Apple ale recipe?

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divrguy

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Been trying to figure out how to make an apple ale recipe because the SWMBO and Daughter like the Redds Wicked apple ale. To me, it tastes god awful and synthetic! So, since I can't for the life of me taste anything resembling any sort of beer behind it, can anyone give me a clue how to attempt something drinkable that might resemble it? I can't taste any malt, it has no head or body so I'm lost. However, if someone has made an apple ale that I could test a small batch on them, I'm game.
 

j1n

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Ive never had that but maybe just make them a sweet sparkling cider. Use ale yeast and call it an ale... i use notty for my ciders.
 
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divrguy

divrguy

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I have tried Eds Apfelwein and a Bunch of other ciders and they don't like them. I'm out of ideas lol
 

andrewmaixner

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Put some apple extract flavor or apple juice concentrate in a old style american pilsner, maybe? The sweet spot between Drinkable and "swmbo likes it" may not exist just FYI.

I am eternally grateful that my wife likes real cider without sweetening.
 

Iceman2197

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I make a hard cider that to me taste like redds wicked ale but better. I agree redds isn't good.


5 gallons apple juice ( I use fresh pressed from Costco, Costco brand.)
1lb brown sugar
3 cans apple juice concentrate.
1 tsp yeast nutrient
Nottingham ale yeast.

ferment 2 -3 weeks.

5 campden tablets and 1.25 tsp potassium sorbate to stop refermentation
then back sweeten with 2 to 3 cans apple juice concentrate, or to your taste.
then I keg
 

GenIke

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The OP wants an apple flavored beer, not a cider. New glarus makes a great apple ale.

I have never tried to make one and never even thought about it, but in my experience apple juice ferments dry, even with ale yeast. Since these beers taste sweet I would guess there is some back sweetening involved.
 
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divrguy

divrguy

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I have heard about the New Glarus but can't get it anywhere near me.
 
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divrguy

divrguy

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Reading the New Glarus, maybe get a basic brown ale recipe and mash high to get some residual sweetness with some apples in secondary? Or even apple juice (2 gallons) in place of water?
 

shadows69

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I made a basic honey wheat beer, 5 gals. Then took two gallon jugs and put half honey wheat beer and half pure apple juice in each. They stated tthe fermentation cycle all over again due to the apple juice. I have no idea how this will turn out. Just an experiment because my daughter loves apple ale.
 

Rev2010

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Divrguy, I have a recipe for you that I've made before. But first let me ask are you bottling or kegging? So far I've only made it and bottled it and the problem has always been the beer comes out too tart since the yeast eat the cider sugars (I use one gallon of cider for the recipe). The Apple flavor is still there, just not an ideal beer. Now that I'm kegging I'm brewing it up again in the next week or so. I'm figured I'll add the cider at kegging time so the temp drop to 36 in my kegerator puts the yeast to sleep and preserves the sugars in the cider.


Rev.
 

JR_Brewer

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Try searching the recipe database for "Graf" (or some people are mistakenly calling it "Graff"). It's a beer / cider hybrid. I make it and like it a lot. It won't have the "synthetic" taste you describe, so not sure how authentically Redd's it will be.

I've never tried the Redd's ale, I avoid SABMiller products.
 

ArkotRamathorn

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Since the Redd's is super sweet (I really really hate saying this ever about any drink), theres definitely some back sweetening and I'd put money down that theres really not a lot of malt complexity to the grain bill. Probably straight up 2-Row with a tiny tiny percentage of adjuncts for some body maybe.

If anything to try and make something for the wife and daughter to enjoy, a very pale wheat beer with less than 10 IBUs of bittering and try to make sure the beer finishes high (like 1.015 or greater).

First Graff (another name for an apple ale) I made I used a lot of crystal malts with some chocolate malt. The 2 gallons of cider I mixed with the 3 gallons of wort, still came out SUPER tart and low body (seriously tart, not infection tart, the bottles NEVER exploded after a year of aging at room temp).

