Man, I love Apfelwein

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EdWort

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Apfelwein - Fermenting

Award Winning Apfelwein Recipe (German Hard Cider) Apple Wine Recipe
Placed 1st in the Cider & Apple Wine category at the BJCP sanctioned Alamo Cerveza fest (out of 11 entries) and took 2nd place for Best of Show for the main category of Meads & Ciders (out of 50 entries).

Ingredients

5 Gallons 100% Apple Juice (No preservatives or additives) I use Tree Top Apple Juice
2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar) in one pound bags
1 five gram packet of Montrachet Wine Yeast

Equipment

5 Gallon Carboy (I use a Better Bottle)
Carboy Cap or Stopper with Airlock
Funnel
  1. First sanitize the carboy, airlock, funnel, stopper or carboy cap.
  2. Open one gallon bottle of apple juice and pour half of it into the carboy using the funnel.
  3. Open one bag of Dextrose and carefully add it to the now half full bottle of apple juice. Shake well.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3, then go to step 5.
  5. Pour in the mixture of Apple Juice and Dextrose from both bottles into the carboy.
  6. Add all but 1 quart of remaining 3 gallons of apple juice to the carboy.
  7. Open the packet of Montrachet Yeast and pour it into the neck of the funnel.
  8. Use the remaining quart of juice to wash down any yeast that sticks. I am able to fit all but 3 ounces of apple juice into a 5 gallon Better Bottle. You may need to be patient to let the foam die down from all shaking and pouring.
  9. Put your stopper or carboy cap on with an airlock and fill the airlock with cheap vodka. No bacteria will live in vodka and if you get suckback, you just boosted the abv.
There’s no need to worry about filling up a carboy so full when you use Montrachet wine yeast. There is no Kreuzen, just a thin layer of bubbles (
). I'm able to fit all but 4 oz. of my five gallons in the bottle. Ferment at room temperature.

It will become cloudy in a couple of days and remain so for a few weeks. In the 4th week, the yeast will begin to drop out and it will become clear. After at least 4 weeks, you can keg or bottle, but it is ok to leave it in the carboy for another month or so. Racking to a secondary is not necessary. It ferments out very dry (less than 0.999, see here)

Apfelwein really improves with age, so if you can please let it sit in a carboy for up to 3 months before bottling or kegging, then let it sit even longer. Here's what some folks think.

Six months and it hits its stride. Eight months and it'll blow your mind.
If you want to bottle and carbonate, ¾ cup of corn sugar will work fine. Use as you would carbonate a batch of beer.

Remember to reserve judgment till after 3 glasses. It grows on you.

DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND START ANOTHER BATCH 2 WEEKS AFTER YOU START THIS ONE.
YOU WILL THANK ME LATER!
:D


GENERAL QUESTIONS
compiled by Dammed Squirrels from the first 37 pages of this thread. Thanks DS!

How does it taste?
It ferments quite dry. Some people have tried different yeasts in order to achieve a sweeter taste. It may take you a few glasses to get a feel for the flavor. It is very reminiscent of a sort of apfelwein produced locally in Germany. There really is no comparable product in the United States. It's drier and less sweet than commercial hard ciders. It gets better with age and at 6+ months, the apple flavor really comes out.

How do you sweeten it?
Many folks back sweeten it with Wine Conditioner. Wine Conditioner is a blend of sucrose and sorbic acid. The addition of 2-4 oz. per gallon adds sweetness and prevents renewed fermentation. It can be purchased as any LHBS that caters to wine makers. Others will use Splenda or lactose (other non-fermentable sugars). Germans who prefer it sweet (or Suß as they say) will add a splash of Sprite or 7up to a glass. This is the easiest method as you don't have to make a whole "sweet" batch that way.

What is the difference between Apfelwein and hard cider?
EdWort says, “Most ciders are a bit sweeter. Ciders and Apfelwein are about 6% abv, but I like the little boost I give it with 2 pounds of Dextrose. It adds no body or flavor and still tastes like Possmann's Apfelwein, only it will kick your butt much quicker.”

Is this like Apfelmost / Apfel Korn?

No. Apfel Korn is a german liqeur made from wheat spirits. Apfelmost is spontaneously fermented with fresh-pressed apples or apple juice. It is probably similar, but the results may vary as a result of the spontaneous fermentation. Either way, Apfelmost is most certainly has a lower alcohol content since the initial gravity is not increased by the use of concentrate or corn sugar.

What’s the difference between apple juice and cider?

