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-   -   Reasonably cheap way to create flavor depth? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/reasonably-cheap-way-create-flavor-depth-304037/)

ReverseApacheMaster 02-13-2012 11:34 PM

Reasonably cheap way to create flavor depth?
 
I am making some cider for a friend. Normally I just use store brand apple juice/juice concentrate but I find it doesn't have real depth to the apple flavor. I've used tea bags for tannins and tried using different yeast for esters but it always seems a little flat in the apple flavor. I realize this is a function of using generic apple juice, so I'd like to find a way to -- excuse the pun -- juice up the flavor without spending a fortune getting equipment and importing tasty apples. I don't have a press and even if I did, we don't have much (or any) apple production in Texas and shipping apples sounds rather expensive.

Thoughts?

Pickled_Pepper 02-14-2012 12:08 AM

I boil 6-8 oz of raisins in a small amount of water, (until the water darkens) mash them with a fork and pour through a strainer. It adds some tannins, and in theory, some nutrients for the yeast.

gypsyhead 02-14-2012 03:54 AM

Is there any kind of alternate store brand apple juice available? If you can get any kind of unique apples in the produce section, you could always juice a few and add it to the store bought juice for a little variation.

divi2323 02-14-2012 06:20 AM

You could always add a little acid blend to give it some bite.

dinnerstick 02-14-2012 06:29 AM

disclaimer: the following is mainly opinion rather than fact. a bit of malic acid (henceforth sporadically but not consistently referred to as ma) will help give a tangy zing that can be missing, especially in sweet/dessert apples. that said, some great dry english ciders are, at least to my taste buds, relatively low in ma, and a ton of malic but nothing else (thin body, low tannin) makes a really weird, unbalanced drink. but in a semi-sweet cider especially, i find that sour zing essential. adding some juiced supermarket granny smiths will also take care of that ma for you, per previous post

gratus fermentatio 02-14-2012 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ReverseApacheMaster (Post 3782211)
I am making some cider for a friend. Normally I just use store brand apple juice/juice concentrate but I find it doesn't have real depth to the apple flavor. I've used tea bags for tannins and tried using different yeast for esters but it always seems a little flat in the apple flavor. I realize this is a function of using generic apple juice, so I'd like to find a way to -- excuse the pun -- juice up the flavor without spending a fortune getting equipment and importing tasty apples. I don't have a press and even if I did, we don't have much (or any) apple production in Texas and shipping apples sounds rather expensive.

Thoughts?

You could use FAJC (Frozen Apple Juice Concentrate), thawed of course, added to your apple juice to "juice it up." This has the added effect of increasing the acid content as well, which can often add a little bite.

You can add raisins (I put 'em through a blender 1st) or even frozen white grape juice concentrate (thawed) for added body. You could also use malt extract instead of corn or table sugar, it alters the flavour a bit, but the apple still comes through.

You might try adding a couple oz of molasses, it goes well with apple; or even caraway seed, which I think is fantastic with apple. Neither will add body, but they certainly do make for a tasty cider.
Regards, GF.

jkoegel 02-14-2012 12:48 PM

Instead of buying the clear apple juice, try to find the "cider" at the market. I have seen it sold as cider or unfiltered apple juice.(Musselmans brand?) It's not quite the same as the fresh pressed I am lucky enough to have at several farms locally here in NY but it is the closest match I have seen in a supermarket.
Also, North American "dessert apples" don't usually make a good cider on their own. I have had cider made with actual cider apples and WOW what a difference the right balance of tannins and acid can make. Do you have any crab apple trees in Texas? you can crush a few of those in your next batch for the flavor.
Just go scrumpin for some crab apples.

Daze 02-14-2012 03:40 PM

back sweeten with frozen concentrate. part of what makes an apple an apple is its sweetness so if after you have fermented out all the apple sugars, you back sweeten with concentrate you will get a superior apple taste. Just make sure you do something to stop the yeast first or after it is in the bottles for a bit if you want co2.

GDRMaille 02-14-2012 05:54 PM

How about racking on top of apple schnapps or pucker? Anyone ever tried that?

flyingdoctor 02-17-2012 08:36 AM

Sorry but there is no substitute for proper cider apples. just buy a few (1 or 2 is good)trees for about 15 bucks each and plant them in your yard. They are the easist to keep as they require very little work. Give them a lump of manure for teh fist 5 years or so, and prune out any branches that corss over. The apples drop to teh ground and you stick them in teh shed for about a month till they soften and teh you tear tehm up in a food processor and you can buy a press fairly cheeply. Get Bitter sweet apple varieties and make up teh juice with some bramley or cooking apples to sharpen it. That will give you teh depth you need. Juice form eating apples will always make insipid cider.


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