Second graff I have made, now with 3 gallons of wort...
6#Golden Promise
1#Sugar
.5#Biscuit Malt
5oz Brown Malt
.25# Carapils
.5#English Medium Crystal
15IBUs of East Kent Goldings

I fermeted with S-04 English Ale yeast, the 4 gallons (a mere 1 gallon of unpasteurized, no preservatives, I all together finished around 1.075ish. It's sitting at around 1.016 right now and I'm switching to secondary today. Very tart and *crisp* even though its finishing at 1.016. (yes, S-04 is known for its penchant to finish with a tartness)

Basically what I am getting to is, it's gonna be really hard to get the SWMBO and daughter to enjoy it if its actually beer. SO you could go two routes, make a delicious beer, and just say "Ooops, I guess it didn't come out as good as Redd's" and proceed to enjoy your delicious graff on your own. Or attempt a really pale beer with low IBUs, and probably have to back sweeten, and the women in your life may or may not enjoy it (the beers my SWMBO has enjoyed were accidents more or less).
 

m00ps

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I wanted an Apple Ale that was an ale first and apple beer second so I actually did a similar idea to the brown ale thing. I just took a brown ale recipe and racked it onto 4-5 sliced apples, a gallon of cider and 2 cinnamon sticks about 10 days in. The fermentation took off again and it definitely had a good apple flavor
 

shadows69

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I made an apple ale with a basic wheat recipe. Mixed 50 percent beer after 3 weeks and 50 percent pure apple juice. Had to wait another 3 weeks because fermentation started back up. Tasted it yesterday and it is very tart. How do you get any sweetness back into it? Without using artificial sweeter?
 

andrewmaixner

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I made an apple ale with a basic wheat recipe. Mixed 50 percent beer after 3 weeks and 50 percent pure apple juice. Had to wait another 3 weeks because fermentation started back up. Tasted it yesterday and it is very tart. How do you get any sweetness back into it? Without using artificial sweeter?
If you are going to keg it: just cold crash, rack to keg, and add whatever sugar you want. play with ratios before mixing the whole thing, and err on the side of less sugar. You can use maple syrup, honey, sugar syrup, apple concentrate -- anything that is liquid. The cold crash will remove a lot of yeast, and then storing it in the fridge will prevent new fermentation (within a reasonable time frame for consumption, I have heard). This is the most natural way.

If you want to store it warm, or in glass, then you have more complexity. Options include the common cider and wine chemicals potassium sorbate and/or potassium metabisulfite to prevent fermentation, filtering out yeast, frequent testing followed by pasteurization at the right carb point (if you want it carbed over .7vol), non-fermentable natural sugars like xylitol, etc.


I keg, and on my current batch, I checked gravity and tasted often until it got to the point I wanted (not too sweet for me, not too dry for the friends -- about 1.008). Then I cold crashed, will fine with gelatin then mov to a refrigerated keg.
If I wanted to keg it warm, I would look up the recommendations for sorbate and metabisulfite also.
 

ArkotRamathorn

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I made an apple ale with a basic wheat recipe. Mixed 50 percent beer after 3 weeks and 50 percent pure apple juice. Had to wait another 3 weeks because fermentation started back up. Tasted it yesterday and it is very tart. How do you get any sweetness back into it? Without using artificial sweeter?
I'll list my recipe below as I had a very similar experience the first time I did an apple ale/graff like this. I will qualify this first off with, my beer turned out pretty high gravity/ABV, it finished 1.010ish, so my experience was I had to make a relatively big beer and mixed it with cider at 3 gallons of wort with 1 gallon of cider. If you want to skip my recipe and notes and stuff, go to the bottom for my 'solutions' to the dry apple ale/graff problem as my first apple ale attempt ended up too dry.

6# Golden Promise
.5#Biscuit
.5#60L (or English Medium Crystal)
5oz UK Brown Malt
.25#Carapils
1#Sugar (late addition near the end of the boil)
30ish IBUs of EKG (I split this between a 60min addition and a 5 minute addition to try and pull some of that honey/spice aromas you can some times get from EKG)

I ended up with around 1.085 for the wort at 3 gallons, then threw 1 gallon of cider (unpasteurized, no preservatives, picked it up during an apple festival in northern Wisconsin). I did not take a gravity reading of the cider, it could have been 1.040, it could have been 1.060 (I have seen people report both extremes for cider gravity, its entirely up to the weather so I'm not gonna get my panties in a bunch over what the 'true' gravity was of the cider).

I figured if the cider was 1.050 and I mixed 1 gallon with my 1.085 wort, if I did my weighted averages correctly, I would have had around 1.076 for the entire batch. Before I sent this one to secondary it was already crystal clear, and very dry with 1.012 on the hydrometer.

I just cracked the first bottle yesterday, the cider dominates the tongue with dry alcohol. The beer part of it is all on the nose and back end. Its a tiny tiny bit alcohol hot right now but not unpleasantly. I think a lot of the sweetness is coming from the alcohol in fact. I fermented with S04 so theres definitely some left over maltiness.

Like I said though this was the solution I came up with to the super super dry apple ale/graff problem.