Cider is made by pressing apples. Juice is then filtered to remove all of the stuff that makes it cloudy.

Can I use apple cider instead?

Sure! You can use whatever you want. However, there is not enough information in this thread to give you any better details as to how it will turn out. I recommend starting a new thread or ask more experienced cider-makers.

What kind of Apple Juice should I use?

Ideally, you want to use 100% natural apple juice with no preservatives. The only acceptable preservative is ascorbic acid, which is a source of vitamin C and does not affect fermentation. Pasteurized juice is preferred, since it will have less bacteria.

How much will this recipe cost me?
5 gallons of Apfelwein can be made for between 20 and 25 dollars.

What else can you do with this recipe?
EdWort says, "this makes a great Grog in the winter time. Take a quart in a sauce pan, add some rum, turbinado sugar, and float a cinnamon stick in it and simmer for a while. Serve hot in mugs. It'll warm you right up."




Drink a quart of water and take 3 aspirin before going to sleep tol help reduce the effects of excessive Apfelwein consumption as well as the urge to call EdWort a M'F**kR the next morning!
:D
 
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Flyin' Lion

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I haven't searched, but is this a kit or have you posted a recipe before? It sure looks tasty.
 

God Emporer BillyBrew

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Ed, I've got some in the secondary right now. I tasted it at transfer and it was tasting great! I hope it stays almost as sweet, but it's still bubbling away in the secondary. I transferred too early. after about 2 weeks, but I needed my primary.
 
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EdWort

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It's very simple to make.

5 Gallons of Tree Top Apple Juice from Costco
2 pounds of Dextros (corn Sugar)
1 packet Dry Montrachet Wine yeast

1. Sanitize your carboy (I love my Better bottles) and big funnel.
2. Pour half of one gallon of juice in the Carboy. Then add 1 pound of Dextrose to the half empty bottle of juice. Put the cap on and shake it up to dissolve the sugar.
3. Repeat step 2 with another gallon of apple juice and the other pound of Dextrose
4. Pour the half bottles of juice/dextros into carboy
5. Pour the rest of the juice into the carboy saving about a quart
6. Sprinkle the yeast into the funnel then rinse with the rest of the juice so all the yeast is now in the carboy.

You can fit all the juice in it, don't worry.

Wait 4 weeks at least then keg, chill, & carbonate. I don't do a secondary, but you can if you want to age it beyond 4 weeks. I would not rack till it clears like the first bottle.

You can see the difference in the colors based on the date. The first bottle was made 9/12, the second on 10/5 and the third on 10/10. I use cheap Texas vodka for my airlocks. They burn through some during the first few days of fermentation, so I keep it handy there.

The end result is a crisp, dry, refreshing Apfelwein at 8.5% abv that rocks on hot summer days. SWMBO is loving it on tap. Her German mother is coming for Christmas, so I need to make sure I have enough to last.

Oh yeah, this makes a great Grog in the winter time.

Take a quart in a sauce pan, add some rum, turbinado sugar, and float a cinnamon stick in it and simmer for a while. Serve hot in mugs. It'll warm you right up.
 
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EdWort

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God Emporer BillyBrew said:
Ed, I've got some in the secondary right now. I tasted it at transfer and it was tasting great! I hope it stays almost as sweet, but it's still bubbling away in the secondary. I transferred too early. after about 2 weeks, but I needed my primary.
Yeah, you need to go 4 weeks. I really don't bother with a secondary, I just use a 5 gallon carboy.

It will ferment out dry, but you'll still note the apples and it can be sweetened with Splenda or Lactos, but everyone who has sampled mine tends to like it just the way it is. It shows by the speed of the empty kegs.
 

God Emporer BillyBrew

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EdWort said:
Yeah, you need to go 4 weeks. I really don't bother with a secondary, I just use a 5 gallon carboy.

It will ferment out dry, but you'll still note the apples and it can be sweetened with Splenda or Lactos, but everyone who has sampled mine tends to like it just the way it is. It shows by the speed of the empty kegs.
I did vary your recipe in one way. I used ale yeast, because I was wanting it to be a little sweeter. OH, two ways, I used brown sugar.
 
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EdWort

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desertBrew said:
Hmm, sounds interesting. Also sounds easy on the wallet I suspect. What's the bill for 5g?
$15.00 for 5 gallons of Tree Top Apple Juice from Costo or Sam's
$ 3.00 for 2 pounds of Dextrose
$ 0.79 for a packet of Red Star Montrachet Wine yeast

$18.79 for 5 gallons of kick your butt 8.5% Apfelwein or about 35 cents per 12 oz. serving.
 

the_bird

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I'm thinking this would be a good use for an empty carboy I've got sitting around...

