Monday, July 28, 2014

Stumbling into my 1st Cider Part #3 & Tasting Session



Continuing on my journey attempting to make a quaffable cider, (if your catching up please read part #1 and part #2) With all the fermentation things done, this cider's ready to bottle.  I wanted to bottle all, leaving none on draft, so stopping any future (potential) fermentation is of vast importance.  I always try to avoid adding any chemicals into my beers or ciders.  So using any type of sorbates is out of the question.  Bottling with my Blichmann beer gun under pressure and pasteurizing them on my stove is the way to go.


I've read a lot of techniques with varying concerns about doing this (some pretty passionate).  So I decided to go with what I thought would work best in my head and not get into the pros and cons or online debates.  To be somewhat scientific, I kept a couple bottles outside of my cellar to see if they continued to ferment and the rest inside my 42 degree cellar.  (At 5 months I'll check and see if they became bottle bombs.My mash tun happens to have the longest temperature probe of all my kettles.  Plus it has a fancy false bottom.  The idea was to keep the bottles off contact with the stainless floor of the kettle.  So starting with 190 degree water in my mash tun for the pasteurization process.  The bottles started off bottled, cold and under pressure,  Then slowly brought up to room temp over a day.  One bottle was filled with room temperature water, uncapped.  This would be my back up for testing the internal water temperature as it was slowly pasteurized.  I could fit roughly around 12-15 bottles into the mash tun on each cycle.  Each cycle lasted about 35 minutes before I pulled the bottles out and into a cool water bath.  (Not cold, that would crack the bottles) Then, I would turn on the flame to start heating the water again for another cycle.  In total I did about 35, 12 ounce bottles or 3 cycles of heating the water, submerging the bottles and starting all over again.  
In all the process worked flawlessly.  Recently, I drank a couple of the warm stored bottles (Bottling date was Jan 20, 2014) and they did not show any signs of excessive carbonation vs the cold stored examples.  In all this is a very viable way for small scale home pasteurization.   A process which I'm starting to think could be necessary for some Meads and Sour Beers. 

Aroma:  Sweet apples, almost like Gala Apples.  Some vanilla notes. 

Appearance:  Amazing clarity.  Golden Pilsner like.  The champagne like carbonation fades very quickly, faster than I could capture in the photo above. 

Flavor:  On the sweet side (which is what I wanted, an Final Gravity of 1.010)  The sugars from the apples come through cleanly.  I get bits of wild honey, the sweetness of a fresh squeezed/pressed apple, finishing with a little carbonic bite.  No off flavors, cleanly fermented, the little bit of age really helped out the overall impression.

Mouthfeel:  Sparkling throughout.  It has a warm fullness to it that really adds to the enjoyment while sipping.  It has a smoothness that must come from the back sweetening.  It makes it well rounded for lack of a better descriptor. 

Overall Impression:  Before this experiment, I had never tasted a commercial Cider.  Never wanted to.  This is quickly changing that.  The top notch drink-ability of this Cider is par with any other beverage I've created so far.  Now this will never be on tap at the house, however having a couple fermenting/aging might be a great way to step into the hobby a little more, adding some diversity to my Homebrewing hobby. 

Brewing Timeline/Notes:  This was brewed back in November 2013.  Above, I have links to the 2 other posts concerning this cider.  Right now the only thing I would possibly change is the apples, if fresh pressed was an option.  Since it won't be in the near future, using this inexpensive Apple Juice worked better than I ever dreamed when you figure in the cost, time and availability.

I know I'm not tricking any experienced Cider makers out there when it comes to the base ingredients used for this cider.   That wasn't the point.  The point of this was testing to see if I could create a Basic Cider with Basic Ingredients.  And it worked.  The Cider needed some time to get where I wanted it, but the pasteurization worked and the Cider is now wonderful to drink after work.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for Commenting, Prost!