Uncategorized

Tropical Fruit Cider/Mead?

I had some fruit that I needed to use before it was no longer suitable for anything but compost. I bought a couple of star fruits (carombola) and a mango on markdown at the grocery store and I had a couple of pears that were getting overripe. Also on hand were 3 large apples…Gala, I think. Might have been Fuji. I ran all the fruit through my juicer and added the juice of about 1/2 a lime and a dribble of bottled lemon juice, just to keep it all from turning brown. This all equalled about a half gallon of pretty thick juice. So, I added enough water to bring the volume up to a little over a gallon and the SG reading on the refractometer was about 1.022. To bump that up, I added about 12 oz honey mixed with hot water to dissolve. That brought the SG up to about 1.052. I finally settled for an OG of 1.073 after adding 2 cups of white sugar.

I’m in kind of a gray area between cider and melomel (fruit mead). The mix of honey and sugar, plus the relatively low alcohol potential, probably pushes it more toward cider. I also added 1/2 tsp  of pectic enzyme, 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient, and 1 crushed campden tablet. This will sit for 24 hours and then I’ll have to decide what yeast to pitch. Need to think about that one.  The final starting volume looks like approximately 1-1/3 gallons. I’m assuming that I’ll wind up bottling a little under a gallon when finished. I didn’t take any pictures yet…just jumped into it. I’ll snap some tomorrow when I pitch the yeast.

24 hours after adding nutrient, pectic enzyme and Campden tablet.

24 hours after adding nutrient, pectic enzyme and Campden tablet.

Update: Looked over the available yeast at the local home brew shop and decided to try a yeast made by Vintner’s Harvest, simply called Premium Wine Yeast CY17.

C17 Premium Wine Yeast

CY17 Premium Wine Yeast

It says “For full bodied, rich fruity aromatic white/blush and dessert wines. Excellent strain for white country fruit & flower wines.” It does say that it is a slow fermenter, but I’m in no rush. Pitched the yeast early this afternoon…no sign of airlock activity as of 7:45 pm.

6:40 pm  Earlier today, I noticed a slow bubble action in the airlock. This yeast is said to be a slow fermentor…I guess so. It’s definitely not taking off with a rhino fart aggressiveness…but it’s going!

2/10/15 Airlock action seems to have stopped after about 7 days…in fact, may have ceased a day or two ago. There’s no rush, but when I get around to it, I’m going to do the first racking.

 

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Bottling Day! Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout and a Little Cider

IMG_20150119_144743545

Left: cider. Right: Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout.

 

Okay, so somehow I was thinking 3.8 gallons on the Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout (plain), instead of 2.8 gallons. So, I overestimated the number of bottles and caps I needed. More importantly, I overestimated the amount of corn sugar I needed for priming. Since I have had some overcarbonated batches in the past, I was hoping to go on the low side of the scale (1.7 vols) for this batch. Instead, I wound up in the mid-range (2.0 vols). Unfortunately, all the work and high hopes for this batch may have just been ruined by a mental fart. I’m sure it will be drinkable, but is much more likely to overcarb now, based on my history. I’ll try to get it right on the gingerbread flavored batch when I bottle it.

The 4.59% ABV is a little lower than the 4.85% expected, but no problem. The hydrometer came out at 1.021…a tad higher than anticipated, but it had not really changed in awhile, so it should be done. Looks good, smells good, and tastes good.

I wound up with 29 bottles and the last one was a ounce or so short. I marked that one with an “X”, so I would know to use it first. All bottles are marked “YOS”. Additionally, I have 9 bottles capped with “Oxygen Absorbing” caps. I was short on regular caps and my closest local home brew shop isn’t open today; plus, I was planning on cellaring a number of bottles anyway, to see how well they age.

Finally, I had a half gallon of cider to bottle. This is my little experimental batch of White House brand “Fresh Pressed” apple cider and East Coast Ale yeast. The color and clarity are good. Strangely, it appeared to be holding some carbonation in the carboy. Was my airlock stuck somehow? The last bottle was a little short, so I have 4 bottled and one uncapped and in the refrigerator. I may have to give this batch just a few days at room temperature and then refrigerate it. Not enough to mess with pasteurizing. The flavor is a little tart and a little sweet, but a tad bland, in general. I have heard of people dropping a pellet of hops in a bottle…hmmm. I think I’ll do that with the open one and try it!

So, I added a little fresh cider to top off the short bottle and dropped a couple Kent Golding pellets in the bottle and capped it. I’ll leave it at room temperature. Adding the cider should effectively prime and slightly sweeten the finished product.

Standard
Uncategorized

Racking Half Gallon Super Easy Cider

Half gallon Super Easy Cider and a bottle of Caramel Apple Cider.

Half gallon Super Easy Cider and a bottle of Caramel Apple Cider.

Time to rack this little batch of cider. It’s a “Super Easy Cider”; my name for a commercial cider that basically just needs yeast and time. I am using White House brand “Fresh Pressed” Cider and harvested East Coast Ale yeast. What I have decided to do is rack the cider, take a hydrometer sample, and top off the cider with finished cider from a previous batch. In this case, I’m using a bottle of my Caramel Apple Cider.

I’m running short on half gallon carboys, so I racked to a gallon size carboy, cleaned the half gallon, sanitized it and siphoned the cider back into it.

After racking the cider and siphoning it back to the half gallon carboy.

After racking the cider and siphoning it back to the half gallon carboy.

