Marriage of Iðunn (A pretty generic cyser with a fancy name)

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Oct 21, 2016
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Iðunn, goddes associated with apples and youth, was married to Bragi, god of poetry and the bards, or skalds, as they were called. Skalds were said to drink of mead, and from it, they received inspiration by Bragi. Hence, the name of this cyser, a fusion of mead and apples, the Marriage of Iðunn. Originally, I was going to call it the wedding of Bragi and Iðunn, but the flavor of apple came out much stronger, so I dropped Bragi from the name (also, to make labeling easier), thus requiring me to explain it even more. So, kinda backfired.


8 12 oz cans Frozen Concentrate Apple Juice
2 12 oz cans Frozen Concentrate Cranberry Juice
4 lb Honey
360 oz Purified Water
4 heaped tsp Yeast Nutrient
2 cups of strong tea (about 10 packets)
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbsp crushed cardamom
3 cloves
5 cinnamon sticks
1 Pkt Red Star Premier Blanc Yeast
Campden tablets (Potasium Metabisulfite) for sterilization and additive
Potassium Sorbate (for stabilization)

Log Notes:

Day One:
Added frozen conentrate into my bucket and about 2 gallons room temp water. The water from the tea seemed to become absorbed into the tea bags, so I squeezed the tea out of the bags by hand (after washing my hands of course). By adding alternating hot and cold water (I have a water dispenser so I have both temperatures readily available), I was able to control the temperature of the must to ~90 degrees. I pitched the yeast directly into the must, since the heat was sufficient to reactivate the yeast. In addition, they will work very quickly for the first part of it, which is what I hope for with this recipe.

The must itself smells very strongly of apples but has taken on a very deep red, almost like a red wine. The cranberry cocktail has taken over the coloring. The taste of the must is very apple-y as one might expect. The tea adds a nice balance that is very pleasant and I look forward to how that will affect the finished product. The tastes of the ground spices come through, but not the whole spices.

As I lack a hydrometer, I can only estimate Specific Gravity with online calculators.

Est. OG: 1.071

A few hours later, I noticed no airlock activity. This caused me to worry if I should decant the must into another container, thinking that my bucket may not be air tight. However, I popped off the plug on top of my bucket and noticed what looked like what people call krausen, so I let it be.

A few more hours have passed and when I look at my s-airlock, I notice all the water has been pushed to the second compartment, meaning there is some positive pressure building. Perhaps it is a slower bubble because of the extra headspace in the bucket. So far, my only brew before this was a mead in a 1 gallon container, and the must filled most of the carboy. This bucket has about 1.25 gallons room, plus whatever headspace is allowed after filling the 5 gallons. Basically, I think it is fermenting due to the positive pressure I observed, but that it will be a slower bubble than I got used to with my 1 gallon carboy. I will observe another 24 hours and see if the bubbling accelerates.

Day 2: Roughly 12 hours later, I checked again and I see it bubble roughly once every 2 seconds. We're on our way! I was worried because it got cold last night in my house (~62 degrees F when I checked the thermostat this morning) but I knew it wouldn't be enough to quite stop the bacteria. The heater is on and it will be 72 again soon, prime temperature for this type of yeast, according to package instructions.

Day 3: I wasn't even gonna worry about it today, but I opened the door to my laundry room (the bucket is in a cabinet in the laundry room) this morning and the smell of the fermenting cyser hit me. I have spent all day looking for any excuse to walk by there and stick my nose in for a second and breathe in that delicious scent.

Day 4: Airlock activity has slowed dramatically. I was worried about this until consulting one of my local brewing groups and hearing from a senior member that this was completely normal. (Keep in mind, this is only my second brew, and my first is still in process). I will be checking it daily to see how far apart bubbles are. Baron Donal recommends racking once airlock activity occurs ~30-60 minutes.
Day 5: ~1x/4min

Day 9: ~1x/41 min. It is ready to be racked. I sanitized my 5 gallon carboy with a campden tablet solution and boiled the siphon tube for about 10 minutes. After racking, the solution is cloudy, which is to be expected, and is a light pink color. The taste is very dry and slightly salty. The spices you can taste very lightly but not as strong as I had expected you would. I took the sample that I used to test for specific gravity (again, using the weight method) and sweetened it with honey to estimate the flavor that would come through after backsweetening and the flavor is very pleasant. The cardamom comes through the most, and honey. I expected more cinnoman flavor but that is not coming through as strongly. The cloves as well, but I did not want a strong clove flavor, just a touch of bitterness which I can taste as well.

Est. Specific Gravity: 1.034
Est. Alcohol Content: 4.84%

Day 13: The fermentation seemed to have stopped. After consulting the my local group again, I added a gallon of apple juice to dilute the mixture and hopefully restart fermentation.
Update: the fermentation has jumpstarted. Seeing a bubble ~1x/30 minutes. This does, however, mess up my SG readings.

Day 15: Bubbles ~1x/3 seconds. The jumpstart is working perfectly With the addition of the apple juice, it is now a beautful amber. It smells good.

Day 21: The brew has ceased its bubbling. Allowing it to settle and clear.

Day 35: It appears to have finished. Killed off fermentation with K-sorbate and Campden tablets. Backsweetwened with an additional 2 lbs of wildflower honey. The flavor is strong. There is a plastick-y aftertaste that I hope to age out.

Sp. Gravity: 1.002
Est Alcohol Content: 9%

3 months of aging. The plastic flavor is gone. The alcohol flavor is strong and drowns out other flavors. My wife, despite my insisting that she is committing blasphemy, iced her drink. After a few minutes, the overly strong flavor was gone and it tasted like a sweet apple cider that really kicks you in the liver. So, overall, I recommend backsweetening with either a honey/water mixture, or an apple juice to help dilute it a little.