So I'm relatively new to brewing. I've brewed a batch if double chocolate stout that turned out quite well and now I'm going for my first cider. So far I'm in the secondary thinking of adding some spice to mimic the woodchuck fall taste (the old lady's favorite). The following is an excerpt from my blog I've been using as a brewing diary of sorts to keep better track of where I'm at. Im sharing it just so you know where I'm at currently.
"Given the time of the year and the fact that the old lady's favorite fermented beverage is Woodchuck Hard Cider, I decided to try my hand at brewing some.
Believe it or not the Walmart brand has some pretty rave reviews for cider making
My recipe is as follows :
5 gallons of Walmart brand apple juice (concentrate, water, and ascorbic acid aka: vitamin C).
2 pounds of brown sugar
1 packet of champagne yeast.
SPLENDA (amount tbd for taste)
I began by emptying the total volume of juice into my stock pot heating to 160 F. Apparently any hotter will release pectins which my research has brought me to the conclusion this is adverse for the Cyser. After adding the brown sugar, at 160, I stirred vigorously until everything was dissolved. I also made certain to ensure no brown sugar was left at the bottom of the pot.
After about 45 minutes at 160. I placed in the primary fermenter (sanitized of course) and covered until cooled till 92 F. Ensured to pour as dynamically as possible to aerate mixture. I then sealed off and place in my basement(70 degrees ambient temperature).
Note: after cooling down to 92 I took a SG reading. Came out to 7.5% alcohol.
12/15/12 was start day
Starting gravity: 1.057
12/16/12 airlock bubbling vigorously at about 1 bubble every 10 seconds.
12/18/12 airlock still bubbling 1-2 bubbles every 30 seconds
12/22/12 airlock 6 bubbles counted over 1 minute at 60 degrees F.
12/25/12. MERRRRRY CHRISTMAS! Tapping into the stout I brewed a month back and celebrating this holiday.. Good and good beer are mandatory staples of this festivity. Then again, when aren't those too mandatory
. But back to the cider.
2 bubbles/ min. Noted at 66 F ambient room temp. Odd odor coming from airlock, aside from alcohol smell of course. Really hope it isn't infected. Guess we will find out at racking. Only a few days left until then I'm hoping
12/26/12. 0 airlock activity over 60 seconds at 64 F.
1/2/2012 Time for racking
Initial reaction after I opened the lid was one of panic and fear! To be perfectly honest the stuff smelled like rhino farts. After doing some research online however, I have found that this is a pretty common occurence initially and that it will subside. I decided, despite the putrid smell, to go on with racking anyway. The initial color while still inside the bucket was almost darker then mollasses. After completing the racking process however It looks like a good shade of
amber. I also decided on a preliminary taste test, for the most part the only distinguished flavor to me was the alcohol. There is minute apple flavor and a weird after funk. However, I'm not too worried after the yeasties have a little more time to clean up and I'm ready to back sweeten I am sure this will make a tasty brew (hopefully)."
I was thinking about adding a little cinnamon and maybe some nutmeg now that its been hanging out in secondary for a while to give it a comparable taste to the fall cider. Suggestions or critiques please.