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Day 116 Opening a Pineapple Tinker, Updates

Pineapple Tinker

Pineapple Tinker

On the evening of December 10, 2013, I began a little experiment with a pineapple, some honey, sugar and brown sugar. It was kind of a melomel, a fruit mead, but it wasn’t sweetened entirely with honey. As my little experiment progressed, I included some vanilla bean and some untoasted American oak chips. I called it Pineapple Tinker. As the pineapple was fermenting, I was discouraged, because it smelled AWFUL. I was sure that it was going to have to be thrown out. With a little research, I found others  that had similar feelings about their fermenting pineapple, but had waited and were amazed at how good it turned out to be. So, I decided to stick it out.

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According to my notes, the OG was 1.112 and the FG was 1.000. That would make a 14.70% ABV final product. Is that even possible with S-04 yeast?! I would have thought the yeast would have died off before that. If there’s that much alcohol in this Tinker, that’s dangerous! There’s no burn…maybe a little warmth lingering in the throat. Anyway, bottled this small batch on January, 20, 2014. What I have now, is a beautiful pale yellow crystal clear color with a definite pineapple aroma. It is very well carbonated with fine, Champagne-like bubbles, a dry, but not bone dry, clean pineapple flavor. A little more sweetness in this would be nice, but I’m pretty impressed! All honey for sweetening would have been nice. And maybe back sweetening with a little something non-fermentable would have been a good addition, but for a first “Tinker”, I’m happy!

Still no real sign of life in the pineapple tepache. Pineapple-mango melomel should be an interesting contrast to the Tinker…it continues to carboy condition. And the American Wheat RyePA is at a crawl in primary fermentation. I did get some vodka today and zested two lemons and two oranges…combined in a covered storage container in the fridge until ready to go to secondary with the RyePA. That should happen over the weekend, sometime.

Ready to cover and refrigerate.

Ready to cover and refrigerate.

Citrus to be zested and vodka for soaking, sanitizing and extracting flavors.

Citrus to be zested and vodka for soaking, sanitizing and extracting flavors.

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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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