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Tasting Jackfruit Cider … Finally!

‘Memba me?!

A bottle of jackfruit cider has been in my refrigerator for a few weeks now. I figured it was time to test it out, since I began this project on June 2, 2015! I bottled it on August 23, 2015, so I’m right at one month away from 2 years. Since the final gravity hit 0.99, I knew it would be dry…plus, over 12% ABV.

So, how is it? Well, first positive sign is the burp of carbonation when I pop the cap. The pour is fizzy, but no head. The color is a light golden and beautifully clear.

Jackfruit Cider… almost 2 years later.

I don’t have a great nose, but there isn’t a big aroma. Just inside the mouth is the fizzy tingle…the carbonation really turned out just right. On the swallow, it’s like a dry champagne on the tongue. It’s quickly followed by a flavor I can’t really describe, due to my lack of experience, I’m sure. It’s obviously not grape. Could be mistaken for something like crabapple, but then it has what I can only think to describe as “musty”. If this is what became of the odd “off” flavor I got from jackfruit originally, I’ll take it. Previously, I was kind of put off with jackfruit, because, despite the banana/peach kind of flavors, the other component was like rotting onion (best way I could come up to describe it). After the little musty hit, was a mild bitterness and something vaguely familiar to the original fruit flavors…though still quite dry.

I have to say, the alcohol burn is practically gone. Not harsh, at all! I’m looking forward to getting some opinions from qualified friends. I’m impressed that it isn’t bad. I wonder if anyone will actually say it’s good? Though not an expert, I would say it’s okay. I think it would be better if I had stopped short of completely fermenting it out? Anyway, fresh jackfruit is a pain in the butt to process, but maybe it was worth the experiment!

 

 

 

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Day 126 Quick updates on Hi-Nelson Saison, Tepache #3

This morning, I put the tepache fermentation bucket out in a sunny spot for the afternoon. I brought it back indie this evening and it is nice and frothy. Tonight, I strained the pineapple skins and core from the liquid and composted them. This time, instead of adding one cup of water and a 12 oz beer, I decided to do the option without adding beer. It calls for four cups of water…not sure why the difference in volume of the additions when adding beer versus not. But it was so close to 1 gallon, that I went ahead and bumped the water to about 7 cups to get it to the gallon mark. I’ll track the progress and decide when to bottle it.

Tepache bucket in back. Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample in front...settled under refrigeration.

Tepache bucket in back. Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample in front…settled under refrigeration.

The Hi-Nelson Saison is still bubbling away. It has slowed from the very aggressive bubbling to a regular, rhythmic bubble about every 4 seconds. I’ll probably replace the blow-off with a regular airlock sometime tomorrow. I saved the hydrometer sample in the refrigerator, so I could let it settle and see the color and also taste it. The color is nice. It will definitely change when I add the hibiscus tea, but it looks like a good base. The flavor…obviously pre-fermentation sweet…but a good foundation to build on, I think.

A friend has brewed this recipe locally and kegged it. I got a 22 oz bomber of it today to try! The color is like grape juice almost…not quite as dark. You expect a fruit juice kind of flavor from it, but it’s not sweet…more tart. There is a kind of fruit, citrus, earthy quality to the taste, but a carb tingle on the tongue turns to a dryness, like the tannins in a lighter red wine.

A friend's version of Hi-Nelson Saison. Hard to capture the color, but intense!

A friend’s version of Hi-Nelson Saison. Hard to capture the color, but intense!

The aroma is not powerful, but it’s interesting. The combination of dry hopping with Nelson-Sauvin hops and hibiscus tea makes for a hard to describe scent. Much like wine, but with a resinous componant. The alcohol seems to be evident in the nose, but not in the flavor (even though it is a fairly high ABV, in the 8% range). All in all, an interesting taste that grows on you and it’s refreshing! Nice!

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Day 41 Bottling the Dry Stout!

No interest in beer, but my youngest likes to help bottle and cap.

No interest in beer, but my youngest likes to help bottle and cap.

With a little help from my youngest, I bottled my batch of dry stout. While cleaning my equipment, I tipped over a bucket that had my hydrometer in it and, of course, it broke. Happens eventually to us all, I’m sure. Luckily, I got a backup when I acquired some freebies! Lesson learned though…need to go buy a replacement to have on hand. Now, yesterday I got an adjusted SG of 1.013 and today, with the other hydrometer, I get an adjusted FG of 1.015. I don’t know…if it’s more accurate than yesterday, my ABV would only be 2.89%. If I go by yesterday’s reading, it would be 3.15%. Oh well. The color and flavor seem to be right.

Bottoms of the carboys...didn't take any chances on disturbing the lees.

Bottoms of the carboys…didn’t take any chances on disturbing the lees.

I’m going to give away a few to some experienced home brewers and stout drinkers to try (with the warning to wait until maybe a week or two into January for opening).  I was pretty careful not to bottle any lees and I think the stout looks nice and clear, but deeply dark.

The yield...14 12 oz bottles, 4 flip-top 16 oz bottles and 2 22 oz bottles.

The yield…14 12 oz bottles, 4 flip-top 16 oz bottles and 2 22 oz bottles.

A 22 oz bottle of stout...the first bottled.

A 22 oz bottle of stout…the first bottled.

