How to make mango cider

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Genty

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I've been lurking on this site for a while now not contributing much so thought I'd rectify that. I'm still very much a home brewing novice, but there's one thing I might have some useful input on - mango cider.

I'm originally from the southwest of England, so deep cider country. But I'm currently living in southern India where cider is non-existent and good/affordable apples are hard to come by. I realised the closest thing in terms of diversity of varieties and a balance of tart and sweet was probably the mango so I looked up recipes for mango cider. While there are lots for mango wine, there were very few for mango cider and the few I could find are either blends of apple and mango or failed or inconclusive experiments that the inventors never followed up on.

So I took what information I could from these various sources and tried to work out a reliable protocol for making mango cider. I've only done two batches so far, because mangoes are seasonal, but the first was a tasty work in progress and the second was pretty successful by my own standards. So I thought I'd share what I've learned.


Ingredients

There are nearly as many mango varieties as apple varieties all with distinct characteristics so there's a lot of scope for tailoring the flavour of your cider by blending varieties. If you don't have easy access to fresh and affordable mangos it seems that Asian food stores often sell tinned mango pulp, which is likely to be cheaper than fresh ones and it appears others making wine have had success with it. If you can get hold of fresh mangoes it will be worth it as tinned pulp, at least in India, tends to come from one of the cheaper and less tasty varieties. Or go 50/50 or 30/70 with fresh and tinned to balance cost and flavour.


Batch #1


I won't go into the full protocol for this batch to avoid repeating myself with the next one, but I'll quickly explain what went well and what went badly. The flavour was actually better than the second batch, because I went 50/50 with two very different varieties - one sweet and honey-like and the other more tart and aromatic. The second batch was a single, less complex variety.

However, I made a dog's dinner of dealing with the mango pulp. After extracting the flesh from the mangoes I put it all in a homemade BIAB brew bag made from muslin. I tried to then squeeze and mash the mangoes to extract the juice, but the flesh is quite firm and fibrous and this didn't work at all. So I made the mistake of blending the mango pulp in a food processor before returning it to the muslin bag. This was a terrible plan because it basically diced up all the fibres into little pieces so they could then get through the muslin filter. This resulted in a thick almost smoothy-like consistency that made it through to the finished cider. The cider tasted great but the texture was odd and looked unattractive in the glass and it also started to brown with age.

Batch #2

After the problems with the first batch I did a bit more reading and found advice from the winemaking community recommending to carry out initial fermentation with the whole fruit rather than trying to extract the juice. I also realised I probably hadn't done enough to breakdown the fruit before trying to ferment it and found useful advice to freeze the fruit beforehand, which breaks the cells walls and releases more juice. I had also not used pectic enzyme on my first batch as it is hard to come by here, but I discovered there's actually pectinase in the peel of papaya so decided to use that as well. Not sure which of these adjustments had the most effect, but it worked and I ended up with an opaque orange/yellow juice rather than a smoothy.

This was the protocol I used to make a roughly 7 litre batch:

  • Freeze 4.5kg of mangoes 3 days before brew day
  • The day before brew day boil 4L of water for 10-20 mins to sterilize and then chill*
  • I decided to add 300g sugar to the water (enough to bring SG to about 1.030) to counteract the fact that adding water would lower the SG of the cider, but this was pretty back of the hand maths so could do more or less
  • Take mangoes out of the freezer first thing on brew day to thaw
  • Once thawed, throw mangoes in vat of Star San to sanitize and sanitize all equipment that will come in contact with the pulp/juice (fermenter, BIAB bag, utensils...etc)
  • Hang a BIAB brew bag inside your fermenter (i.e. opening of the bag folded over the ridge of the vessel and secured with an elastic band or similar so the bag basically lines the inside of the vessel but remains open at the top)
  • Peel mangoes and put flesh in the fermenter
  • Mash the mango flesh with a sanitised potato masher
  • Add pectic enzyme or papaya peel (I used peel from half a papaya, which is supposed to be the equivalent of 1 tsp of pectic enzyme)
  • Add the 4L of water, or enough to nearly fill fermenter, and stir with a sanitised spoon
  • Cover with cling film or lid and leave for 24 hours for the pectic enzyme to act
  • Boil a teabag in about 100ml of water for 10 mins and then save the resulting liquid in a sanitised container**
  • Add yeast (I used S04) and tea to the fermenter, stir, tie up the mouth of the bag and push down into fermenter
  • Cover with cling film or lid + airlock
  • Depending on headspace put a blow off tube on and leave at 16C
  • The fruit pulp will rise to the top and dry out so punch it back down with a sanitised spoon/potato masher and stir twice daily for the first 5 days
  • After 5 days pull out the bag and drain into a sanitised vessel, being careful to limit splashing to avoid oxidisation
  • Return drained juice to the fermenter and leave until it reaches terminal gravity (probably about a month)
*To explain the water addition, I reasoned that the yeast is going to struggle just sat on top of a load of fruit pulp and also losses to fibre and pulp mean you'd probably have to fill the fermenter to the top with pulp to get even half that volume of juice. Because mangoes are sweeter than apples, dilution has less of an effect on SG and I wasn't aiming for turbocider anyway. But this ratio is certainly something that could be played around with and if someone can find a simple way of extracting the juice from the pulp I'm all ears.

