Originally Posted by GDRMaille
How about racking on top of apple schnapps or pucker? Anyone ever tried that?
I have some sitting on Apfelkorn right now but I've never tasted it.
There's simply no substitute for a good base of REAL apple cider. I've been doing some reading on Graff and it's variants and playing around in Beer Smith, and frankly I'm starting to think that picking the right ale yeast and a good selection of a SMALL quantity of specialty grains may be the only real way to add some complexity. Of course, that complexity is other flavors besides sweet, tart, sour apple varieties. And, I guess at that point it's more Apple Beer than Apple Cider or Apple Wine, but hey, if it's good it's good.
There are so many things someone could try that I've stumbled on in research.
* There's dry hopping with a small amount of dry hops. I know there is one commercially available hard cider that is dry hopped...but again, that's a full blown cider.
* There's aging with Oak Cubes. I'm tempted to do this with some french oak cubes that have been soaked in Apfelkorn (why not, cider in France is aged in the left over oak barrels that calvados is aged in).
* There's Graff, which is mostly store bought apple juice or apple cider added to a small batch of malted wort and a very small quantity of hops boiled for 30 minutes (and, in playing with beersmith, if it's a hop with low aau 30 minutes vs 60 minutes doesn't really make a difference). The juice is added after the boil of course.
* There's more malted beer done with Apple Juice added after the boil making up 20% or so of the "grain bill" so-to-speak. This is the option that interests me the most. But at the same time, I guess at that point you're getting more into a "fruit beer" with no real official style.
It goes back to creating the taste that we want.
Also, I still doubt how useful adding acid is to brew done with store bought juice. The apples here in the U.S. that go into apple juice are already acidic, which is what "tart" is. That's not necessarily the case in other parts of the world. But here in the U.S., adding acid just seems like it's going to serve either zero purpose, or serve to just make the flavor profile further lopsided.