I carefully opened a bottle of cider from batch #4 this morning. I poured maybe a 1/2 ounce and immediately re-capped with a sanitized, fresh cap. The sample has a nice, golden color. The flavor and level of sweetness are great! Surprisingly, however, the carbonation is just barely perceptable. Not so much as the sample flip-top bottle. I had guessed that there would be a little more, but these are 22 oz bottles and maybe they are a little behind the 16 oz flip-top tester, despite it having been opened a few times. I had a little overflow while bottling stout last night, so I took out the paper towel liner that I had in the bottom of the box and tossed it. I removed the divider piece and let it and the box dry overnight.
This morning they were already nice and dry, so I replaced the paper towel layer on the bottom, replaced the bottle divider loaded the box with stout! Next, I decided to see if I could use some of the ingredients that I acquired for free. The grains should be ok, they are whole and sealed. The malt is sealed and shouldn’t be contaminated. They just have a little age on them. As one person said, if nothing else, it should be an okay “2nd beer”…something you drink after a first, higher quality beer. I used “Brewer’s Friend” and put together a stout recipe. I used the food processor to bust up the grains, but not make powder out of them. Many grains remained whole.
I’m calling this one Big Dark…the estimate is to come in around 6.8% ABV. I Just finished getting the wort into the primary fermentation bucket (PFB) and cleaning up. The OG was 1.046 @ 69F. Adjusting for the hydrometer, that should be 1.047. That’s way under the estimate of 1.072…I don’t know if it’s the hydrometer or something I did. Maybe I should have ground the grains more? Maybe the wort temperature was a little higher when I checked the SG? If I assume the hydrometer is accurate, then the next thing is to look at the estimated FG on the recipe. That projection is 1.020. That would would make the projected ABV 3.41%. Maybe the OG is off. I’ll check it again tomorrow. I really expected more alcohol in this one. If I have to, I’ll add some corn sugar tomorrow.
I also added a split vanilla bean to this one, in the PFB, I’m probably going to go a little longer bottle conditioning this beer to blend and mellow the flavors. I think it was a little bitter when I tasted it going between the brew pot and the PFB.
9:00 pm Opened a bottle of the TARDIS Cider ( Bigger on the Inside) tonight. It was in a cooler part of the house for storage, so it felt chilled, but not refrigerated. The color was pale and the carbonation was very strong on the pour. The flavor was crisp and almost dry.
Very Champagne-like. I’m thinking that this will be a good choice for New Year’s Eve and possibly our Christmas food/drink celebration with the In-laws. Very pleased with this crabapple cider!
10:30 pm I couldn’t help myself. I had a fresh pineapple that needed to be used and I had just cleaned a 1/2 gallon carboy, a freebie from Murray’s Cider! So, I started a pineapple experiment. I guess it’s going to be kind of a Pineapple Melomel (Mead), but it will have brown sugar and white sugar in addition to some honey. Right now, I have it going with 1/2 a campden tablet for 24 hours.
I put the recipe through a mead calculator and I need to add more sugar to get the projected ABV% higher. I bumped it up with white sugar, but I’ll use as much honey as I can and make up any difference with white sugar, instead. I’ll take an OG reading and then pitch the yeast. I think I’ll also add more water and move to a gallon carboy for the primary fermentation so 1) I don’t blow the airlock and 2) so that when the must settles, I can rack a full half gallon. Whew! Whatta day!
So, tomorrow, I’ll mix what honey I have left and enough white sugar to total 8 oz with an equal part of hot water to dissolve. I’ll add that to a 1 gallon carboy and transfer the contents of the 1/2 gallon carboy to the 1 gallon carboy and top with more water to compensate for leaving the must behind after fermentation. Tomorrow night, I’ll pitch the yeast. Then, I’ll need to decide how long to leave it in secondary and possibly a third racking for clarification and conditioning before bottling. After that, how long in the bottles? I think this will be fun! But it does take patience for a good result!
Oh, I checked on the pineapple batch before calling it a night and there are three distinct layers now. Interesting!