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Fun, consistent cider recipies from kits

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datagreier

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I've been experimenting with using kits to make tasty and fun ciders with consistent results (as the concentrates are rather consistent in flavour). I've mainly been using Mangrove Jacks Craft Series Apple Cider and Mangrove Jacks Craft Series Pear Cider. As far as I can see, these can be bought all over the world.

I know this isn't hard core from-scratch brewing, but in all honesty, it's just decent juice concentrate with cider yeast included in the bag, right?

I thought it would be fun with a thread of recipes like this, and start it off by adding a couple of my own.

Two successful recipes so far:

Dry hoppy pear cider
Mangrove Jacks Craft Series Pear Cider (Contains concentrate, yeast, flavouring and sweetener)
36g of Citra hop pellets
1100g of full body cane sugar
110ml of lime juice

Invert the cane sugar by adding 500ml of water and 110ml of lime juice and boil it for 2 hours. Squeeze your own limes, as lime juice from the supermarket might contain yeast-killing preservatives or other nastiness. 40 minutes of simmering is probably enough to invert the sugar, but boiling it (not violently, just a calm boil) for two hours caramelises it slightly, adding a nice flavour to the cider. Add about a litre of water to the inverted sugar at the end of the boil and stir to make it easier to dissolve when you pour it in your fermenter.

Fill your fermenter with a few liters of cold (clean, of course) water, and then add your syrup.

Boil the Citra Hops for 10 minutes, to add some bitterness to your cider. I think this is around 20 IBU. Dump the entire boil in your (now cold) fermenter.

Add the pear cider concentrate and water to 23l. Check your temperature. If it's yeast-friendly, go ahead and add the yeast and stir well.

Ferment. If you want a clear cider, siphon to a new container when fermentation stops, leaving the precipitate and floaters behind, and leave to clear for as long as it takes. I haven't tried making this cider completely clear, and you might need to add pectin or gelatine if you want it crystal clear.

Add pear flavouring, prime and bottle. No sweetening or pasteurisation needed, it's really good and rich completely dry. I've bottled it after just a few days when the fermentation has stopped, and it has turned out as good as a batch I left for a couple weeks to off-gas. It doesn't seem like the off-gasing of this particular recipe makes very much of a difference. If you are very sensitive to farty cider, leave it for a few days longer for god measure.

Remember: Hops are sensitive to oxygen, so try to bottle it with a siphon or other method that doesn't mix the cider with air too much.

Apple Yerba "Cocaïna" Mate cider:
Mangrove Jacks Craft Series Apple Cider (Contains concentrate, yeast, flavouring and sweetener)
350g of unsmoked Yerba Mate
1100g full body cane sugar
110ml of grapefruit juice

Invert the cane sugar by adding 500ml of water and 110ml of grapefruit juice and simmer for 40 minutes. Squeeze your own grapefruits, as juice from the supermarket might contain yeast-killing preservatives or other nastiness. Add about a litre of water to the inverted sugar at the end of the boil and stir to make it easier to dissolve when you pour it in your fermenter.

Heat up 8l of water to 80c an add to your fermenter. Add the Yerba Mate. Keep adding 80c water to the fermenter until you hit about 20l. The goal is to keep the water between 70-80c to for the tea to steep in.

Add your syrup. Add the Apple juice concentrate. Top up to 23l if you plan to sweeten with the included artificial sweetener. If you plan to sweeten with natural sugar, leave som room for syrup.

Wait until cool enough to add yeast, an go ahead and add it. Stir well. Check your OG if you plan to sweeten with sugar instead of artificial sweetener

Ferment until fermatation stops. Siphon to a new container using a hop sock or some sort of gauze contraption to get the tea out.

This recipe does produce a bit of hydrogen sulfide, so you may want to leave it to off-gas for a few days or weeks. Use your nose to decide when it's time to bottle, or be a fancypants and leave it for a moon cycle or two.

Sweeten with the included sweetener, or add syrup. If you want to sweeten with syrup, you'll need to pasteurise when the gravity is right. Check out Pappers_ Easy Stove-Top Pasteurizing. You can also pasteurise with your dishwasher, if it's hot enough.

Add apple flavouring, prime and leave for 6 hours to let the particles settle. Bottle. If you didn't clarify it, the cider will be a bit cloudy, but will clear to a semi-cloudy in the bottle and the precipitate will usually cake nicely within just a couple of weeks.

Warning: This cider contains a lot of caffeine. Hence the name. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you should bottle it in smallish bottles to reduce the serving volume.
 
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