Crabapple Wine

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I picked 62 pounds of crabapples yesterday, but I easily have another hundred or more to pick yet so I put them in the freezer. Getting excited about making this wine soon!
 

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Yooper said:
I picked 62 pounds of crabapples yesterday, but I easily have another hundred or more to pick yet so I put them in the freezer. Getting excited about making this wine soon!
I was walking around my property today and found a HUGE crab apple tree. 2 questions - how do you know when to pick them & when you freeze them do you do anything special or just wash them and throw them in a bag?
Thanks
 
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I was walking around my property today and found a HUGE crab apple tree. 2 questions - how do you know when to pick them & when you freeze them do you do anything special or just wash them and throw them in a bag?
Thanks
I pick them when ripe, and you can sort of tell because they will start to fall to the ground. They also taste really great, and ripe. If they are rock hard, and not tasting very good, they probably aren't ripe.

I just wash them and throw them in a plastic bag. We have 83 pounds in the freezer, currently!
 

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Yooper said:
I pick them when ripe, and you can sort of tell because they will start to fall to the ground. They also taste really great, and ripe. If they are rock hard, and not tasting very good, they probably aren't ripe.

I just wash them and throw them in a plastic bag. We have 83 pounds in the freezer, currently!
I just went round there again and took a look and they are beginning to fall down and feel ripe. They taste very bitter! But I think if I don't get them soon they'll be take by the birds or will fall off. I'm north of Toronto so similar part of the world to you I think. Does it have to be an airtight ziplock or just thow em in a grocery bag and tie it shut?
 

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One more question in your process you talk about putting them in a mesh bag. I assume this is so after the primary you can just lift them out?
Is that correct?

Also does your recipe scale up? So if I want to do 3 gallons X everything by 3?
Thanks!
Excited to try this. Never made a wine before.
 

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Just a quick question I've had my apple wine in a carbon for about six months now and am ready to bottle. Can it go straight to the bottles or should I give it some meta bisulphate to inhibate any remaining yeast?
 
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Just a quick question I've had my apple wine in a carbon for about six months now and am ready to bottle. Can it go straight to the bottles or should I give it some meta bisulphate to inhibate any remaining yeast?
Sulfite won't inhibit yeast- it works as an antioxidant and preservative. I'd add it, in the amount of 1/4 teaspoon per 6 gallons, or 1 campden tablet (crushed and dissolved) per gallon of wine.
 
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One more question in your process you talk about putting them in a mesh bag. I assume this is so after the primary you can just lift them out?
Is that correct?

Also does your recipe scale up? So if I want to do 3 gallons X everything by 3?
Thanks!
Excited to try this. Never made a wine before.
Yes, and yes!

I lift out the bag, and squeeze the juice out with sanitized hands and discard the pulp.

As far as scaling up, it scales perfectly.
 
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I just went round there again and took a look and they are beginning to fall down and feel ripe. They taste very bitter! But I think if I don't get them soon they'll be take by the birds or will fall off. I'm north of Toronto so similar part of the world to you I think. Does it have to be an airtight ziplock or just thow em in a grocery bag and tie it shut?
If they are bitter, they won't make good wine. Good crabapples (not the ornamental wines) taste like great apples. They have a tart and spicy flavor, like an apple with some zing.
 

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I was just given 5 lbs of crabapples, would it be worth doing a gallon with them? It would be pretty hard to get any more.

I guess I could do a low abv cider if not.
 
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I was just given 5 lbs of crabapples, would it be worth doing a gallon with them? It would be pretty hard to get any more.

I guess I could do a low abv cider if not.
You could do it. It might be a little low on fruit, but you could always buy a couple of Granny Smith apples or something tart like that to get to the 6 pounds.
 

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After 1 year of letting my crab apple wine site, I cracked open a bottle, and it was amazing! Fantastic recipe Yooper!
 

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Not sure if OP still follows this thread but figured I'd ask some questions anyways.

I have never made wine before and figured I'd give this a try. I picked 29 lbs of crap apples from a friends and just pulled the stems out, gave them a wash and threw them in the freezer.

I need to track down the other ingredients mentioned but was wondering about the mashing process. Whats the best way to mash it? I figured I would get a cheese bag and line my 5 gallon pail and have a separate tub in which I can individually press down on the apple then dump it in to the meshed pail. Or will the apples after they are frozen be easy enough to just pour in the meshed bucket and smash away?

How many pounds of apples will a 5 gallon pail hold with the required water? Is there a particular type of wine yeast that I should buy?
 
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Not sure if OP still follows this thread but figured I'd ask some questions anyways.

I have never made wine before and figured I'd give this a try. I picked 29 lbs of crap apples from a friends and just pulled the stems out, gave them a wash and threw them in the freezer.

