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Graff (Malty, slightly hopped cider)

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For all non-scientific beerology purposes, this is a cider. (I know, I know....but its got hops in it!)

Jay Huff and his apple bee got me started on some experiments and this is what I have come up with.

I noticed Ed's Apfelwein tasted super hoochy until it was about a year old. When it's about a year old tho it does taste like a good cider, but doesn't have the body a good cider does.

So, how can I make something that will taste good faster and also have body?

1. Get rid of the wine yeast and use a clean fermenting beer yeast
2. Get rid of that cheap sugar and use some light DME
3. Balance the tart flavor of young cider by using specialty grains.
4. Later on, I found hops also helped balance the overall flavor. BUT ONLY A TINY BIT, DO NOT USE MORE THAN CALLED FOR

If you like a clean, malty, not too tart easy drinking cider style beverage then this is your drink.

Materials needed for a 5 Gallon Batch

Clean fermenting yeast I have used Nottinham and Safale-05, both are good
.5 lbs of Crystal 60L If you use cheap store brand juice, I reccomend 120L. Cheap juice tends to turn out a tad tart and this will balance it.
1 oz of torrified wheat ( head retention, I've never used more than 2oz)
4 Gallons of apple juice.
1 gallon of water
2 lbs of DME ( I use 1 lb. amber and 1 lb. light DME)
0.5 oz of you favorite hops ( right around 6% AA, I have used 18.5% AA summit hops before and it took a month after kegging for strong bitterness to blend nicely)
WARNING! IF YOU ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF HOPS USED, MAKE IT LESS NOT MORE, it's really just too bitter with any more.

Directions for brewing

Steep the 60L and torrified wheat in .75 gallons of water @ 155 degrees for 30 mins.
Sparge with .25 gallons 170 degree water and throw away grains.
Add DME and bring to a boil.
Add hops when boiling starts and boil for 30 mins.

Cool down the wort (if you choose not to cool the wort and just let the AJ do the cooling then your cider won't be as clear). I don't care about clarity so I just let the AJ do the cooling, but if you stick your pot in the freezer and let this get down to 70 degrees or so your cider will clear fairly easy. Pour the wort and apple juice into your carboy and pitch yeast.

Ferment 2 weeks at 64-68 degrees then keg or bottle.

I keg, and this stuff is VERY drinkable as soon as it is carbonated.
SUPERB taste and drinkability after 2-3 weeks of aging.

People bottling, it will have SUPERB taste and drinkability after the standard 3 week bottling period for carbonating.
 

Coastarine

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I'm game. I find my simple juice+ale yeast ciders to be a little too tart, dry, and thin. It will probably be a while before I make this (months probably) but when I do I'll let you know what I think.
 
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I'm game. I find my simple juice+ale yeast ciders to be a little too tart, dry, and thin. It will probably be a while before I make this (months probably) but when I do I'll let you know what I think.
thats the same thing I always thought. Graff will take care of that problem real quick.
 

avaserfi

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This is on my list of ciders to try. It sounds like it will have a nice residual sweetness which will be appreciated within the household.
 

kgutwin

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What's your normal gravity readings and/or ABV? Is this a big cider like Apfelwein or smaller?
 

Shaun_ATX

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Just brewed a batch of Graff this afternoon. Followed the recipe exactly.......used 100% apple juice from Walmart, Safale-05 and Cascade hops (7.5%AA)

Can't wait to give it a try!!

OG: 1.060 @ 66 degrees
 

yeastluvr

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I just started a 2 1/2 gallon batch. I tried to follow the exact recipe. Only difference was I used hopped DME instead of adding the hops and my brew store did not have "nor did they not even know what it was," torrified wheat. I used Nottinghams Ale yeast and came out with a OG of 1.058 ish. I sampled the beaker and I definitely taste the hop bite, but I think this is going to turn out VERY drinkable. I have high hopes. I have it cooling off right now in the back room, I may even read it a story before I go to bed, just to make sure its happy.
 
