2012 05:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HAREEBROWNBEEST
So here's my idea 1lb oatmeal flakes, 1lb of briess organic crushed, steep in mesh bag at 155-158* for one hour in two gallons of juice, cool back down to 74*, add yeast and go from there, throw in some cinnamon sticks in secondary or primary? Not sure just yet and add apple extract for taste.

Well not heat the juice, heat water and when cooled add juice concentrate.

emjay 08-01-2012 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HAREEBROWNBEEST

Well not heat the juice, heat water and when cooled add juice concentrate.

That sounds better. Use the concentrate for additional flavoring as well, instead of extract.

HAREEBROWNBEEST 08-01-2012 06:15 AM

Cool, will do.

HAREEBROWNBEEST 08-02-2012 11:10 PM

So in my second carboy i plan on doing a 2 gallon apple cider with additions of honey and fresh strawberries. Honey in the primary and the strawberries also into the primary, back sweeten with some 100% juice concentrate in secondary for sweetness. As soon as my stuff comes i will post pics of the processes:mug:


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