Strongbow Dark Fruit Clone Recipe

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Owen1234

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
My first post on a brewing forum. I've been brewing for about 2 years (started with kits, then recently switched to BIAB), and this week I'm going to try to make a strongbow dark fruit cider clone at home. Haven't had much luck finding any recipes online for it, so I've been working on my own.
Would appreciate any tips, suggestions or feedback on the recipe before I start brewing. Thanks!

  • 15L Apple Juice (1L tetra packs)
  • Safale S-04 Yeast
  • Jar of Blackberry Jam (~600g),
  • Jar of raspberry jam (~600g)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 1 Ribena Black Currant Concentrate
  • Lactose sugar
Ferment the 15L of juice, ribena, the jams, and lemon juice, at 16C until complete (estimating 8 days)
Rack and add ½ tsp potassium metabisulfite, ¾ tsp potassium sorbate, (paralyze yeast)
Let sit 24 hours
Keg and add lactose to sweeten/taste, then carbonate

The jams are being used because the price of the berries at this time of year is really high, I hope to make it again this summer with berries. The jams have no preservatives, only fruit sugar, pectin & citric acid.
 

madscientist451

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 10, 2014
Messages
4,324
Reaction score
2,022
Location
Bedford
Fermenting berry jam and blackcurrant concentrate may provide an interesting cider, and its worth a try. Note that blackcurrants are somewhat acidic and adding that to primary might cause some yeast health issues.
I don't think you'll be making a clone of the Strongbow using that method.
Their label indicates they are adding the blackcurrant and blackberry juice after fermentation.
1591609974878.png

Make the best cider you can and when its done, do some blending trials with the two juices to get the desired flavor.
You still won't be making a clone, because your base cider won't be the same as what Strongbow makes, but you'll be able to get close.
You should be able to find frozen blackberry in large stores, just thaw, smash them up and drain off the juice.
Another option is to use flavor additives that are made for brewing you can obtain from your online or local homebrew store.
This may be a good time to experiment using vodka to make fruit tinctures to flavor your cider.
 

Scrumpy1967

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
I have actually tried this with a few small tweaks. Its nowhere near strongbow dark fruit but its not bad. I chose not to carbonate it and the starting gravity was 1.057 and ended up as 1.000. I added 2tsp of sugar to each 650ml bottle to sweeten. I would recommend this for a cheap little project for less than £10
 
Last edited:

GeneDaniels1963

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
737
Reaction score
263
Location
Arkansas
I am a huge blackcurrant fan, so I did a cider with Ridena a few years ago. It was not really that good. Too acidic by far. I might could have used some acid reducing crystals, but I just decided to stay away from Ribena in brewing for now.
 

Scrumpy1967

Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
I didn’t find it acidic at all. In fact I do a similar one the strawberry jam and strawberry ribena. I prefer flat cider so always sweeten afterwards.
 
OP
O

Owen1234

New Member
Joined
May 24, 2020
Messages
2
Reaction score
0
Update:
Fermentation at 15C produced my first ever foam over and bubbler missile despite leaving 1/3 of head room in the carboy... I was very surprised at the rate at which it fermented and ended up having to ice bath it after discovering the bubble 10ft away and cleaning up the mess. Despite that, it doesn't appear to have been contaminated.

I kegged it after 3 weeks, carbonated it, and found it was very sweet and a little thick. I toned it down by adding 3L of regular cider and its not bad now. Its pretty close in taste to Strongbow Dark fruit but needs a bit more of an acidic punch and is still on the sweet side. I didn't add any potassium metabisulfite or potassium sorbate. Hoping it will continue to de-sweeten itself slowly.
I will increase the carbonation to 10psi add a little citric acid powder to the keg (amount TBD still) to get that initial punch.

Next time I think I will do staged fermentation (apple juice first, then jams, then ribena) to keep it at a manageable rate, and go with a more aggressive yeast next time (S-04 left it too sweet). Thinking EC-1118 or similar.
 

sreichenberger

Active Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2017
Messages
44
Reaction score
0
I am a huge blackcurrant fan, so I did a cider with Ridena a few years ago. It was not really that good. Too acidic by far. I might could have used some acid reducing crystals, but I just decided to stay away from Ribena in brewing for now.
Is there a difference between adding fruits or jams in the fermenter before fermentations and after?
 

Latest posts

Top