I am starting my Fourth batch ever of Hard Cider. My first 3 batches were experimental and were for the purpose of flavor finding missions. The first batch was home squeezed apples, Honey, white sugar and white karo syrup. 2nd batch was store bought pasteurized pure cider, Brown sugar, honey, dash of cinnamon. 3rd was Store bought clear juice with no additives, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and cinnamon stick. I did not take a gravity reading on any of the first 3 batches. I find that I am sticking with a single fermentation of 5 to 7 days when the air lock slows to 1 bubble every 15 secs. I do not care or worry about the clarity. It is all about the flavor. I bottle carbonated at room temp of 72deg for 4 days on the first batch. 5 days on the second batch (1 bottle bomb around 4.5 days when I was at work). Both of the first two batches were over carbonated. I did two days of bottle carbing in the 3rd batch. Each batch keeps getting better and better. I had plenty of fizzle with 2 days of bottle carbing on a back-sweetened cider before cold crashing in the refrigerator. Each batch was back sweetened with 1 cup per gal of any type of sugar. My wife cannot stand anything dry and flat. Therefore a short bottle carbing on a decent backsweet is paramount.
I am now starting a fully documented Batch #4. This took several weeks of scouring the cider recipes. I love rum. Therefore I created a personal recipe that contained molasses. I just got the batch started within the hour. And I will keep updating as we progress. I have two glass growler/carboys (3L and 4L). The 4L wine jugs at the grocery store are perfect for a guy like me. Here is where I am at right now.
Batch 4 is blended and in the carboy at 2:15pm 12-4-12. Room Temp 72 deg
7L Treetop 3 apple blend 100% juice.
2 cups light brown sugar
1/4 cup Brer Rabbit full flavor molasses.
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 small cinnamon sticks (1 in each carboy)
1/4 tsp yeast energizer
1/8 tsp Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast.
OG is 1.0740, It is almost as dark as a standard pot of coffee. I cannot see through the thickest part of the 4L carboy.
All blended together and separated into the two carboys. Expected yield is 20 12oz bottles.
Any thoughts, comments or suggestions are welcome. Past experiences with any similar recipes is much appreciated.
I read in another thread, "Had I known it was this easy to make decent booze, College days would have been amazing back in the day." They were not kidding!!!!!