I need to track down the other ingredients mentioned but was wondering about the mashing process. Whats the best way to mash it? I figured I would get a cheese bag and line my 5 gallon pail and have a separate tub in which I can individually press down on the apple then dump it in to the meshed pail. Or will the apples after they are frozen be easy enough to just pour in the meshed bucket and smash away?

How many pounds of apples will a 5 gallon pail hold with the required water? Is there a particular type of wine yeast that I should buy?
I use thicker mesh bags, which are sold in winemaking shops. They are pretty heavy duty, and you can smash fruit right in them. You can smash them up however it works- I just got an apple crusher and press last year and while it makes it easier, it's not required! I let them thaw in the bag in the fermenter, and then smash them up with a sanitized mash paddle. Once the yeast starts working on them, and the pectic enzyme, they smash even better if you get them crushed a bit first.

I use 6 pounds per gallon of wine. If you only have a 5 gallon pail, you can probably make 3 gallons of wine, but then you'd need a three gallon carboy for secondary. I like most general wine yeast strains, but if your crabs are particularly tart, they may be very high in malic acid. If so, using 71B-1122 (Lalvin's brand), "Norbonne" yeast will help a lot as it metabolizes more malic acid than other yeast strains do.
 

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I have been looking for a crabapple wine recipe and found one that had me cut up the apples and freeze them before hand. Well the apples started to go brown on me and have some bruising...how will this impact the final wine?

Here is the recipe that I found;

http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/f2/spiced-crab-apple-wine-33445/

I have 60lbs of crabapples cut and frozen as i am going to be doing a 5g regular and a 5g spiced.

Also i think i will be using your recipe using it, good results from what I hear!
 

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Can anyone tell me what the down side of using bruised apples and/or browning apples are?
 
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And so it begins!

crabapples2.JPG

This is the first picking (the bottom of the tree, only) from our earliest crabapple tree, a centennial crab. This is about 1/3 of that one tree, and it's a tad over 30 pounds.
 

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I've got to get out and check mine (Zumi and American). I have picked a tree of regular early eating apples (Pristine), but my crabs are just starting to redden. I'm just North of Clarkston Mich (transplanted down from Cedarville-Hessel).
 
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I've got to get out and check mine (Zumi and American). I have picked a tree of regular early eating apples (Pristine), but my crabs are just starting to redden. I'm just North of Clarkston Mich (transplanted down from Cedarville-Hessel).
We ended up with 60+ pounds in the freezer from that tree. Our rescue crab isn't quite ripe yet, but hopefully we'll get a similar amount. I use 6# per gallon, so I'd like to get 100-120 pounds to keep us in white wine for another year.
 

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Have 2 gallons in secondary for the last week. Small bubbles on top.
It says to rack 3 weeks after fermentation is over.
Just wondering the best way to tell when it is done.
And also how do I mix honey in when I am racking into one gallon jugs.
Thanks Ryan
 
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Have 2 gallons in secondary for the last week. Small bubbles on top.
It says to rack 3 weeks after fermentation is over.
Just wondering the best way to tell when it is done.
And also how do I mix honey in when I am racking into one gallon jugs.
Thanks Ryan
After three weeks or so, there should be a ton of lees. If there is, rack. If not, don't rack yet. It can wait. It should have been done within a day or two of moving the wine to secondary.

I heat the honey a little, and mix it with a little of the wine and pour into the new vessel. Then rack the wine into it.
 

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Thanks you very much for reply. Tomorrow will be two weeks and I have over a half inch of lees on bottom.
So think I will rack.
Have just over 2 gallon in 3 gallon carboy. Lots of space In between the air lock and wine. Read it should be fine for now though hope it didn't hurt wine.
Will be racking into 2 separate carboys.
One with sugar one without.
Thanks for recipe. Can't wait to try it.
 
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Thanks you very much for reply. Tomorrow will be two weeks and I have over a half inch of lees on bottom.
So think I will rack.
Have just over 2 gallon in 3 gallon carboy. Lots of space In between the air lock and wine. Read it should be fine for now though hope it didn't hurt wine.
Will be racking into 2 separate carboys.
One with sugar one without.
Thanks for recipe. Can't wait to try it.
It's not ok! When you rack (really soon), moving it to 2 one gallon carboys is the way to go.

If you add sugar, it will ferment out. You can, if you want to boost the alcohol, or add the honey. The honey will ferment out, too, but it will smooth the flavors of the wine and that's why I use it.
 

