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Day 127 Bottling Tepache #3 and Apple Ginger Bug Soda

I feel like the tepache has been going long enough. The FG is 1.035, but I didn’t take the OG. With the amount of piloncillo raw sugar, I assume 1.110, as I had in the first batch. That would make it around 9.84% ABV…I’m skeptical. The tiny sample I got from the bottom of the fermenter bucket didn’t have any alcohol heat at all. (But it was good!)

At this point, I’m not going through all the sanitizing steps  and bottling details in my journal; however, I AM still faithfully following procedures. If you happen to be reading my journal, welcome! If you need details on sanitary practices and bottling procedures, you can look through my early entries.

Based on past experience, I’m going back  to two days for carbing and then I’ll pasteurize at the same time as my apple ginger bug soda. The tepache yielded 10 bottles plus the last on, that I will use as a tester for carbonation, since it has a fair amount of sediment in it.  I marked the cap with an “X”.

For the apple ginger bug soda, I poured 48 oz of an all natural apple juice into a large measuring cup. Not that it really matters, but the Mott’s Natural SG is 1.05 (No sugar added, no preservatives) I strained and added 1/4 cup of the ginger bug starter and mixed them well. I divided that between four prepared 12 oz bottles and capped them. I then added 1/4 cup of water and 2 teaspoons of sugar back to the “bug” starter. The starter has been out of the refrigerator for a day. I’m going to leave it out overnight and then put it back in the fridge again. I marked the caps with “A”,  for apple. Late afternoon Thursday should be time to check my tepache tester and pasteurize the tepache and apple soda.

Note: 7 pm Wed.  Picked up one of the four Apple Ginger Bug Sodas and there’s a lot of stuff floating in it…I think it came with the “natural” apple juice. I decided to open one and pour it through a strainer into a glass.

Apple Ginger-Bug Soda. Cloudy, needs more carb, but tasty.

Apple Ginger-Bug Soda. Cloudy, needs more carb, but tasty.

It’s cloudy and, even through the strainer, it looks like stuff floating. But it has a nice little carb and a good flavor…for 1/4 cup added to 48 oz of juice, you can really taste the ginger. Interesting. It should easily handle another day to carb, though.

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Day 124 Starting Another Batch of Tepache

Tepache ingredients in the fermentation bucket.

Tepache ingredients in the fermentation bucket.

I cut up a pineapple as part of some fruit that I was providing at a family gathering yesterday, so I kept the core and skin for another batch of tepache. Waste not, want not! I picked up the piloncillo Mexican raw sugar this evening and started my batch.

Of course, I sanitized my fermentation bucket. I then added the pineapple skins and core, 20 oz of piloncillo, eight cups of water, a stick of cinnamon, and five whole cloves (increased from the original 3). Let the fermentation begin!

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If history is repeated, the fermentation will be evident in about 48 hours and I will allow it to continue to day 5 or 6 before the next step. At that point, it’s straining and adding a little more water. Adding a beer at that point is optional and I have done it in my previous batches. This time, I may skip it,  just to see the difference.

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Day 105 Bottling Tepache and Murray’s SEC #3

I got up this morning and decided to take care of racking and bottling the (pineapple) tepache. I racked into two 1/2 gallon carboys. One was full and the other was a very short partial. I went ahead and got a sample for checking the SG. It was 1.040 @74F, so correct to 1.041, down from an OG of 1.090. That calculates out to 6.43% ABV, with plenty of sugar left. I will call 1.041 my final gravity. I racked to 12 oz bottles and filled 7, a little more than I anticipated, but not more than I was prepared for!

Racking the tepache for bottling.

Racking the tepache for bottling.

From the sample, I also had a good taste and I like it. It has a nice sweet and tangy flavor…I don’t want to say “sweet and sour”, because it really isn’t sour. I think “tangy” is a closer description. The cinnamon and piloncillo (raw sugar) are very pronounced. I’m not really noticing the clove…may add a little more next time. So, this is where I have to decide when to pasteurize. I have only pasteurized once before and I’m a little concerned with getting the batch pasteurized with moderate carbonation, but not letting them go to being over-pressurized. I don’t want bottle bombs! I have seen cider build pressure more quickly than anticipated and with the amount of sugar left in the tepache, I think I may just give it one full day and check it by opening a bottle and pouring a tiny sample and then capping it with a fresh crown. So, will check back tomorrow morning.  ***Update 8:15 a.m. 5/6/14 :  Quick sample yields good carb, but needs just a little more. Fresh cap on the test bottle and will check again later today and pasteurize. Moving on…while I have the equipment out and sanitized, I went ahead and bottled the 1/2 gallon of Murray’s super Easy Cider.

Bottling Murray's Super Easy Cider #3.

Bottling Murray’s Super Easy Cider #3.

I was a bit short on 6 bottles, but I got 5 and a good SG/tasting sample. The FG on this batch comes out to 1.007, after temperature correction. I’m having trouble locating my notes with the OG for this batch. Maybe I didn’t include it in a journal entry? Oh well, I believe the OG was 1.053, so if that assumption is right, an ABV of 6.04% is what I come up with. There’s not too much residual sugar, so it may not carb. I’m not too concerned about it…pretty sure there’s no fear of bottle bombs, though. The color and flavor are nice. It still has apple flavor…not too dry. I’m happy with it. I found a good deal at the store today on a commercial apple juice product called “White’s Fresh Pressed”.  In 1/2 gallon plastic bottles, they were buy one, get one free. Ingredients are just apple juice, no additives. They say it’s not from concentrate and the apples are sourced from Virginia.  I bought one bottle for the kids and one for hard cider. I used the refractometer and got an SG of 1.048. That’s a tad low for my liking, so I added about a 1/4 cup of honey and bumped the FG  to about 1.056 and transferred the juice to a 1/2 gallon glass carboy into which I had pitched 5 to 6 grams of Safale s-04 yeast. I gave it a good shaking to dissolve the yeast and aerate the juice. Update: 8:15 a.m. 5/6/14 : Confirmed fermentation is active. Pineapple Tinker was started on Dec. 10, 2013  and bottled on Jan. 20, 2014. I stuck a bottle in the refrigerator a few days ago by mistake…so, I figured I might as well go ahead and try it.

Pineapple Tinker, about 4 months in the bottle.

Pineapple Tinker, about 4 months in the bottle.

So, it’s very fizzy on the pour and eventually settles to steady streams of Champagne-like bubbles rising through a clear, pale yellow liquid. The aroma is definitely pineapple and the flavor starts like a Champagne on the front end and transitions to an almost coconut taste briefly and then pineapple with a dry finish. The deceptive thing about this drink is that the ABV is 13.39%!!! It started at 1.112 OG and FG was 1.010, so it’s packing a velvet punch. Should be interesting to see if this changes in another 6 months or so.

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