Mixed fruit ciders?

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alewismclean

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Hi guys, this is my first post here so please be gentle! I ordered a few bits of kit a couple of days back to venture into the world of home brewing and decided cider will be the start of the adventure. Currently I've got a few jars going to create some natural yeast for using in the brewing.

My aim is to create a mixed fruit cider, although it's my first ever time brewing, I'm feeling pretty excited already. I just want you guys to hit me with some feedback/suggestions on this one;

I want to brew up a strawberry, blueberry & apple fruit cider as naturally as possible but am stuck when it comes to when to add the fruit, or even just press the fruit and use the naturally juices to flavour the cider. I've heard of a lot of people flavouring their ciders between the first and second fermentation stages so just wondered if anyone has tried and tested this?

At the moment I have for 100% pure apple juice with some strawberries and blueberries in a jar to work up some yeast as a starter but not sure that there will be much of a pleasant flavour from it, if any at all - although it's started to carbonate and smells awesome! :rockin:

Thanks for reading guys and happy brewing!:mug:
 

LandoAllen

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What kind of yeast do you have started and what is your process?

It is common for most people to add the fruit to the secondary for two reasons: 1. The aroma doesn't get scrubbed away from the CO2 released and 2. Fermentation has a tendency to strip away the natural tasting flavors you might want out of the strawberries/ blueberries.
 
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alewismclean

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Hey there, thanks for the reply!

My process is to create some natural yeast starters and use them in place of regular bought yeasts to ferment my ciders. At the moment I have 2 organic raisin starters, one which is bubbling away. 1 made up of Organic apple peels and 100% pressed apple juice, and 1 Strawberry and blueberry starter in the same apple juice which is bubbling away quite healthily just now (day 2).

My plan is to get the cider fermenting using one of these yeast starters then add some fruit later e.g. blueberries and strawberries to give it a fuller flavour. I haven't worried too much about whether or not I want it carbonated or not, but for a first attempt I'm just looking for a decent flavour to build my experience on.

Any more feedback will be greatly accepted!
 
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alewismclean

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Nice one! I've got my starter going nicely, it's starting to calm down a bit just in time for my demijohns, airlock, hydrometer etc getting here! Can I ask at which point you added the fruit? Also, have you made it before or is this a first for you as well?

Here's a current photo of my starter batches;

IMAG0456.jpg
 

Descender

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interested to see how this turns out. I suggest you mix the 2 together and let the dominant wild yeast prevail. Adversely, taste each one to make sure that one doesn't suck, and go with that one...or mix 'em and start a culture. anyone do cultures?
 
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alewismclean

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Descender, some nice idea's there, I might mix the two together and top up with some pressed apple juice and see how it goes, both are smelling fantastic already so hopefully I'll get a nice berry hint to the brew! Depending on how it turns out I'm going to try another mixed fruit cider but using spring water instead of apple juice to see if that isolates the berries at all. Just got my gear today - like a kid at christmas, and just in time for the berries simmering down!
 
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alewismclean

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Thats the fermenting underway now! Used the mixed berry starter as a yeast for the 100% pressed apple juice and added sugar. Just contemplating on the best way to add any future berry flavours or if the apple might overpower any attempt. What would you guys say is the best way to incorporate and and any flavours, press fresh fruit and add the juice? Add whole fruits??
 

JuiceyJay

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What I have read is freeze and than thaw berries, sanitize with a vodka soak And rack on top of berries..its what i did.
 

caseymac91

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In addition to adding fresh fruit to secondary, you could back sweeten with your choice of frozen juice concentrate. That's all I do for flavour and get great results. Your cider will continue to ferment until all sugar is gone if you let it. This will make it dry, and won't have much flavour without aging. A sweet cider will taste better young, but you'll have to stop the yeast. You can put the yeast to sleep by keeping it in the fridge. Or you can kill the yeast by pasteurizing. If you know this already, ignore me :)

I've never used fresh fruit, ill try this process with my current batch and report back:
1) Ferment cider till dry.
2) Rack to secondary on top of mixed fruit. (after vodka soak)
3) Rack to bottling bucket, back sweeten with frozen juice concentrate to taste.
4) Bottle and pasteurize when carbonated.
 
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alewismclean

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Hi again guys and thanks for all the input and suggestions! It's now in day 3 of the primary and starting to slow down a little. I've frozen the fruits but I'm a little unsure about the whole vodka technique, although I've made 3 other small batches to mess around with that I will certainly try it out on! For the main batch I think I'm going to try soaking them in a little apple juice then press out as much juices as I can, add them to the secondary and leave in secondary for about 2-3 weeks and then give is a taste before bottling. Might leave it in the bottles for a further 3-4 weeks before drinking if it's not quite right. As for carbonating I'm very rusty on the best way to achieve this so I'll just focus on the flavour for now! Thanks again guys, the feedback is top notch!
 

