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Ideas for sweet blackberry apple cider

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h4mmy86

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Hey hey,

I've got 4 gallons of cider that I'd like to infuse with some locally picked blackberries I have frozen.

The cider is just store bought apple juice fermented out with California ale yeast. I've taken no gravity readings but it seems to be general consensus that store bought juice has an average OG of around 1.050 so I'm figuring I have 4 gallons of dry cider at around 5% abv give or take.

My first big question is, is it necessary to let the berries thaw or can I rack onto them frozen? ...I'm a lil worried the difference in temperature might make it want to suck the sanitizer from my airlock into the fermenter.

Here are my ideas:
Rack fermented cider into a secondary vessel on top of the berries, leave sit for a few weeks, rack to keg, and then back sweeten with 1 gallon of unfermented juice giving me 5 gallons of sweet blackberry apple cider at around 4% abv

-or-

Put the berries into a fermenter with unfermented apple juice and a couple crushed up campden tablets to sterilize, and then rack the fermented cider onto this concoction and allow sit a few weeks, hoping it doesn't start fermenting.

I'm leaning towards the second, but I'm really unsure and am new to cider and using raw fruit.

Advise? Criticism? Insight? Any input at all is greatly appreciated!

Cheers,
-Hammy
 

DisplacedSailor

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Don't know for certain what is "correct". However, what I do is to let ferment out then rack into a secondary with the fruit already in place. Let sit in secondary for ~30 days and then rack to a tertiary to clear sediments.

It has been said that (depending on yeast), fruit additions in primary will be stripped of flavor during fermentation.
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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Bump!

Would like to rack this today if I can get some advice!
 

Tmadia

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I would rack right onto the frozen berries and give it a few weeks to infuse. Then rack again to let clear and drink!

I just made a 5 gallon apple cider with 3 lbs of orange blossom homey and 3 lbs of frozen blackberries added in the primary. OG was 1.060. Fermented for about 2 weeks then cold crashed at 1.020 and racked to a new carboy for clearing. Tasted great! Could taste the berries, the honey, and the apples all at once.
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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Thanks for the input guys. I'm halfway thawing the berries now, then I'll rack the finished cider onto that, and back sweeten at kegging.

Input still welcome as the berries will be another few hours thawing.

My main reasoning in this decision is that I'm worried about how much area the berries will displace (~10 lbs.) in my bucket and then the potential krausen that may rise. Don't want a big gooey gusher on my hands.

I also want to know what you guys think about adding campden tablets to this mix. Worth it in way of killing off potentially unwanted unknowns, or will going maybe just add a few points to the abv and complexity to the flavor? I don't mind a lil lambic taste, plus I'll be sweetening 4 gallons of product with another gallon of juice, seems that would mask/compliment any unexpected flavors pretty well.

What to do, what to do?!

If I don't hear anything back I'll just let you know how it goes!
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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My posts need a tl;dr :drunk:

Racked 4 gallons of fermented cider onto ~10 lbs. of frozen blackberries and the added 4 crushed campden tablets. Nearly filled my bucket so hopefully no krausen rises up.

Will report back in a few weeks!
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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Just in case anyone is interested, here is a little update.

I've got pretty decent airlock activity. A bubble every 5 seconds or so. I haven't peeked into the bucket so I don't know if any krausen has risen or not. I'm hoping that the campden tablets killed off any wild bacteria and the fermentation that might be happening right now is the result of the suspended yeast in the cider consuming the natural sugars in the berries. I see this as a good thing, providing me with a lil more alcohol and a blanket of co2 in the empty space of the bucket.

A little bit of wild sour wouldn't bother me anyway, especially since I plan to backsweeten at kegging. Could make for a nice balance!

Hope this stuff turns out as good as it sounds!

Will report back later,
Hammy
 

Apple_Jacker

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Just in case anyone is interested, here is a little update.

I've got pretty decent airlock activity. A bubble every 5 seconds or so. I haven't peeked into the bucket so I don't know if any krausen has risen or not. I'm hoping that the campden tablets killed off any wild bacteria and the fermentation that might be happening right now is the result of the suspended yeast in the cider consuming the natural sugars in the berries. I see this as a good thing, providing me with a lil more alcohol and a blanket of co2 in the empty space of the bucket.

A little bit of wild sour wouldn't bother me anyway, especially since I plan to backsweeten at kegging. Could make for a nice balance!

Hope this stuff turns out as good as it sounds!

Will report back later,
Hammy
Why don't you open it up and give it a taste? It won't hurt anything
 

wilson42203

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My posts need a tl;dr :drunk:

Racked 4 gallons of fermented cider onto ~10 lbs. of frozen blackberries and the added 4 crushed campden tablets. Nearly filled my bucket so hopefully no krausen rises up.

Will report back in a few weeks!
Here is mine 26 hours after pitching the yeast. I'm getting a bubble about every 4-5 seconds.

I racked about 4.5 gal of fresh-squeezed cider onto 3 lbs of fresh blackberries, and added some pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient. Then I added my potassium metabisulfite, let it sit for 23 hours, and then pitched the yeast.

I used Wyeast Sweet Mead yeast for a slightly less-dry finish. As you can see, my "krausen" is actually made up of mostly blackberries. I am a little concerned because it looks to still be expanding. I may have to poke the center to keep the pressure under the berries down. The last thing I want is that stuff creeping up into my airlock.

ForumRunner_20130930_185603.jpg
 
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h4mmy86

h4mmy86

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Okay, so I racked the cider to keg today!
I poured a gallon of unfermented apple juice into the keg and the siphoned the berry cider onto that. I was pretty surprised at how clear the cider was already, beautiful deep ruby red. Gravity of the fermented product was around 1.000 which was exactly what I was hoping for.

I tasted my gravity sample and it was very nice. The berries dominate the flavor, dry, tart, with a crisp apple finish. Very tasty stuff indeed. I've yet to try the backsweetened cider but I'm sure it'll be wonderful. My keg filled up with a little bit to spare so I have a half gallon of still cider to enjoy later down the road.

Here are some pics from today's work.

I didn't even notice until I was looking at my pics from today but it seems I have a certain special secret ingredient... June bugs!! They must have been in with my frozen berries! Oh well, still tastes good to me ;) Can you spot them?!

:mug:

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ODGlenchez

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Looks great! Any more insight on preferred method of fruit additions? Fresh, frozen, puree, concentrate?
 

punkrawkgeek

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Blackberry June Cider. Sounds good! ;)
Looks lovely.
I put some apple blackberry cider on...and i wanna rack it on some frozen berries as well for a week or two. How long did you leave the berries in there for???
 
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