Cider from crab apples - no press

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mrkeeg

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A friend has about 60 gallons of fresh crab apples, and has suggested we make some cider and / or wine.

We do not have a press, and I'm certainly not going to blend or use his tiny juicer on that many apples - besides, the apples are too small (1" or so) to make it worthwhile removing the seeds, which I suppose we would need to do before using a blender, grider, or juicer.

Since they are rather sour crabapples anyway, they should provide lots of good flavor, but will need a fair amount of sweetening.

Do you think a person could get away with, say, cutting them in half, adding enough sugar water to submerge them, and letting the yeast do the rest of the work?

It would be nice if we could get these while they are fresh. If we have to build a press it will be a number of weeks away.

Thanks,
Keegan
 

jo7hs2

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I don't think that is going to work. I'm guessing a bit here, but I think that will at best make an alcoholic apple mush. At worst...

If you do it, post pictures. :D
 

JimC

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It is possible, but not how you envision it. Wash the apples. Then freeze all of the apples until they are completely frozen though. This will cause all of cell walls to rupture when you thaw them out. Then cut up the apples into chunks, quartering or so should work for these ones. Cover with water. Add sufficient capden to lay waste to any natural yeast which survived the freezing. Then add a bunch of pectin enzyme. The enzyme will break down all of the cell walls and turn your apple chunks into an apply slurry in about a week.

After that week you have to strain the slurry and discard the pulp. You can just run this though a strainer and 'press' the pulp by hand. Don't worry if some small bits get though, they will settle out. This will have a nice side effect of aerating everything nicely. Add more campden to kill all the stuff you just introduced and let sit over night. Pitch yeast in the morning and proceed as normal.
 
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mrkeeg

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Thanks for the thoughts guys,

I like the freezing idea. Now just have to find a shop that has pectic enzyme.

We don't have a big food processor, but do have a meat grinder, that may work. You aren't worried about crushing the seeds and getting bitter offtastes from them though?

Thanks again,
Keegan
 

Yooper

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I don't have a press either, and am doing the freeze/thaw method above. Pectic enzyme is available at all winemaking stores, and online.

I wouldn't mash them up in the food processor, I think the ground seeds would impose a bitterness. I froze my chokecherries, too, before using and they are ok. I still wish I had a press- I have 30 pounds of grapes coming from a friend next week!
 

mgayer

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I agree with YooperChick, don't worry about grinding or crushing them. Got some very bitter stuff when the seeds were broke. I usually do the crabapple wine every year but not enough on the tree this year.:(

I just wash well, chop and freeze. If you can get it try a Lalvin K1-V1116 (Montpellier) yeast. It is very good with any apple style fruits and produce some very nice flowery esters and the natural fresh fruit aromas are retained for a longer period compared to standard yeasts. As you see from the other post make sure to use some Pectic Enzyme.

The last batch I did I added a gallon of Apple juice when I racked off of the crabapples. It produced a much rounder taste!
 

JamesM

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Does anyone know the

X pounds of apples = X gallons of cider

formula?
 

JamesM

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nah, not a smart ass, I'm sure there's a lot of variation, how much of a difference does using the pectic enzyme make? can I get the same result by using more elbow grease?
 

Yooper

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nah, not a smart ass, I'm sure there's a lot of variation, how much of a difference does using the pectic enzyme make? can I get the same result by using more elbow grease?
Pectic enzyme will help "break up" the pectin so the cider will clear better. It can produce more juice, but not much. It's only important to prevent a pectin haze in the finished product, in my opinion.
 

Cloudkicker

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try and cut the apples in pieces and pour bioling water on them, works too;)
 

rowingbrewer

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I'm glad this thread got started. Cause avfriend of mine and I will be doing the same thing soon. But I do have one question, when is the best time to pick the apples?
 

rowingbrewer

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yea but how do you know when crab apples are fully ripe? they are so tart no matter how long they ripen
 

gratus fermentatio

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Ever thought of renting or borrowing a press? Maybe there's a cider house near you that will grind & press your crabapples for a nominal fee. Just a thought. Regards, GF.
 

ju1c3rman

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re JamesM's formula:
I press apples in fall as a hobby and a 20 litre pail of fresh apples usually yields 8 litres of juice.
 

cinderbike

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I don't have a press either, and am doing the freeze/thaw method above. Pectic enzyme is available at all winemaking stores, and online.

I wouldn't mash them up in the food processor, I think the ground seeds would impose a bitterness. I froze my chokecherries, too, before using and they are ok. I still wish I had a press- I have 30 pounds of grapes coming from a friend next week!
Offtopic, but did I hear chokecherries? There are a ton of bushes out here for ornamental purposes, but if you've got ideas on what to brew with them, I'm all ears.
 

wstaufe

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To the OP, if he's still out there- I recently made a RIS with crabapples that I halved, roasted, and added to the secondary. Probably one of my best beers yet (>70 AG batches)!
 

truckjohn

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Here's my advice from this thread: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/crab-apple-mash-217872/

Personally, my own experience is that if you want to make vinegar - ferment on the pomace.... If you want to make apple cider - press out the juice and ferment the juice only.

I had to learn the hard way - when you are doing something that has been done for thousands of years - do it the old way.... There is a good reason grape wine is made on the pomace and apple cider is not.... If fermenting apple cider on the pomace was reliable - that is how we would be doing it....

On to making the juice - grate the crabs as you would for cider, then press it out.... For small quantities if you don't have a press (Less than 10-gallons)... you can hand wring out the pulp about 2-cups at a time through a paint strainer bag. The key is to grate it up with a food processor grater blade or a juicer rather than "Grinding" it in something like a meat grinder.

Thanks
But, of course, your luck may be totally different than mine....

Thanks
 
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