Caramel Apple Cider

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
This is intended as an easy, beginners caramel cider. As a lot of beginner brewers are still trying to get their methods correct, I have designed this to be quite sweet to mask any off flavours.

For a 1 gal batch:

Ingredients:
2 cups raw sugar
250 ml honey
1 gal Apple Juice/Cider (preservative free)
Any standard wine/champagne yeast.

Method:
1. Add 2 cups sugar and 1/2 cup apple juice to a pan. Caramelise on medium heat for around 15 mins. NOTE: If you want this to be a clear cider, substitute the half cup juice for water. Alternatively, add pectinase at step 5.
2. Once sugar is caramelised, add to fermenter. The darker the caramel mixture, the stronger the flavour. I heat mine for around 12 - 14 minutes which gives only what I can describe as a 'medium' between the initial heating and extreme caramel. This is totally up to you and your tastes, experiment a bit.
3. Pour half of your juice into the fermenter, add the caramel mixture and SHAKE. Shaking will aerate the mixture creating a good environment for the yeast to start doing their thing.
4. Add the rest of your juice, don't be afraid to splash and cause bubbles.
5. Pitch yeast when juice is room temperature. This should not be long after step 4 but just in case, let it sit for a few minutes.
6. Ferment till dry, and yeast clears (see notes).
7. Add honey (Adding extra sugar is optional at this point, depends on your tastes) to a pan and caramelise to taste. (I used 15mins).
8. Siphon half of your cider and add the honey mixture.
9. MIX. I ended up mixing for almost half an hour to get it all to homogenise. Add the remaining cider.
10. Bottle and pasteurise.

Step 8. is bad practice for brewing as it is introducing a large amount of oxygen to the finished product. This can cause infection and oxidation. An alternative to step 8 is to transfer the cider to a clean secondary fermenter after fermentation and stabilise with K-meta and K-sorbate. Wait until clear, then transfer to a third fermenter and add the honey mixture. Let bulk age until the honey mixture has completely dissolved then bottle.

Notes:
Ferment till dry and yeast clears. If you have used apple juice with your sugar mixture, your cider will not completely clear, I would suggest using a hydrometer and wait for stable readings.

Sugar will continue to caramelise after you remove it from the heat, keep an eye on it and try not to burn it.

Essential Reading:
Pappers_ pasteurisation thread which is stickied at the top of the cider forum. I do not know how this would go being dry, but the flavours are complimented as a sweet cider.


I never took any gravity measurements. When I was starting out I found it confusing, so here is the recipe with simple additions. I would hesitate a guess of a final ABV at 9%. This is the single best cider I have made to date. It tastes like I am drinking apples dunked in caramel, with a honey aftertaste. It is SO smooth. I had a sample of it as I was mixing and ended up going through a whole 750 ml bottle. BE CAREFUL with this stuff, it's dangerous because it is so smooth, even straight out of primary.
 

krisagon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
1
Location
Philly
Do you sterilize immediately after bottling?

Is there any carbonation?
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
I pasteurised it for a sweet, still cider. I thought that a still cider would go better with the smooth caramel taste. There's no reason why anyone trying this can't make it sparkling, they will need to read Pappers thread on Stove Top Bottle Pasteurisation to ensure that they don't get bottle bombs. Another thing to note is that this comes out VERY sweet, almost too sweet. But that's how I like it. The most important thing to do with this recipe is to experiment to your taste.
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
It definitely is. Mine was still releasing CO2 when I was shaking it hence releasing pressure, so I wasn't that worried about it. If you're going to bottle condition + pasteurise then I don't think it's as big as a problem because it is still going to go under a secondary fermentation in the bottle and consume/overwhelm any oxygen in there.

It is also completely acceptable to not add any sugar (except priming sugar) after fermentation. You could probably add the first lot of sugar and stop fermentation before all of the sugars are consumed (whether by chemicals or pasteurisation). Also, you can experiment with this addition of sugars. Adding a small amount of citric acid to the pan with the sugar will help convert the sugar to simpler acids which the yeast may not be able to consume, leaving the taste and the sweetness.

It's all up to you!
 

krisagon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
1
Location
Philly
Wait, now I'm confused again...
How long do you let the bottles sit between capping them and stovetop sterlizing them?
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
I did it within the hour because I was not concerned, I have never had a problem with oxidation.. I would suggest somewhere between 4 and 5 hours. If you have no problem using campden tablets, you might as well stabilise then backsweeten and bottle (the sulphur will provide an extra level of protection). I don't use additives or chemicals in my brews.
 

krisagon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
1
Location
Philly
Haha oldmate, you weren't kidding around about the 9%.
My batch is crystal clear in the carboy after 3 weeks. According to my calcs the cider is actually at 0.995 gravity right now, which makes it about 9.2%.
I'm going to combine it with the honey and pasteurize the bottles today. Will let you know how the finished product is!!
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
Awesome! Keen to hear for some feedback! I have to emphasise not to burn the sugar/honey. Just finished another batch where I slightly burned it and it ruined the whole thing.
 

krisagon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
1
Location
Philly
Yeah, I just heated up the honey until it was thinner, then let it cool for a bit.
One slight issue is that I did have a bottle bomb in the pasteurizing process.

I took out the bottles following Pappers' instructions, and was letting them sit on the kitchen countertop to cool, when one of them busted open.

No injuries or anything, I just got cider all over my pants. I'm going to let these bad boys age for a bit in a crate and see how they turn out.

So far not bad oldmate!
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
What temperature did you get it to? It might have been caused by an imperfection in the glass, rather than any gases! Glad there was no injuries!
 