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I just started a 2 1/2 gallon batch. I tried to follow the exact recipe. Only difference was I used hopped DME instead of adding the hops and my brew store did not have "nor did they not even know what it was," torrified wheat. I used Nottinghams Ale yeast and came out with a OG of 1.058 ish. I sampled the beaker and I definitely taste the hop bite, but I think this is going to turn out VERY drinkable. I have high hopes. I have it cooling off right now in the back room, I may even read it a story before I go to bed, just to make sure its happy.
the hopped DME has a lot of hops compared to the ratio of 2lbs DME to .5oz.

it will be hoppy, but if you age it 2 months the hop bite will subside. that is what happened when I used some 18.5AA summit hops
 

Shooter

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Bump :D

so how long until someone posts a "How Many Gallons of Brandon O's Graff Have Been Made?" threads?
Soon, I just ordered a Coopers ingredient kit, never brewed a Coopers kit before, from Austin Homebrew and added the grain and hop ingredients for a batch of Graff to my order!

I had three gallons of cider sitting around in little one gallon glass bottles. I was going to whip up a batch of cider in my three gallon carboy and use the little bottles for mead. Instead, I went and bought another gallon of juice and am going to make up five gallons of Graff and use the little carboy to do a little mead batch I can then split into one gallon secondaries and try a few different flavoring experiments. This way I get Graff and mead going at the same time as my beer kit. It's pretty much a win, win, win situation for me! :D
 
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I've been making ciders like crazy lately. I love cider in the summer and the turn around is the same as beer, plus it's easier than all grain.

I just picked up 1 gallon of organic blueberry juice, nothin but blueberries in it. Expensive but I am going to combine it with 3 gallons of fresh pressed apple juice, 2lbs of light DME. steep some crystal 60L and torrified wheat in a gallon and this is gonna be one hell of a blueberry apple cider.
 

pipes-n-brew

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I'm assuming for bottling Graff, you would do so just as with any other beer - either prime with dextrose, or add to individual bottles. Is that right? Looking forward to trying this recipe...
 

armorshell

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Done and done.

3oz torrified wheat
3oz Crystal 60l (LHBS milled them together while I wasn't watching, doh!)
5g Mott's
3lbs Amber Malt Extract

.65oz Kents Goldings
Nottingham

Everything per Brandon's instructions other than substituting malt extract for DME and the mess-up with the grains. Topped up to 6.5 gallons, should still be able to sneak up and bite you with an OG of 1.06
 

MacBruver

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Interesting. I recently tried a similar experiment... more DME, no specialty grains, and less cider. It was just a bunch of junk I had sitting around. Here's my thread:

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/todays-leftovers-special-amber-ale-cider-brew-113788/

It's about as plain as you would expect, but the yeast did give it some interesting character... especially when the temps got so ridiculously high for a day or two. I think I'm going to do a hop tea with some more cascade, I think it would go well. The hops are pretty much imperceptable at this point.
 
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Done and done.

3oz torrified wheat
3oz Crystal 60l (LHBS milled them together while I wasn't watching, doh!)
5g Mott's
3lbs Amber Malt Extract

.65oz Kents Goldings
Nottingham

Everything per Brandon's instructions other than substituting malt extract for DME and the mess-up with the grains. Topped up to 6.5 gallons, should still be able to sneak up and bite you with an OG of 1.06
Dude, let me know how that 3 oz of torrified wheat works out, you should have an amazing amount of head.......like imperial stout poured improperly proportions. i thought 2 oz was a lot.
 

mc_eric

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This sounds pretty tasty! I live down the road from a cider mill, I'll have to pick up a few gallons and make some of this. I'm thinking about doing something a bit maltier with a mash, maybe like 5 or 6 pound of pale malt mashed at 155-ish, collect 2-2.5 gallons, add 3-ish gallons of cider, then boil with some hops.

