Adding adjuncts to finished cider.

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Aug 24, 2020
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Last September I made about 12 gallons of cider from a wild apple tree growing on my dad's farm. I'll be heading back there in April and on my list of things to do is to bottle the cider. Assuming the cider made it through the winter, I'm not expecting too much from it. Just a simple base cider.

What I'd like to do is try adding some local flavours to the cider. Maple syrup, spruce tips, dandelions, wild violets, linden blossoms, rhubarb, and so on. Normally I'd add these to either primary or secondary fermentation, but that wasn't an option this time around. So the question is how to go about adding adjuncts without infecting my finished cider.

For the maple and spruce tips I figure it's fairly straight forward. The plan there is to make a heavy syrup (or equivalent in the maple case) infused with the spruce tips and just use this as a replacement for priming sugar. I don't want to be too heavy-handed with the flavours, just something subtle to enhance the cider.

Things get more complicated with the blossoms and some of the fruits. I don't think I can follow the heavy syrup route for these as the flavours are much more delicate and I'm afraid they'll be destroyed in the boiling process. Might it be safe to just rack the cider onto the blossoms? My plan was to sulfite at racking anyway, which may or may not be sufficient to keep my cider from turning into vinegar.

Just not sure. Any insights would be appreciated. Thanks!
Soak blossoms in some vodka, it’ll extract flavors in 2-3 days. Add the tincture to cider, no contamination.
When I am priming (usually with some of the original juice kept aside) I work on SG change rather than a set amount. Adding about SG 0.005 should result in 2.0 - 2.5 volumes of CO2. This should work for your maple etc infusion.

I pit them if any. Rinse with sanitizer (some say this is not necessary) freeze to help the cell walls break. Place them in a sanitized mesh bag and give them a week or two.

Depending on the fruit 1 to 1.5 pounds or so seems to work pretty well for me for a nice light flavor. Taste it every day after 6 or 7 days until it hits the flavor profile you like. Most fruit will give up all its flavor in 10 to 14 days. If the flavor is not to your liking you can always remove the old fruit and add more.