**Unlike apple's mangoes don't have any tannin so I decided to add some in the form of well-boiled tea to give the cider some body

IMG_20170620_115114.jpg

This is how the setup looked for the first 5 days of fermentation.

IMG-20170419-WA0002.jpg

This is how it looked after the pulp bag had been removed and fermentation was in full swing


The finished product

I decided that for a first go I wanted a sweet, fizzy cider that I could drink quickly. So after the cider reached terminal gravity I back sweetened with sugar to taste, bottled it and let it carb up for a couple of days before stove top pasteurising. This cider was tasty and ready to drink immediately afterwards with plenty of mango flavour and aroma. Maybe a little sour. I can't say I noticed a major change in flavour aging over four months or so, but I've not got a very refined palate.

I also filled a few bottles before back sweetening to create a dry, almost flat cider. Just cracked the first bottle yesterday after about 8-9 months (which is what reminded me to do this post) and was delicious. Despite being left to dry out completely it doesn't taste that dry at all. There's still a pleasant amount of perceived sweetness, which supports the strong juicy mango flavour. Still a little sourness, so not sure if that will age out eventually or that's just how mango cider is.

As mentioned earlier, the juice and the resulting cider is an opaque yellow. I know it is possible to get a clear final product as mango wine makers do several rackings over a period of months to achieve a clear golden liquid pretty similar in colour to white wine. Personally, I like the opacity of the finished product as it reminds me of the cloudy west country scrumpy from back home. It also gives it a distinct identity that I think complements the tropical taste, but those after a clear cider could probably achieve it.

IMG_20180211_203628.jpg

Still, dry mango cider after 8 months in the bottle



So, I hope this post inspires people to give mango cider a go and gives any other homebrewers stranded in the tropics something they can tackle with local ingredients. Happy to answer any questions.
 

bernardsmith

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Hiya Genty - and welcome.
Really very interesting. Mango makes a lovely wine whether low alcohol like cider or high alcohol (12%) like a regular wine.

I wonder if you had a juicer and could juice the mango you would then not need to dilute the fruit juice with water... I've made mango wine a couple of times but here in upstate NY I can buy mango juice from my supermarket and while there will be a fair amount of pulp and so lees, I plan for this have not had any trouble with volume loss (I ferment in a bucket and would aim for 1.5 gallons of must if I want to bottle a gallon of wine..
 
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Genty

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Hi Bernard. Yeah, I reckon a proper juicer would probably do the trick. As you can probably tell from my photos I'm doing this on a budget and with equipment cobbled together from the local store! But that might a worthwhile investment.

When you've made mango wine what yeast have you used? I'd be interested to experiment and see how much of a difference it makes. I used an English ale yeast and the final product definitely had some of the funkiness of a traditional scrumpy, which is what I was after. But that isn't to everyone's taste so I wonder if doing the same recipe with a wine yeast would result in a cleaner final product.

Hiya Genty - and welcome.
Really very interesting. Mango makes a lovely wine whether low alcohol like cider or high alcohol (12%) like a regular wine.

I wonder if you had a juicer and could juice the mango you would then not need to dilute the fruit juice with water... I've made mango wine a couple of times but here in upstate NY I can buy mango juice from my supermarket and while there will be a fair amount of pulp and so lees, I plan for this have not had any trouble with volume loss (I ferment in a bucket and would aim for 1.5 gallons of must if I want to bottle a gallon of wine..
 
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Genty

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Hi HB Bill. The process you describe is pretty much what I did with my first batch and it didn't go very well. I blended and strained through a fine muslin, but the result was a gloopy, almost smoothy-like liquid. Mangoes are a lot more fibrous than most other fruits used in winemaking/brewing and my guess is the blender diced the fibres up small enough to get through the muslin. So I think you might not get the same results as you did with watermelon.

When I use watermelon it goes into the blender and gets strained through a nylon net. If I ever use mangoes I'll do the same.
 

bernardsmith

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My "go to" yeast for fruit wines tends to be either 71B or D47 but I like DV10 too (not always easy to get in small packs). Don't have access to my notes but my bet is that I would have used 71B for the mango.
 

homebrewer_99

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Hi HB Bill. The process you describe is pretty much what I did with my first batch and it didn't go very well. I blended and strained through a fine muslin, but the result was a gloopy, almost smoothy-like liquid. Mangoes are a lot more fibrous than most other fruits used in winemaking/brewing and my guess is the blender diced the fibres up small enough to get through the muslin. So I think you might not get the same results as you did with watermelon.

I hear you, but not very much fiber got through the netting I used. I just put the nylon bag in a sanitized strainer and let it sit for an hour or so.
 
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Genty

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I did get a bit impatient and started squeezing the bag, so maybe if I just let it sit like you suggest then maybe it would have worked. Will experiment next time!

I hear you, but not very much fiber got through the netting I used. I just put the nylon bag in a sanitized strainer and let it sit for an hour or so.
 

brewcold

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Thanks for this information. I have lots of mangoes in my backyard due to where I live and now I just found a whole new way to utilize another recipe out of it :)
 
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