Thursday, 17 September 2015

Apples Two Ways: Wine and funky cider.

Each year at my parent's house, I used to pick crabapples with my siblings and my parents. Back then, my mom would make them into jelly, but nowadays I keep trying to take my share for fermentation goodies! It's convenient as well, as my girlfriend has recently discovered a love for cider that had previously laid dormant.

Here we have two different preparations of crabapples. On the left we have a wine that was partially prepared by my mother. She took a jam sort of approach to preparing the apples by filling a pot with crabapples and topping off with water before boiling them and draining the liquid. The heat and boiling water pulled out the colour pigments from the skins, as well as quite a bit of acid. I measured the OG and found it to be just 1.025 so I decided to use table sugar to raise up the gravity to 1.070. I also used EC-1118 to ferment it. To be honest, I didn't put too much thought into this one.. Just took the juice my momma gave me and threw some champagne yeast at it. I'll measure FG and see what goes on!

For the carboy on the right, I made a crabapple cider. For this one, I had originally planned to use a wine/cider press to press the juice.. I froze about 20 gallons worth of crabapples (two different varieties) and thawed them to soften them to make squeezing juice easier. I used a paint stirrer drill attachment to break apart the fruits, and loaded it into the wine press in a few nylon bags. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. The nylon bags exploded their apple-sauce insides onto me, I didn't have enough spacers to get a strong squeeze, and I just got frustrated so I ended up draining the juice using a hanging nylon bag instead. I ended up collecting just under 10 L of juice, and ended up topping off with fresh cider and apple juice. This is actually probably way better so that the normal apple juice cuts the acidity of the crabapple juice.

For the cider, I had originally planned to ferment it with 100% Brett that I had isolated from a bottle of cuvee rene, but I ended up using it in combination with EC-1118. The culture of brett had an amazing lambic earthy funky smell to it. I'm hoping that the champagne yeast combo will bring out even more funk and dryness. The OG for this one was right at 1.050 so I'm excited for a quaffable funk cider soon to come!

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