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Hard Cider


Somehow I've managed to brew all these years without ever making a hard cider. I decided this was the year to end that.

I started with just under 4 gallons of the Heyser Farms raw cider, made from their Spencerville Red apples. Here's what the farm has to say about this variety of apple, which they have patented:

It has a tangy flavor when first picked, then sweetens in storage. This apple is unusual because it has both a high acid and a high sugar content -- that's what gives it that distinctive and memorable flavor.

I then put just under 3 gallons in my 3-gal Better Bottle, spiked that with S-05 yeast, and set her bubbling. No pasteurization, but I did pasteurize the yeast starter and gave it a population boost at the onset.

Additionally, just under 1 gallon went into a 1-gal glass jug, spiked with some WSP-001 yeast, which is the yeast I isolated from a spontaneously fermented date wine.

Both parts are fermenting nicely after about 30 hours, with a nicer krausen actually forming on the WSP-001 than the S-05, at least so far.

This is the simplest recipe I've ever done.  Fresh-pressed cider + yeast.  No sugar added,
no molasses, no heating/pasteurizing/etc., just chill, oxygenate, pitch.

For the sake of being thorough and complete, here are the "details":

Batch #1 
 * 2.75 gallons raw Heyser Farms Spencerville Red cider, unheated and unpasteurized
 * 1 packet Safale's S-05 yeast

Dissolved yeast in 100ml of a 50/50 water/cider solution that had been pasteurized then 
chilled.  I then placed the starter on a stir plate for a few hours until the krausen 
began to form. The rest of the cider was refrigerated in its original jugs until just 
before pitching, when I poured it into a sanitized 3-gallon Better Bottle, aerated, and 
pitched the entire contents of the yeast beaker.


Batch #2
 * 0.90 gallons raw Heyser Farms Spencerville Red cider, unheated and unpasteurized
 * 1 jar of WSP-001 Wild Ale yeast

Decanted water from jar, swirled to loosen yeast cake, and pitched into cider, which had 
been transferred into a sanitized 1-gallon glass jug.

Brewer's log (view full log)
Sadly, I got distracted and by the time I was ready to bottle this batch, it had clearly spoiled. So, check this one off as a failure-due-to-neglect.. . . . . [view full post]


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