- Aug 30, 2007
- Reaction score
- East Lansing, Mi
(there is a dead giveaway to which one is mine. The other is Woodchuck)
(This recipe is for kegs. If you aren't using a keg, I added some ideas for making a still cider, because
whenever someone posts a recipe just for kegs, people without kegs want to know what they can do, but
I can't vouch for how this would turn out if not carbed.)
ABV- 7.2% (Woodchuck Amber is 5%)
Ingredients for Primary Fermentation:
4.5 gallons of apple juice containing no preservatives other than ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
(I made mine from concentrate because that was what was on sale at the time.)
Corn sugar or apple juice concentrate (enough to boost OG to desired ABV)
2.5 teaspoons yeast nutrient (optional)
1 tbsp pectic enzyme (optional)
Chamagne Yeast (I used red star)
Ingredients to back sweeten.
2.5 teaspoons of potassiam sorbate (don't add this until after fermentation is over)
7 cans of apple juice concentrate (I used old orchard in one batch and Meijer brand in the
Fully aerate the apple juice. If using bottled cider, you can aerate by pouring a litte from each bottle
into the fermenter, then shake each bottle. I used concentrate, so once I had it all mixed with water,
I poured it from one pail to another until it was fully aerated.Take hydrometer reading and add enough
sugar or apple-juice concentrate to boost the OG to the ABV that you want. (I used corn sugar to get
my OG to 1.055. I mostly kept good notes but neglected to write down how much sugar I used, so
you'll need a hydrometer).Add the yeast nutriet and pectic enzyme if using it. (This recipe is mostly
built from EdWort's Apfelwien, but I see that Jack Keller uses both in these quantities when making
wine from apple-juice, so I threw it in). Transfer to carboy, pitch yeast, and attach airlock. I made this
ahead of time for my brother's wedding, so I let it go for 2 months, but it could be ready in 30 days.
(I know EdWorts Apfelwein does well in 30 days with montrachet yeast.) I did not use a secondary.
After primary fermentation has ceased (this finished at. 1.0 for me).
rack the cider into a standard 6.5 gallon ale pale, then add apple juice concentrate until you reach a
gravity of 1.029, (Note: this is the gravity of a flat woodchuck.)
Add you potassium sorbate, then keg and carbonate to your desired carbonation level. I prefer the
shake-the-hell-out-of-it method of force carbonation because I color outside the lines and run with
scissors, but a lot of people here will tell you that this method will kill Lassie or something (I wasn't
really listening because it works for me IMHO.)
Once you know how much concentrate you are going to need (sugar level could vary by brand), you
can just add all of this to the keg next time, then purge the o2 and shake to mix all the goodies, then
carbonate. You can get
some renewed fermentation, but this is minimal and not a big concern when kegging IMHO.
For a still cider:
You will need to add the cider, concentrate, and potassiam sorbate to a bucket, but add the concentrate
a little at a time because the amount of sugar used for cider that will be carbed will be cloyingly sweet
in a still cider. Then transfer this all into a carboy, afix an airlock and wait 3 days with no signs of renewed
fermentation before bottling, or you could be making bottle bombs (Note: I have never used the pottasiam
sorbate to make a still wine or cider, so tips from those familiar with this method would be helpful for those
that want to do try this. 3 days may be overkill. I don't know.)
Results: IMHO I came pretty close. I was not concerned with color,
but when I did a side by side taste test, I noticed the color between mine and woodchuck was spot on,
so I think they use some sort of concentrate to backsweeten, although I assume it has more tart apples
than mine did. WC has a slight tartness that mine was missing, reminiscent of granny smith. Mine also
has some esthers not detecteble in the WC, but I preferred these esthers to WC. Several people told me
that they detected a hint of apricots. I don't know when I last had an apricot, so I can't say, but there were
nice hints of other fruits. I took 2 cornies of this to my brother's wedding and it was a big hit. A few people
told me that they drank woodchuck frequently but preferred mine to woodchuck, but mine was on tap, so it's
not a fair comarison to bottled cider. It wasn't for everyone, but the people that liked it could not get enough.
Women really liked it, and I converted a few from the bud-light only crowd with small samples of it. I really
could have brout 2 more cornies because we went through the first keg in about an hour and a half, but the last
one lasted only 1/2 once the word spread (and this was when the drinking had started to slow because it was
heaviest for the first hour. (I tended the bar). It's really good with a dash of cinnamon in the cup just before
he pour. If you have never brewed for a big event, it's very rewarding, but you have to make crowd pleasers as
opposed to the stuff that we drink, because you'd be lucky if 5% or people like an IPA, at least in the boonies
where I was. I won't try to make this more like woodchuck because I prefer it with more character. I'm drinking
the last of the woodchuck now from when I bought a 6 pack to take a hydrometer reading of a flat sample, and
the bottle doesn't taste right to me. But I'm also biased in favor of anything from my basement.
NOTES: This will seem cloying until it is carbed. Carbonating has a strange
effect on sweetness perception, so what seems good flat will not be sweet enough when it's carbed and will have
a lot of carbonic bite IMHO. If you want to make this less sweet and carbonate it, do a test batch of 1/2 in 3
liter bottle and a carbonator cap until you find the level that you like.Make sure to force out all the air before
adding 02 or you'll oxygenate this while carbing it. Then do the math based on what you added to 1/2 gallon
to figure out how much to add to the main batch. (For example, if you made a five gallon batch so you had a 1/2
gallon test batch, you would take the amount of concentrate you added to 1/2 gallon and multiply that by nine.)
I used this same test batch method to decide on the recipe I used. I individually backsweeetned 4 test batches
of 1/2 gallon each before deciding on my method, anI I tried to backsweeten with dextrose, concentrate, and
combination of the two. If you want that apple-sweetness that WC has, then you gotta use concentrate. For
those wanting to bottle and carbonate and use an unfermentable sugar like splenda or dextrose, it won't have
that fresh apple taste, but give it a try and let us know.
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