Caramel Apple Cider
This is intended as an easy, beginners caramel cider. As a lot of beginner brewers are still trying to get their methods correct, I have designed this to be quite sweet to mask any off flavours.
For a 1 gal batch:
2 cups raw sugar
250 ml honey
1 gal Apple Juice/Cider (preservative free)
Any standard wine/champagne yeast.
1. Add 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup apple juice to a pan. Caramelise on medium heat for around 15 mins. NOTE: If you want this to be a clear cider, substitute the half cup juice for water. Alternatively, add pectinase at step 5.
2. Once sugar is caramelised, add to fermenter. The darker the caramel mixture, the stronger the flavour. I heat mine for around 12 - 14 minutes which gives only what I can describe as a 'medium' between the initial heating and extreme caramel. This is totally up to you and your tastes, experiment a bit.
3. Pour half of your juice into the fermenter, add the caramel mixture and SHAKE. Shaking will aerate the mixture creating a good environment for the yeast to start doing their thing.
4. Add the rest of your juice, don't be afraid to splash and cause bubbles.
5. Pitch yeast when juice is room temperature. This should not be long after step 4 but just in case, let it sit for a few minutes.
6. Ferment till dry, and yeast clears (see notes).
7. Add honey (Adding extra sugar is optional at this point, depends on your tastes) to a pan and caramelise to taste. (I used 15mins).
8. Siphon half of your cider and add the honey mixture.
9. MIX. I ended up mixing for almost half an hour to get it all to homogenise. Add the remaining cider.
10. Bottle and pasteurise.
Step 8. is bad practice for brewing as it is introducing a large amount of oxygen to the finished product. This can cause infection and oxidation. An alternative to step 8 is to transfer the cider to a clean secondary fermenter after fermentation and stabilise with K-meta and K-sorbate. Wait until clear, then transfer to a third fermenter and add the honey mixture. Let bulk age until the honey mixture has completely dissolved then bottle.
Ferment till dry and yeast clears. If you have used apple juice with your sugar mixture, your cider will not completely clear, I would suggest using a hydrometer and wait for stable readings.
Sugar will continue to caramelise after you remove it from the heat, keep an eye on it and try not to burn it.
Pappers_ pasteurisation thread which is stickied at the top of the cider forum. I do not know how this would go being dry, but the flavours are complimented as a sweet cider.
I never took any gravity measurements. When I was starting out I found it confusing, so here is the recipe with simple additions. I would hesitate a guess of a final ABV at 9%. This is the single best cider I have made to date. It tastes like I am drinking apples dunked in caramel, with a honey aftertaste. It is SO smooth. I had a sample of it as I was mixing and ended up going through a whole 750 ml bottle. BE CAREFUL with this stuff, it's dangerous because it is so smooth, even straight out of primary.
Do you sterilize immediately after bottling?
Is there any carbonation?
I pasteurised it for a sweet, still cider. I thought that a still cider would go better with the smooth caramel taste. There's no reason why anyone trying this can't make it sparkling, they will need to read Pappers thread on Stove Top Bottle Pasteurisation to ensure that they don't get bottle bombs. Another thing to note is that this comes out VERY sweet, almost too sweet. But that's how I like it. The most important thing to do with this recipe is to experiment to your taste.
Sweet man, I will definitely give it a try, thanks.
Is oxidation a concern in ciders like it is beer? With all that post fermentation mixing and all
It definitely is. Mine was still releasing CO2 when I was shaking it hence releasing pressure, so I wasn't that worried about it. If you're going to bottle condition + pasteurise then I don't think it's as big as a problem because it is still going to go under a secondary fermentation in the bottle and consume/overwhelm any oxygen in there.
It is also completely acceptable to not add any sugar (except priming sugar) after fermentation. You could probably add the first lot of sugar and stop fermentation before all of the sugars are consumed (whether by chemicals or pasteurisation). Also, you can experiment with this addition of sugars. Adding a small amount of citric acid to the pan with the sugar will help convert the sugar to simpler acids which the yeast may not be able to consume, leaving the taste and the sweetness.
It's all up to you!
Wait, now I'm confused again...
How long do you let the bottles sit between capping them and stovetop sterlizing them?
I did it within the hour because I was not concerned, I have never had a problem with oxidation.. I would suggest somewhere between 4 and 5 hours. If you have no problem using campden tablets, you might as well stabilise then backsweeten and bottle (the sulphur will provide an extra level of protection). I don't use additives or chemicals in my brews.
Haha oldmate, you weren't kidding around about the 9%.
My batch is crystal clear in the carboy after 3 weeks. According to my calcs the cider is actually at 0.995 gravity right now, which makes it about 9.2%.
I'm going to combine it with the honey and pasteurize the bottles today. Will let you know how the finished product is!!
Awesome! Keen to hear for some feedback! I have to emphasise not to burn the sugar/honey. Just finished another batch where I slightly burned it and it ruined the whole thing.
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