JuiceyJay

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In addition to adding fresh fruit to secondary, you could back sweeten with your choice of frozen juice concentrate. That's all I do for flavour and get great results. Your cider will continue to ferment until all sugar is gone if you let it. This will make it dry, and won't have much flavour without aging. A sweet cider will taste better young, but you'll have to stop the yeast. You can put the yeast to sleep by keeping it in the fridge. Or you can kill the yeast by pasteurizing. If you know this already, ignore me :)

I've never used fresh fruit, ill try this process with my current batch and report back:
1) Ferment cider till dry.
2) Rack to secondary on top of mixed fruit. (after vodka soak)
3) Rack to bottling bucket, back sweeten with frozen juice concentrate to taste.
4) Bottle and pasteurize when carbonated.
Or you could do what I did, primary half your fruit and than rack on top of the other half in the secondary.
 

JuiceyJay

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Hi again guys and thanks for all the input and suggestions! It's now in day 3 of the primary and starting to slow down a little. I've frozen the fruits but I'm a little unsure about the whole vodka technique, although I've made 3 other small batches to mess around with that I will certainly try it out on! For the main batch I think I'm going to try soaking them in a little apple juice then press out as much juices as I can, add them to the secondary and leave in secondary for about 2-3 weeks and then give is a taste before bottling. Might leave it in the bottles for a further 3-4 weeks before drinking if it's not quite right. As for carbonating I'm very rusty on the best way to achieve this so I'll just focus on the flavour for now! Thanks again guys, the feedback is top notch!
Freeze your berries and than thaw them, after that, soak your berries in a container of the cheapest vodka you can find for a while (I left mine in the vodka over night) than drain the booze and rack the cider on top of the berries
 
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alewismclean

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What's it that the vodka is used for, is it just to kill off the yeasts on the berries to stop any further fermentation in the secondary? Will you taste much of a difference if they have been soaked in them, I thought the vodka might draw out the juices from the berries and leave them pretty flavourless and cheap vodka tasting?

I now have a few batches on the go using different apple juices, different apples and different starter methods!

942653_10151558497788026_1053777998_n.jpg
 
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alewismclean

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Well at the moment I have just started on a new starter from strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and spring water. 2 days in and it's started nicely which came as a surprise. This one is going to be 100% berry with no apple so it'll be interesting to see how it goes!
 

LandoAllen

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If you don't mind me asking what exactly is the purpose of you using the natural yeast on the fruit instead of using a brewing yeast? It's been my understanding from what ive read that natural yeast can be hit or miss (more often miss) on making a good tasting cider...
 
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alewismclean

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My purpose is just to try and keep the cider as natural as possible without adding any chems or commercially produced things. If the wild yeasts turn out to be a bad idea then I'll go to packet stuff (or if I want a stronger cider). So far my first batch thats still fermenting smells nice so far, so hopefully the wild yeast isn't a miss - I guess it just depends what you use?
 
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alewismclean

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Plus the idea of making something from "scratch" as apposed to readily available ingredients gives a great sense of well being for me, although for others this may not be appropriate.
 

LandoAllen

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Yea I like the idea of doing it natural too I just cant get past the idea of not knowing what it will turn out like. Keep us posted on how it goes!
 
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alewismclean

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I tried some of my plain apple cider that was made from a raisin and apple starter. Tastes surprisingly nice, quite cloudy as I used 100% pressed apple juice but im sure it'll clear a little once I move it to secondary.
 
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alewismclean

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Just an update guys. Used some berries and a spring water starter (wasn't much yeast on the berries though) then added some apple juice to that, then boiled some mixed berries (frozen) with some water and sugar then added that all to a demi' along with ample sugar and a little cider yeast for fermentation. Just kind of winging it just now but hopefully it goes well and I get a nice berry flavour in the end, as I plan to add some more berry juice/syrup to it as I go into secondary. Any ideas, questions, pro's-cons etc?
 
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alewismclean

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Right guys, I'm ready to go into secondary. I want to sweeten it with a syrup I made from mixed fruits juice, water and sugar, but if I add this to my brew wont the sugars just ferment to alcohol again and make it dry rather than sweet? Campden tablet maybe???
 

caseymac91

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After you back sweeten it kill the yeast. Read Pappers sticky on easy stovetop pasteurizing. You could do it in a glass jug, just make sure the lid is half off.
 

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