Does this sound absolutely horrible? If not, I'm totally doing it.
 

MacBruver

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Don't boil the cider, just the wort. If you boil the cider you'll get a permanent haze that you will never be able to get rid of.
 

mc_eric

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OK thanks MacBruver. I think I'll make this my next brew. I guess I was thinking about sanitation, but the cider from this place may well be pasteurized anyway. I've never made cider or wine before, and I'm not all that concerned with haze as long as it tastes good (clear stuff is always very nice, though). I'm still a n00b at brewing, so appearance is definitely second to flavor for now:)

thx for the advice
 

MacBruver

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Even if it's not pasteurized you're still fine. Plenty of people here make cider with unpasteurized juice with no ill effects. Check out the sticky thread in the Cider forum, it has some good information on the differences between pasteurized and unpasteurized juice.
 
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Need some reviews from others who have brewed this.

IMO, this is what a Cider should taste like and many comercial ciders do taste like.

Apple juice, sugar, and yeast never tasted good to me.
 

Shooter

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Mine will be a few weeks still before I'm going to bottle it, but, once I sample, I'll post a review.

I know what you mean about pure juice cider. I'm sampling my first batch of home brewed cider and it's all juice with a very small amount of light brown sugar. It's good, but a little thin.
 

KingBrianI

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I'm brewing up two gallons right now. The crystal malt and DME and ale yeast sound really good in a cider so I'm looking forward to tasting this one. I'll be using wlp002 (the fullers strain) to ferment since I love that yeast and I'm making a starter with it anyway for my Common Room ESB I'll brew tomorrow.
 

Coastarine

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I've taken the concept and I'm planning to try a more session strength version. Here's my plan:

Target OG 1.053

2lbs DME just like OP
4oz C40
4oz C120
1oz torrified wheat

1/2oz crystal 3.5% AA 30 min

2gal final boil volume

combine with 3 gallons apple juice, two of which were stored in the fridge, should come out in the mid sixties for pitching temp.

Unfortunately it might be quite a while before I get around to making this. I probably won't be brewing anything else until after I move.
 

Coastarine

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Unfortunately it might be quite a while before I get around to making this. I probably won't be brewing anything else until after I move.
Belay my last. I can't stop thinking about how tasty this sounds, and I realized that I have everything I need for a 2.5gal batch except for the juice sitting around the house. I'll have to sub S-04 for the yeast, but I'm doing a half batch of this tonight.

edit: shoot I was forgetting about the wheat...I have flaked wheat or white wheat malt...I normally do AG so I'm not really up to speed on steeping or PM or whatever we're doing here; which should I use?

double edit: Looks like the flaked is the way to go. According to beersmith: Flaked wheat adds to increased body and foam retention
Used in place of raw or torrified wheat for faster conversion and better yield.
May be used in small amounts to improve head retention and body. I'm gonna add 1/2lb 2-row to this to convert it.

Here's the new recipe:
Make 1 gallon of wort from the following...
8oz 2-row
2oz C40
2oz C120
2oz Flaked Wheat

10oz DME
1/4oz Crystal 3.5%AA 30 min

OG of the wort should be about 1.052
Mix with 2 gallons of apple juice, OG of about 1.054, for a final 3 gallon batch OG of 1.053ish, ferment with S-04.
 

Picobrew

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I'm ready to do this tonight. I have a starter of Wyeast 3068 that I'm going to use. Won't be clean like the OP but I think it will be tasty. I'm going to go with 2oz of torrified and use Crystal 120L because that is what I have on hand. This is going to be sort of a Hefegraff. If this works out well I'd also like to try this with a Saison yeast.
 
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I've gotta tell ya, this smells a hell of a lot better fermenting than apfelwein does!
that's because apfelwein uses the worst yeast possible (montrachet, even wine makers think it is subpar) and presents its self as an apple flavored drink when it really tastes like cheap white wine.
 
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