The Pipeline

The Pipeline

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Simple-Hard Apple Cider

Although beer is my love, I also enjoy wine, a mixed drink and some good old fashioned hard cider. I have made apple wines, and dry ciders but what I really like is a semi sweet cider. From what I have read Woodchuck's Cider in the bottle has a gravity of about 1.028. That is really sweet! My dry ciders that are fermented with wine or champagne yeast finish around 1.000, maybe a little higher.

So with Winter hopefully winding down soon I wanted to make a semi sweet cider that would be ready to be put on tap in about 6 weeks. Like anything else, ciders are as easy or as hard as you want to make them. I have tried my fare share and have tasted great examples of both. For this recipe I went very simple. Apple juice, champagne yeast, apple juice concentrate, and potassium sorbate. Thats it! Believe it or not, it tastes extremely similar to Woodchuck.

Step one: Buy 100% apple juice or apple cider that has no preservitives in it. (I usually make 3-5 gallons)

Step two: Sanitize a carboy and funnel. (You don't really have to have much head space because you don't get a krausen.)

Step three: Pour half of each jug of juice into the carboy and recap them so that you can shake the rest to aeriate. Shake the carboy to aeriate the other half. Pour the rest in from the jugs.

Step four: Pitch some Champagne yeast or wine yeast.

Step five: Wait a month. (Ya I know it sucks)

Step six: Add potassium sorbate to kill off the yeast. How much to add depends on how much you are making. If you want it dry, you don't need to add this, just bottle or keg as is.

Step seven: Backsweeten with cans of apple juice concentrate. This gives you the flexability of getting it to the sweetness you enjoy. I will probably bring this one back to about 1.018.

Step eight: Keg and enjoy.

Side note: Once you add the potassium sorbate and kill off the yeast you will not be able to carbonate this in a bottle. This may be obvious but I figured I would throw it in anyways.

If you want it to be sweet and bottle it AND have it carbonated you will just have to sweeten each glass you pour, seven up works great.

If I only knew how easy this is to make while I was in high school.....

Simple Hard Apple Cider

Made 3 gallons 2/11/11

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Why do you homebrew?

I asked this question last month because I think a lot of us brew for lots of different reasons, and for multiple reasons. Having studied biology and a lot of that being micro biology I really enjoy the process of cultivating yeast as well as providing them with the best habitat, or living environment for them to be successful and do exactly what I want them to do...make good beer. We as brewers don't make beer, we make wort, and the yeast do all of the hard work to make it all come together for us. Without yeast, beer is not possible.

I also enjoy sitting in the garage, smoking a cigar and hanging out with friends while we drink beers from previous batches. Some beers come out better then others, but I don't fret the occasional mediocre batch, especially if I was experimenting with something different because I know that I had a great time making it. Not to mention being able to learn from those mistakes.

From the poll results it seems like most people enjoy the science behind beer and the process as much as they like to drink that beer and share it with others. So tell me more, what got you into brewing, and what has kept you going back for more? Even after all those broken carboys, infected batches, stuck sparges, messy boil overs and bottle bombs! Lets hear it in a comment below!

Poll Results: Why do you homebrew?

Like the process                            61%
Cheap Beer                                  15%
Drinking it                                     46%
Having others drink it                     38%
Make something you can't buy       23%        
The science aspect                        46%
Other                                             0%

*could choose multiple answers