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Thanks again for reply. Racked into 1 gallon carboys . Added honey to the one gonna add sugar to other. Should I just use half cup like I did honey.
I checked sg level. When I started it was 1.1 a little high but I added too much sugar and think the crab apples had high content.
Rechecked today and it was.990.
Guess I just need to know how much sugar to add to the one carboy.
Thanks a million once again.

image.jpg
 
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I got 10 gallons of this started today. It's funny, some of my crabapples made a distinctly red/pink must, and the crabs from the other tree are far more golden and yellow than pink. The must tastes awesome, though!
 

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Yooper,

Can I ask you a couple of questions about crushing the crabapples? After you freeze them, you said you crush them. Can you clarify:

1) Around what temp are you freezing the apples?
2) After you thaw them, how do you crush them?
3) Do you leave the seeds with the apple mush in a cheesecloth or nylon bag that you then put in your primary? If not, how do you separate them?

Thanks!
 
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Yooper,

Can I ask you a couple of questions about crushing the crabapples? After you freeze them, you said you crush them. Can you clarify:

1) Around what temp are you freezing the apples?
2) After you thaw them, how do you crush them?
3) Do you leave the seeds with the apple mush in a cheesecloth or nylon bag that you then put in your primary? If not, how do you separate them?

Thanks!
1. No idea- in the freezer so they are frozen solid.
2. I smash them with a strainer and a big wooden pestle, after letting them thaw about 75% of the way.
3. I put all of the pulp in the bag.
 

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1. No idea- in the freezer so they are frozen solid.
2. I smash them with a strainer and a big wooden pestle, after letting them thaw about 75% of the way.
3. I put all of the pulp in the bag.
Would it be ok to put the apples thru a grinder and mash them up with out the cores? I was going to core then freeze then put thru a gringer and make mush. Is this ok? then put into a bag?
 

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One gallon recipe

6 pounds crabapples
water
1 campden tablet
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
wine yeast
1 tsp yeast nutrients
About 3 pounds sugar
honey (if wanted)

Crush apples, but do not cut or crush seeds. Put in large mesh bag and add enough water to cover apples in primary. Add 1 crushed campden tablet. Stir well. Cover loosely with a towel. 12 hours later, add pectic enzyme and stir well. The next day, add sugar to desired sg (usually 1.085- 1.100) in enough water to bring to one gallon in the primary, then add nutrient and wine yeast. Stir daily for 5 days. Keep loosely covered.
On the 6th day, strain and discard apples. Rack into secondary and top up to one gallon with water. Rack about three weeks after fermentation has ceased. At this point, you could mix 1/2 cup of honey with one cup of of wine, and rack the wine into that. Fermentation should start up again, if it doesn't add 1/2 tsp nutrients. This can be done several times, if desired, for a sweeter wine.
(I'm doing one batch with honey, and one without)

Rack every 45 days- 3 months until no more lees drop. Bottle at 6-12 months.

This wine is very good dry- the crabapples give it a kind of spiciness lacking in most apple wines. It could be sweetened just a little for a nice table wine, or sweetened more for a dessert wine.
Hi, Yooper - it looks like this is another one that I definitely need to try.

My crabapple sources are a little dubious, and I wanted to check with you and get your thoughts on this.

My dad has a couple of trees of "regular" crabapples - the ones you describe in your opening posts. The problem is, they are quite small this year! The largest ones MIGHT be about the size of a quarter. They taste quite tart, but seem good.

My other option is a good supply of the bright, pinkish-red, oval-ish ones that I am pretty sure are ornamental. They are bigger, and taste okay, but I'd like to avoid these if possible, for the reasons stated on your thread.

Another bit of information, for what it's worth, is that we had our first frost last night.

We'll be doing a little traveling this weekend, and if I come across some bigger crabapples anywhere, I'll use those instead - but in the meantime, my question is, do you think the smaller, true crab apples will work alright, or should I just go with the ornamentals and see what I end up with - or maybe something like half-and-half or part crabapples, part Granny Smith?

Many thanks, as always, for your thoughts -

Ron
 
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Hi, Yooper - it looks like this is another one that I definitely need to try.

My crabapple sources are a little dubious, and I wanted to check with you and get your thoughts on this.

My dad has a couple of trees of "regular" crabapples - the ones you describe in your opening posts. The problem is, they are quite small this year! The largest ones MIGHT be about the size of a quarter. They taste quite tart, but seem good.

My other option is a good supply of the bright, pinkish-red, oval-ish ones that I am pretty sure are ornamental. They are bigger, and taste okay, but I'd like to avoid these if possible, for the reasons stated on your thread.

Another bit of information, for what it's worth, is that we had our first frost last night.

We'll be doing a little traveling this weekend, and if I come across some bigger crabapples anywhere, I'll use those instead - but in the meantime, my question is, do you think the smaller, true crab apples will work alright, or should I just go with the ornamentals and see what I end up with - or maybe something like half-and-half or part crabapples, part Granny Smith?

