English Cider with Molasses and Spices - Recipe and Review

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Dec 26, 2022
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In late fall 2022, I started a batch of cider using concentrated cans of honey dew apple juice, something I've never tried before, but I figured it cuts down on the waste compared to tetrapaks.

The recipe is follows:
13 cans of honeydew concentrate (355ml ea) ($1.97CAD ea)
1 box of fancy molasses (675g) ($4)
14L of tapwater
1 cup of very strong black tea (steeped around 10mins)

Pitched with 1 pack of Nottingham ale yeast ($5) on November 12, 2022.
The OG reading was not accurate due to the molasses settling to the bottom, and it was verry difficult to get it to dissolve. Next time, I'll mix it with warm water prior, rather than just dumping the stuff in. It is very thicc stuff.
Based on calculations it should be 130g/L of sugar, meaning it should ferment dry to 6.5% ABV

Bottled December 21st.
Really cutting things close for Christmas celebrations, but since it was a stronger brew, it drinks fine as a wine, even warm and flat.
During bottling I just primed with 5oz of white sugar.

Overall, it was a nice bubbly cider, probably finished around 7% after priming sugar got eaten up. It was more of a sipper, compared to lighter ciders I've made previously. The cider and molasses added the body and complexity that my previous bud light tasting ciders were missing, however, it came with a very slight stankiness. Not enough for most of my friends to notice, but I would compare it to that after taste of Brisk iced tea.
I am not sure if this is due to the molasses, the interaction between the ale yeast and the molasses, the AJ concentrate, or the addition of black tea. If anyone knows what I am talking about, would love to hear your input.

Flavoring Comparison
During bottling, I decided to add some spices to a couple to test it (spices were soaked in vodka before adding):
  • Cinnamon - Tasted a bit one dimensional. It would probably go better with a sweet cider, but the acidity didn't mix too well
  • Clove - Just made it slightly bitter, not very noticeable
  • Cinnamon, clove, and allspice - Apple pie flavour 100%. Not great for my taste though. Again, probably better with a sweet cider.
Overall, I found when I added these spices, the taste was very slightly artificial almost which I found odd. Maybe it is because I am used to these spices flavours when they are cooked and not just infused.

  • 7% ABV apple cider with molasses and black tea
  • Total cost $37.93
  • About 2 months to drinking something carbonated, tasted much better after 3 months though
  • I wasn't a fan of the spices but I could see other people enjoying it. The apple spice mixture is definitely the winning combo.

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