The next step was to top off the current cider batch with the finished Caramel Apple Cider. It took about 3/4 of the bottle. I then replaced the airlock. I still saw some tiny bubbles rising before I started, so it needs a little more time. Plus, there was a little carb in the cider I topped with, so that will need to off-gas as well.

Super Easy Cider, topped off and needs a little more time. Plus a little drink.

Super Easy Cider, topped off and needs a little more time. Plus a little drink.

I did check the specific gravity at 1.003 and stuck the sample in the fridge for drinking later…waste not want not, right?! The flavor is a little bland and not very sweet. I’m thinking that I may prime with a little excess molasses at bottling, allow to carb, and then pasteurize. I have learned that East Coast Ale yeast is not the best choice for cider, if you like it to have a little residual sweetness. The apple flavor is still evident, but a little bland. Nice learning experience for very little money.

Standard
Uncategorized

Making a Starter to Boost the Apple Cider

Boiling DME for a starter.

Boiling DME for a starter.

It seems like my little apple cider experiment might not have had enough East Coast Ale yeast  to do the job, so I’m making a starter with some harvested British Ale yeast that I hope has survived in the refrigerator since mid-October. Harvesting yeast is not always an 100% successful proposition.

British Ale yeast starter

British Ale yeast starter

I started with about 800 ml Culligan bottled water in my flask and added a few spoons of DME and a pinch of yeast nutrient and boiled that for 15 minutes. Chilled that in an ice bath to 75F and added the British Ale yeast. I covered that with sanitized foil and we’ll see what we have tomorrow.

Update 11 pm: No action in the starter yet…at this rate, I may not find out if it’s going to take off until sometime next year.

Standard
Uncategorized

Quickie Update on Little Cider Batch

A quick update: I racked my little half gallon batch of Super Easy Cider, made from White House brand “Fresh Pressed” commercial apple cider.After leaving the trub behind, I was down a cup or two in the jug, so I brought it back up with some additional cider (knowing that it will ferment some more). A very small taste was fairly light on flavor and the alcohol was low. Could be the harvested East Coast Ale Yeast was a little low? Considering additional options. Again, just a couple dollars invested, so who knows?

Just letting the Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout sit for awhile…not noticing any action, but I’m not going to rush this one at all.

Standard
Uncategorized

After Christmas Update on Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout

Well, had a great Christmas! No wort chiller, though. I guess I’ll be doing ice baths until my birthday! I did get an attachment to my KitchenAid mixer that juices stuff, so maybe it will help with ciders? Definitely will be usefull for sauces and jams/jellies.

So, Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout chugged for a few days. It never hit the blow-off tube, but was working away nicely. It’s pretty quiet now, so I’m switching out the tube for a regular airlock. I’m thinking that this batch will be in primary another week and then I’ll go to secondary. I’ve started the supplies for the 2 gallon gingerbread  to get them in the refrigerator, so the gingerbread spices will have time to sanitize in the vodka and the vodka will have a chance to extract some of the flavors.  I have combined the following:

1 tsp. powdered cinnamon

1 tsp. powdered ginger

1/2 a fat Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean, split and scraped (seeds and pod added)

15 grams fresh ginger root, peeled, grated (weight after grated)

50 grams unsulfered molasses

1/2 cup vodka

Wow. Very definite gingerbread flavor! Now, if I guessed an appropriate amount for 2 gallons of beer, it should be really good!

Because I’ll be introducing a little molasses, the fermentation will likely start back up briefly and a small increase is alcohol will happen, between fermentation and the vodka. It probably won’t be much, but it will be interesting to see.

I also have a little 1/2 gallon batch of cider going. It has stopped fermenting and settled. I’ll rack that sometime in the next few days and let it finish clearing…or will I add something to flavor it? We’ll see. Only a couple of dollars in it.

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Merry Christmas and Starting a Half Gallon of Cider

Some yeast and some cider.

Some yeast and some cider.

It’s been some time since I have brewed or fermented anything…holidays and vacation have taken so much of my time! I was grocery shopping today, however, and I bought a gallon of White House brand “Fresh Pressed” Apple Cider (not from concentrate, “all natural”, from whole apples, pasteurized, etc., etc.). My daughter likes unfermented apple cider, some I’m splitting this gallon and fermenting the other half. It cost $5 for the gallon, so I’m not too worried about this not working out. Here’s what I’m doing:

In one 1/2 gallon growler, I’m putting a 1/4 teaspoon each of pectic enzyme and yeast nutrient and a little under 1/2 gallon of the cider. In the other 1/2 gallon clear carboy, I had stored  in the refrigerator, some recovered East Coast Ale yeast. I had never gotten around to draining the wort off of it…but I don’t think it’s worth trying to ferment into beer. What I have done is removed it from the refrigerator and added a couple tablespoons of honey.

Tomorrow night, I’ll see what’s going on. If all goes well, the yeast will activate, I’ll pour off the wort, and add the yeast slurry to the cider. Another 24 hours will show me if it’s going to ferment. I’m not sure how the East Coast Ale yeast will do with cider…I hope it works and I find out!

As for other project updates, the East Coast Cascade American Amber is interesting. The initial taste was a little dank and had a slight astringency in the finish. The carb has come up nicely and the astringency is almost completely gone. I wouldn’t say it’s amazing, but it’s very drinkable and tasty. The Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale IS amazing and has been well received by all who have tried it. Finally, the robust porter and it’s coffee version were not promising at first. Passable, but not really what I was hoping for. Another couple of weeks in the bottle and I was pleasantly surprized that it had turned out to be pretty darn good, after all. Cheers!

 

Standard