Many thanks, as always, for your thoughts -

Ron
Hmmm, I really don't know. My thought is always that if something tastes great, it'll probably make good wine. If I wouldn't eat it, I wouldn't ferment it. So if your apples taste good, then sure, go ahead and use them. If they don't, I wouldn't even try it.
 

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Thanks, Yooper - I was thinking about the same thing, so it's good to know that I'm on the right track.

I would prefer not to use the ornamental ones, so the decision is an easy one. I'll give it a go with the little ones, unless I find some bigger ones.
 

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Yooper, as out resident crab apple expert, I have a question. My little red crab apples make the most delicious pink jelly. I would LOVE to get this colour into a wine. What are your thoughts on cooking the apples first, jelly style, to extract juices and colour? I know the apples are high in pectin and am hoping that the pectinase will take care of that. If the wine remains cloudy, so be it. Lesson learned. Thanks for your thoughts :)

Jenn
 

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My dad has several crabapple trees out as his place. A year ago, and the year before, the apples were of pretty good size, and tasted great, even if a little tart. This year, all were about the diameter of a nickel, with a few as big as a quarter - if you counted all of the trees, there just might be enough for a batch of wine. I tried a few crabapples off different trees and the huge majority of them were extremely astringent - much, much moreso than even the "puckeriest" chokecherry I've ever had - and very sour, too, and not in a good way.

My youngest son, who was with me at the time, said that he knew of another crabapple tree near where he walks to and from school so we went to check it out. When we got there, I was disappointed to see that the apples appeared to be the red, "ornamental" type, but since he was trying to be helpful, I stopped and took a closer look. The first thing that I noticed was that quite a few of them had dropped to the ground (our first frost was this past Monday night/Tuesday morning). Walking through the downed fruit to the tree, the apple aroma that rose up was incredible - I would almost go as far as to say intoxicating. It was pure, wonderful apple at its best, and I literally could have sat there and smelled it all night. With growing optimism, I plucked a couple that were still on the tree, and they had truly excellent flavor - sweet with a nice, balancing tartness and a little something extra that I can't describe, but liked very much. I began thinking that these might work after all, at least for this year.

I went home to do a little looking on the internet, and I am "fairly certain" that the crab apples that my son discovered are the variety known as "Dolgo" crabapples. I was able to find this information on them:

http://www.naturehills.com/dolgo

I don't ever recall driving by and seeing what the blossoms looked like in the spring, but everything else fits very well. The tree itself looks exactly like the one in the photo on that site, and includes the "shiny, deep-green foliage" discussed in the commentary. Also, the description states that it is a hardy tee for cold-weather climates, which would very well describe our area (Zone 3). The picture of the large, plum-like fruits looked just like the ones one saw, except the ones we saw might have been just a tiny bit more oval-shaped.

Best of all was this:

As attractive as this well-known tree is, it’s just as valued for its juicy fruit that is sure to attract birds and wildlife…as well as friends and neighbors.... The brilliant crimson fruit ripens in August and are about the size of small plums. Sweeter and larger than other crabapples, the fruit is excellent for eating fresh, making pies, butter, jams, jellies, ciders and sauces.
Based on all of this, I decided, with a fair amount of confidence, to give these crabapples a try this year; we went back over as the sun went down and picked just over 7 pounds of them, and I think they will do quite well.

They are currently in the freezer; I will get this project going as soon as possible - most likely after my upcoming Flathead Cherry and Chokecherry (2nd batch) wines are in the fermenters and mellowing out.
 

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Yopper - thanks for this recipe and the whole thread too over the years lots of great stuff in there. Can I ask whether it would be ok to use EC 1118 champagne yeast in this. I see Andy Hamilton uses it in his crab apple wine recipe and it's what I have to hand without organising an order from the home brew shop. He has raisins in his too not sure if that's something to do with the yeast. That yeast is pretty aggressive I think so I'm hoping it wouldn't dry it out too much or have the abv so high I would have to wait years on it to be ready - or maybe I'm wrong about all that - any thoughts?
 
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Yopper - thanks for this recipe and the whole thread too over the years lots of great stuff in there. Can I ask whether it would be ok to use EC 1118 champagne yeast in this. I see Andy Hamilton uses it in his crab apple wine recipe and it's what I have to hand without organising an order from the home brew shop. He has raisins in his too not sure if that's something to do with the yeast. That yeast is pretty aggressive I think so I'm hoping it wouldn't dry it out too much or have the abv so high I would have to wait years on it to be ready - or maybe I'm wrong about all that - any thoughts?
Sure, you could use it. There are some advantages to other strains, like 71B metabolizes more malic acid, if you have very acidic crabapples. But EC1118 will work and be pretty neutral.
 
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