I marked a  test bottle that was at the end of the bottling that would be the most at risk of getting a little sediment. I primed with 1-5/8 oz corn sugar dissolved in 12 oz boiling water. I haven’t come up with a name or label design for this beer. I may not for this one. For now, it’s clean-up time.

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Day 37 Perking the Airlock

9:30 am  Day 2 on dry stout. Airlock continues to perk constantly. It’s probably a good thing that I’m using a 5 gallon bottling bucket for this fermentation or the krausen would likely be blowing the airlock!

Looking forward to some responsible drinking over the holidays this year! The stout will be a little young, but I may just have to sample one. I think 2014 will be welcomed with a sparkling cider toast!

Just a personal side note: Until recently, if I found a good price on some produce at the farmer’s market or grocery store, my first thought was “Can I make jelly/jam out of this or home can it somehow?”  Now, the question is “Can I ferment this into something alcoholic?”  Actually, both are preservation processes…not so different. Anyway, Trader Joe’s has fresh pineapples on sale…hmmm.

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Day 31 Cracking 2nd Early Bottle of Cider Batch #2

Tonight, I decided to pop open the 2nd bottle of the early bottles of cider batch #2…the rest of which would eventually be bottled as “TARDIS Cider…Bigger on the Inside”.

Early Bottle #2, Cider Batch #2

Early Bottle #2, Cider Batch #2

Sample pour.

Sample pour.

Since no one else showed an interest, it was all me.

The color was pale, like white wine, the bubbles were fine and the taste was dry, but not crisp. The carbonation was a little under where I would have liked it.

I have heard the experienced cider makers write about adding sweetener, after opening a bottle. I thought that sounded kind of silly; however, as it turns out, it worked really well. Imagine that…I was wrong about something. Don’t tell my wife! Anyway, I added a little Truvia, the flavor perked up, and it was much more palatable to me. I still needed more carbonation, but better.

Better!

Better!

Added someTruvia to make it a little more drinkable.

Added someTruvia to make it a little more drinkable.

It will be interesting to see how TARDIS Cider carbs over time. I have a feeling that the lack of sweetness will still be an issue, either way. So, that should bring us up to date until Thanksgiving, the day after tomorrow.

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Day 22 Bottling Sherlock’s Cumber Batch #1, Testing SG on Cider Batch #3

By day 5 on my first batch of cider, I was racking to carboys and the SG was 1.01. I racked the second batch on its fourth day with an SG of 0.992. The recipe had recommended racking at 1.040. I don’t know why, unless it was to slow things down and get the cider off of the sediment or “lees”. Some reading I have done indicates that cider that sits on the lees too long tends to pick up a yeasty or bread-like flavor that is considered undesirable in cider. Anyway, this is Day 6 for cider batch #3, 5 days since pitching the yeast. The big difference is that the yeast in this batch is Safale s-04, while the first two batches have Champagne yeast at work. The Safale s-04 has been described as a slower acting yeast, by comparison. Safale s-04 is described as a quick fermenting yeast though, with high flocculation (clumping of yeast…desirable in promoting the clearing of the beer or cider). As of last night, the frequency of the bubble in the airlock was about every 13 seconds. This morning, it’s going about every 15 to 17 seconds. Later today, I’ll check the SG and, depending on how it looks and the number I come up with, I’ll make a decision on racking. I only have one empty carboy though, so I either need to bottle cider batch #1 or come up with a creative secondary container for some of #3.

Sometime this afternoon or evening, I hope to sample the test bottle of Fawlty Brown Ale!

7:00 pm     Well, the flip-top sample beer bottle was barely carbonated at all. I heard a little “fsst”…which was encouraging, but it was practically flat. That pretty much seals the deal on Munton’s CarTabs. I’ve seen too many negative comments on these and a similar product by another company…all the same problems that I’m having: slow or no carbonating, floaters in suspension, undependable. I added priming sugar, closed and left out on the counter…maybe it will work. The color and flavor seemed okay. Thankfully, I used regular priming sugar for the full bottling of the beer batch.

So, with that disappointment  out of the way, I decided to take on bottling my first batch of cyser! I am, however, using priming sugar, instead of tabs. I have just under a gallon, so I used 3/4 ounce of primer. I mixed the priming sugar with 1/4 cup water and added it to the carboy that  I then racked into.

Nice and clear!

Nice and clear!

I prepared and filled 6 flip-tops and a 12 oz bottle. That all went smoothly!IMAG1815_1

There was little sediment and I had enough left for a small sample glass to chill and enjoy “still”. Very tasty! Pale color, nice and clear, like white wine. Now I need to work on the labels for them! The FG reading, before priming was 0.990 at 73 degrees room temperature. Adjusted to 0.991 for hydrometer calibration. Unfortunately, I can’t determine the ABV % very accurately, because I didn’t get an accurate OG for this batch.                                                                                                                                                                                               Batch 2 started at 1.045, so if the first batch was in this range, the ABV for batch #1 would be around 7.2%. Woo hoo!  IMAG1818

I spent some time tonight, working on the labels for the freshly bottled cyser. I think they turned out well!

Cider batch #1 yield, bottled and labeled... becoming "cyser".

Cider batch #1 yield, bottled and labeled… becoming “cyser”.

The Label.

The Label.

I checked the SG on cider batch #3 and it was around 1.022. Now that I have 2 carboys available again, I’ll probably rack #3 tomorrow.

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