1. Mash high, I figured I'd just skip the messing about and went straight to a single infusion at 158F
2. I used an english ale yeast S04 since I've had good luck with this leaving a nice maltiness behind, it will ferment the cider dry, but itll leave the maltiness/sweetness from the high mash temps alone.
3. I went with a 3 to 1 ratio beer to cider. 3 gallons of beer to 1 gallon of cider. The cider will ferment out super bone dry so at 50/50 I think this ends up causing the entire beer to be very dry, first attempt at 50/50 had lots of crystal malts in an attempt to head this off (something like 15-20% of the bill was crystal malts), I used barely any in the 3/1 attempt and its much sweeter.
4. Expect the cider to ferment very dry so I made the beer big to tucker out the yeast. I didn't get close to the alcohol tolerance of S04, but it will leave malty-sweetness behind in a bigger beer.

My next attempt I might try and go back to the 50/50 beer/cider ratio, but I will use the same grain bill but keep the batch to 2 gallons wort to 2 gallons of cider. Most of this was what I came up with since I do not keg yet, and wanted to avoid bottle pasteurization or using non fermentables like xylitol. I thought of maybe using lactose but this may have made the flavor/mouth feel funky. A darker amber/brown/ruby red belgian candi sugar may bring some nice unfermentables and keep it sweet, but will still contribute a good deal of dryness.

Edit: I threw pectin enzyme and a campden tablet into the cider and left it overnight. It was unpasteurized, and no preservatives, I poured the cider in while my kettle spigot was emptying the wort into the fermenter.
 

hunter_le five

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Try searching the recipe database for "Graf" (or some people are mistakenly calling it "Graff"). It's a beer / cider hybrid. I make it and like it a lot. It won't have the "synthetic" taste you describe, so not sure how authentically Redd's it will be.

I've never tried the Redd's ale, I avoid SABMiller products.
+1 to Graf/Graff, it's quite good. I plan on making batch #3 this weekend.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f81/graff-malty-slightly-hopped-cider-117117/#post1297724

I had a couple Redd's Apple Ales last week at a work thing. It was okay. Kind of similar to Graf, but a bit sweeter.
 

shadows69

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Thanks for all the information. I'm wondering if Redd's is nothing more then fermented apple juice then and campden tablet, then more apple juice added for flavor and taste. When I tasted it, it was like pure apple juice and no trace of hops what so ever. So I guess I am wondering if there is even any beer in it or just fermented with beer ale yeast and that's why they call it an ale. Just thinking out loud on this one.
 

DGibb

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I just took down a recipe for an apple ale from an episode of Dr. Homebrew on The Brewing Network that sounded really good. It was one of the first couple episodes. Not my recipe, but they seemed to really enjoy it, and it sounded tasty enough for me to jot down the recipe.

Caramel Apple Ale
5 gallon final volume
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.020
IBU: 17
ABV: 4.5%

Grain Bill
5 lb Pale Maris Otter
4 lb German Munich malt
1 lb Crystal 20
1 lc Crystal 60
1 lb Flaked Rye

Caramel
8 oz Amber LME
8 oz Cane sugar

Hops
0.75 oz Cascade @ 60 min
0.50 oz Willamette @ 15 min

Secondary
4 c Apple Cider (fresh pressed)
2 apples, diced 1" cubes
Tincture made from 3 cinnamon sticks in 4 oz vodka

Yeast
WLP011 European Ale Yeast

Process
* Mash @ 154F for 60 min
* Remove 1 gallon of wort and boil down to half to add back at the end (adds to caramel character)
* Make a caramel out of the LME and cane sugar to add in to boil at 10 minutes remaining
* Apple cider, apples, and cinnamon tincture are added to the secondary with 4 days remaining before packaging
 
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divrguy

divrguy

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Really some great ideas here gents. I'm going to give it a shot again over my Christmas holiday. Probably try a small batch Graf and a brown type recipe.

Funny how hard it is to try and make something you don't like.lol. I made a cran-apple cider a couple weeks ago and daughter really liked it and I didn't mind it either.
 

m00ps

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Thanks for all the information. I'm wondering if Redd's is nothing more then fermented apple juice then and campden tablet, then more apple juice added for flavor and taste. When I tasted it, it was like pure apple juice and no trace of hops what so ever. So I guess I am wondering if there is even any beer in it or just fermented with beer ale yeast and that's why they call it an ale. Just thinking out loud on this one.
I'm thinking they call it an ale solely so people will wonder why and buy it...
 

shadows69

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Good point. I told my daughter who wanted me to make her apple ale, just to go buy it. It's not worth my time or yeast.
 
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