Seakow

New Member
Joined
May 31, 2011
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Location
Kansas City
I would like to try this but using maple syrup instead of honey, possibly even both. I'll be doing that this weekend, keep you all posted.
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
I found it drinkable almost straight away. I think that was because I sweetened it up a bit too much initially. It depends on how long you let it age in bulk. I would say 3 months in either storage, bulk or bottles. As long as it is clear, I would say crack one open and see how it tastes. The longer you leave it, the more the apple taste will return!

I hope you like it!
 

Bridochristie

Active Member
Joined
May 16, 2011
Messages
44
Reaction score
0
Location
Glasgow
Had this bottled for a week now, thought I'd open up a small bottle to test it and I must say I really liked it.

Thanks for the recipe, I'll be doing this again.
 

louie0202

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
279
Reaction score
10
Location
Montgomery
I carmelizec the sugar and then added it right away to the carboy....added the apple juice and all the carmelized sugar instantly hardened. Is this intentional should i have done this differently?
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
I would say somewhere between 7 - 9 %. I've never measured it before, sorry.
 

louie0202

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
279
Reaction score
10
Location
Montgomery
old mate when you made this did you let the carmelized sugar cool? I broke my carboy because i added the carmelized sugar and then tossed the apple juice on top...the sudden temperature drop broke the carboy.
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
Oh really? I poured mine straight into the apple juice instead of the other way around, so I guess that must have been the difference. It cooled so fast upon hitting the juice that it formed a solid and just sank slowly to the bottom. I'm so sorry to hear that!
 

seabass07

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
1,321
Reaction score
166
Location
Seattle
I added a bit of juice to the caramel when it was done and stirred like hell to mix it in. Then poured that into the rest of the juice and shook. It worked well.
 

louie0202

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
279
Reaction score
10
Location
Montgomery
No worries, I should have thought about it, I just dumped it on a santized pan and let it cooled and broke it into chunks and put it in for my next try.
 

krisagon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
135
Reaction score
1
Location
Philly
Heyo! I just tried a sample of this batch, it is tasty and smooth!
Great recipe.

I wonder what the results would be if I used nottingham yeast instead of champagne..... hmmmm...
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
Glad you liked it! Try it out and let me know :)
 

toxick

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
114
Reaction score
2
Location
San Antonio
Is there any reason I couldn't just use another cup of brown sugar with a bit of apple juice to sweeten at the end rather than honey? Is there any reason it wouldn't stay in solution? Just asking because I think I might prefer the taste of the caramelized brown sugar over the caramelized honey. Anyone try this?

My SG is currently 1.006. The hydrometer sample tasted seriously good. Very excited about this brew.
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
You can try that if you like, no particular reason other than after browning the honey I find it gives a nice caramel/marshmellow-esque taste to it. The molasses in the brown sugar would be nice too! The only thing is that I would be careful when you're sweetening it, it gets cloyingly sweet very fast. Add small amounts at a time!

Also, if you end up just using the sugar, let me know how it goes. I'm always interested in working on recipes/trying new things!
 

toxick

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
114
Reaction score
2
Location
San Antonio
Wow - just gotta say thank you for that recipe :) I'm drinking a bottle straight out of the pasteurizing pot with a stick of cinnamon in it. Delicious! :mug:
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
Glad you like it :) How is it with the brown sugar?
 

toxick

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
114
Reaction score
2
Location
San Antonio
I didn't have anything appropriate to dissolve the sugar in, so I ended up using 125ml honey and a Tbsp brown sugar to sweeten. Maybe next time I'll keep a little apple juice around to dissolve the sugar into.
 

sgoehner

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
86
Reaction score
1
Location
Chelsea
Mixed up a 3.5 gallon batch of this today for the Mrs. I think I am going to have to get another package of yeast tomorrow and toss it in as I didn't realize that the SG was going to be as high as it is. SG was 1.086, and I just used one package of us-05 and no starter. So again, I think I am likely going to be getting another package of yeast tomorrow.
 
OP
oldmate

oldmate

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 8, 2010
Messages
911
Reaction score
36
Location
Sydney
You should be fine with that, it's not too high for that yeast strain. If you have added nutrient it will take off in no time.
 

sgoehner

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
86
Reaction score
1
Location
Chelsea
You should be fine with that, it's not too high for that yeast strain. If you have added nutrient it will take off in no time.
Thanks oldmate, I ended up adding half a packet to it even though it finally started while I was gone for the day. The cider is super dark, and the smell coming from the airlock smells just like a carmel apple, it smells awesome. Thanks for the recipe and I will let you know how it turns out. I am shooting for a slightly carbed beverage, so I will be changing it a little, but if it does taste really good still and my wife likes it like that I may leave it.
 

mr_goodwrench

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2008
Messages
884
Reaction score
8
Location
Auburn, GA
I think I will give this a shot in the next couple of days. I have a gallon of juice sitting in the basement that I have been looking at and contemplating using for a small batch. I will probably use some washed Wyeast American Ale yeast that I have chilling in the fridge.
 
Joined
Feb 1, 2011
Messages
13
Reaction score
1
Location
Tucson
My last batch of cider turned out awe full I will have to try this recipe it sounds great thanks for posting !!!!
 

sgoehner

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
Messages
86
Reaction score
1
Location
Chelsea
Oldmate, thanks again for the recipe, after a day or two with just tiny bubbles coming up from the bottom I took a look when I got home last night and I now have a krausen that is over 2 inches, so the yeast are having a good time. It smells amazing in the room I have it fermenting at, can't wait for this one, I think it is going to be awesome.
 
Top