Here's a dumb question... If I make this like BiilyBrew did (I've got extra ale yeast kicking around, and the brown sugar sounds good), I can bottle and prime this just like I would any old beer, right? Add some corn sugar and go, right? Nothing different (I've never made anything like this before)?
 
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EdWort

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Caplan said:
Just looks like hard cider to me.........;)
yeah, it could be, but it tastes more like German Apfelwein, but with a bigger kick. British Cider is a bit sweet, though a pint of Scrumpy Jack is pretty tasty.
 

God Emporer BillyBrew

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the_bird said:
I'm thinking this would be a good use for an empty carboy I've got sitting around...

Here's a dumb question... If I make this like BiilyBrew did (I've got extra ale yeast kicking around, and the brown sugar sounds good), I can bottle and prime this just like I would any old beer, right? Add some corn sugar and go, right? Nothing different (I've never made anything like this before)?
Seems like if you use an ale yeast that you could. I think the problem is that the sugar is so much more fermentable that it tries to dry out even with ale yeast. Still it ought to work if you use a hydrometer. I'll be able to let you know where ale yeast ferments to in a week or two.
 

the_bird

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I may put a few ounces of lactose in there (thinking 4oz for 2.5 gallons) just to leave a LITTLE bit of sweetness behind. I'm thinking

2.5 gallons natural apple juice (no preservatives)
1 lb dark brown sugar (that enough?)
4 oz lactose
Nottingham ale yeast

Now, I'm a little worried about the lactose dissolving fully, so I'm thinking about brining one half-gallon of the juice to a simmer and dissolving it in that (maybe the brown sugar as well).

Ferment out for three to four weeks
Rack to secondary for a week or two, if needed
1/2# corn sugar to prime

Sound right?
 
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EdWort

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I tested it with Splenda (without telling anyone). No one could tell and it sweetened without further fermtation issues.

On another note, this thread looks total isolated as if it does not exist on the board when I look at the board list at a top level. Does anyone else see this?
 

the_bird

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Not sure what you mean. It shows up under "new posts" (which is where I always go), and it's under the "wine making discussion" on the home page.

So, should I forget about the lactose then? Just do it dry?
 

Spyk'd

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I found that using apple juice concentrate with the juice and ale yeast provides a relatively sweet "Hard Cider" end product. But, this is my first cider, so I may be way off base on tihs. As I drink it now though, I'm liking it...


:mug:
 
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EdWort

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the_bird said:
Not sure what you mean. It shows up under "new posts" (which is where I always go), and it's under the "wine making discussion" on the home page.

So, should I forget about the lactose then? Just do it dry?
Doh! I never tried the "New Posts" link. It sure makes things simple.

Do it dry! People will love you for it!
 

the_bird

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I'm hemmin' and hawin', I may add a can of concentrate for a little flavor, but I'm leaning against the lactose right now.

May I ask another dumb question?

What *is* the difference between this and a hard cider? Is it the use of the wine yeast?
 
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EdWort

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Most ciders are a bit sweeter. Ciders and Apfelwein are about 6% abv, but I like the little boost I give it with 2 pounds of Dextrose. It adds no body or flavor and still tastes like Possmann's Apfelwein, only it will kick your butt much quicker.

It's an aquired taste for a dry cider, but then again, most people who have tried my stuff love it. I happen to be one of them.
 

Spyk'd

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I did a six gallon batch and added one can of frozen concentrate (12oz?) and used Wyeast #1098, actually pitched onto a yeast cake and it all came out pretty damn nice. Of course this aged for about two months, but still nice.

Hope this helps!

:mug:
 
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the_bird said:
Only one can? Won't bother, then (since I'm doing less than half the volume). I'll do this on the dry side, see how we like it.
That's what I'm going to do as well; go with Ed's recipe. Happen to be brewing this weekend and going to Sams Club after work today so Apple Juice has been added to the list.

Dumb question; can you get corn sugar from the store (Sams, regular grocery?) or is that only a brewshop thing. Only time I ever buy it is for bottling (small qty) which I rarely do nowadays.
 

the_bird

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I think I'm going to try it with the brown sugar, though. Figure that'll add a LITTLE sweetness, along with using the ale yeast.

Here's a question; why not regular table sugar here? If the issue with table sugar is that it imparts a "cidery" flavor to beer, well, that's not too much of an issue with what's essentially a hard cider, right?
 
