23 02 2013

Cider Results

12 02 2013

Sooo….  It’s been about a week since the cider project came to a close and everything was sweetened up and bottled, so I thought I’d share with you how everything turned out.  While I wouldn’t call the brew complex in flavor it is certainly highly alcoholic!  Miss Nightly tried some and did a good imitation of the “bitter beer face” from those commercials that used to play years ago (what beer were they for? Miller? Bud?) and waved her arms around trying to swat the alcohol flies away I suppose.  Nightly is a notorious light weight though, so I’ll forgive her that and not take it to heart.  (On a side note, I am beginning to wonder if I take my drinks a little on the strong side.  Nightly gives me this reaction a lot when I am pouring the drinks and most of the time I can barely taste the sin contained in the glass.  I think we are both a little skewed and that probably means I am not the best one to rate how much this actually tastes like alcohol.)

In the bottles the brew is a nice deep gold, but when a few fingers are poured into a glass it becomes a nice mellow-yellow gold-y color.  GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

(And yes. If any of you are comparing the levels of liquid in the bottle to the pictures I posted in the first Cider entry, I did drink all that by myself.  What can I say?  I’m happy with the results of my little experiment.)

It is quite sweet and has a nice smooth apple taste rather than a crisp one.  There is no carbonation to speak of.  The consistency is more like a liquor, somewhat thick and syrupy – but not to the point of clinging to the glass – than a typical cider.  It is in no way cloying, and what I’m sure miss Nightly took for that horrific burn that caused the bitter beer face, I find to be a pleasant warmth that fills my mouth and fades to faint, lingering apple.

I am very happy with this batch, and will document the next one more carefully for you.  After I’ve done a few I’m sure I’ll be more able to offer tips and options to you with some reliability, but for now let me just say that if you’ve ever had the urge, notion, thought, dream, or hankering to brew some tasty al-ku-ma-hall of your own do it!  This was so simple, so cheap, and took so little effort that it would be a shame not to give it a try if the desire has struck you.  And there are countless walk-throughs out there on the internet to help you along the way.

As soon as I get off my butt and start the next batch you’ll get more Cider-y Goodness!

Cider-y Goodness

3 02 2013

Last year my boyfriend and I decided to try our hands at making cider.  He did all of the research and the hard work and walked me through my own batch.  It was a fun, easy, and cheap project all things considered, and you can find tutorials all about the internet.  To simplify (but not by much):  You need to first obtain natural, non-pasteurized apple juice which generally runs about $8 for a gallon depending on where you purchase it.  You must then buy some yeast either from your local brew supply shop or the internet (or anywhere else that might have brewing yeast in your area).  We both used champagne yeast, but I have heard of good results using beer yeast, such as lager yeast.  While you are at the brew supply store or website you will also need to purchase an air-lock set, which consists of a little rubber bottle stopper with a hole in it and a plastic tube with two chambers.  Total cost comes to under $2 generally.  You throw the yeast in the juice, add some sugar, put some water in the air-lock, and use the air-lock to stopper the bottle.

Now let it sit for a month or two…

Really, this can be the end.  Once it has sat for two months or so it is pretty much ready to go. Siphon or pour it into bottles and let it go.  That’s what I did, with the exception of racking it (siphoning it into a new bottle about half way through the process to get it off of the dead yeast that settles onto the bottom of the bottle).  Mine was very bitter and I wasn’t very happy with it to be honest.  Now, this could have been the yeast I used.  The champagne yeast was rated to 18% alcohol which is pretty steep, and I did not try to sweeten it all.  It really didn’t occur to me to try.  I drank some, but the rest stayed in the bottle, sitting in my closet, lonely, forgotten, stewing, until over a year had past.  Every so often when I was in my closet for something I would look at the cabinet in which it sat and think to myself, “I really should dump that out,” but it never happened.  I couldn’t never get up the motivation the carry the carboy out to the backyard and drain it into the bushes where I was sure it would stink in a big muddy mess that was better added to the garden than the kitchen sink. And then the bottle would need to be washed – another hassle.  I usually had better things to do with my time.

And then one day I mentioned it to Ant, and he turned my perspective on the big bottle in the liquor cabinet upside down. My mead-making, wine-tasting boyfriend is sometimes very good at making me feel blonde.  Typically aging alcohol is a good thing…  and it hadn’t ever occurred to me.

We put a little bit into a cup with a turkey baster and tasted it.  It was rank.  Then we added sugar and it was awesome.

Today I am adding sugar to final bottles.


And these are what I ended up with!  There are two more smaller bottles as well.


3 02 2013

Wedding. Short-stack has some insecurities, the same as all of us.  She deserves nothing but support.