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Putting this together tomorrow while brewing my amber. Question, should I aerate? Also, I only got one packet of this yeast. Is that enough or should I use more?

I'm using brown sugar as well bird but using Ed's wine yeast. I like drier tastes
 

the_bird

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I'd use the wine yeast, but I have regular dry ale yeast here and the HBS's an hour trip. Since I have to go into the office tomorrow, figure this is something I can get going without too much time instead of brewing my Oktoberfest.

Prolly no need to make a starter, right?
 

God Emporer BillyBrew

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desertBrew said:
Aeration needed? I could toss my o2 system in there for a couple minutes. I'd assume this would be a good thing.
I don't guess it would hurt, but I wouldn't say it was crucial either. You're not boiling, so you should still have some oxygen in there.
 

the_bird

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OK, made my apfelwein this morning... very glad that you posted this, I wanted to brew this weekend but don't have time (I'm in the office right now), I was able to throw this together in no time...

So, I used:

2.5 gallons natural apple juice; store brand, $1.39 per half gallon, just apple juce concentrate and water (it is pasteruized). This is the stuff we ALWAYS have around the house for the kidling, it's pretty damn good for the price.

1 pound dark brown sugar

1 packet Nottingham dry ale yeast

Where my procedures differed slightly; I was a little worried about potential contamination in the brown sugar, as well as concerned about how easily it would dissolve, so I dissolved it in one half-gallon of the juice, heated to ~172 for twelve minutes. Just double-checking to make sure everything was sanitized.

Since I was in a bit of a hurry, I didn't cool the juice as thoroughly as I usually would have. I took the edge off the heat with a water bath, but relied on the other juice (another two gallons) to neutralize the heat. Had I more room in the fridge, I would have kept the other juices cool, but alas, I ended up pitching with the entire mixture at ~85 degrees. Not worried, not hot enough to kill the yeast, and any "fruity esters" that result? Hell, this is apply wine, not something I'm gonna worry about.

I didn't worry about aerating, the juice splashed plenty on its way into the carboy. I rehydrated the yeast prior to pitching in a little bit of the juice.

Now, one question:

I really want this to be a sparkling wine for Thanksgiving (or Christmas). Is the alcohol content high enough to *kill* the Nottingham yeast, or will they run out of fermentables before that point? In other words, will I be able to prime with a little corn sugar, or will the yeast be dead?
 
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I made mine today as well during my mash rest. The brown sugar dilluted just fine via Ed's shake in 1/2 full bottle method. Never even thought about infection...

Can't answer any of the_bird's question but I got one myself. Is fermenting this anything like beer (foam/krausen)? I got slight airlock activity already but just curious what this'll look like. Fast/furious - slow/unnoticable. Wish beer was this easy to slap together. :)

Oh - I didn't aerate either. Planned on it but I forgot. I'm a little cloudy today going to a Brew Fest last night in Tucson.
:drunk:
 

the_bird

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I'm getting bubbles every couple of seconds, nothing too aggressive (at least yet). Had a little bit of foam initially, but not really much now; there are some bubbles on the surface (big bubbles, diameter of a quarter).

I wasn't really WORRIED about infection (I'm not one to spend a lot of time worrying about this kind of stuff), it just felt like SOMETHING needed to be cooking... :D

I hope this does turn out good, it's SO easy to make (and cheap, less than $10 all-in for 2.5 gallons); I could keep this brewing constantly.

Oh - any worries about leaving this uncovered? It's hop oils that cause beer to be skunked, right, so I don't have to worry about leaving it uncovered?
 
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EdWort

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Cool stuff. Sounds like things are going well. I've been out camping this weekend.

Assembly is correct. Pretty easy to make, but darn tasty. Enjoying a glass right now since arriving back in civilization.
 
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There's an apple festival in High Rolls, NM, next weekend. We went last year and got some great cider by the gallon (the fresh-pressed stuff, not fermented). This year I want to stock up and ferment a batch. I'm guessing, EdWort, that you serve this stuff non-sparkling. SWMBO likes the commercial ciders like Hornsby's, Scrumpy Jack's, Woodpecker, etc. Do you think your method would taste good with carbonation, or might I have to sweeten a bit with some lactose or other unfermentable?

EDIT:
EdWort said:
Wait 4 weeks at least then keg, chill, & carbonate.
Nevermind, all the info I needed was right here! The rest of the thread describes the pros/cons of sweetening. Remind me to read more closely next time!
 
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