Sunday, July 7, 2013

Brown Sugar Hard Apple Cider -- Recipe + Upgraded Brew Closet

Since there was nothing fermenting in my closet, my roommate and I upgraded it. We replaced the old table with a nightstand we found at a thrift store for only $4. For what it was worth, it can do much more than the previous table. It can hold two 5 gallon fermenters and a 1 gallon fermenter on top simultaneously without collapsing.
Upgraded Brew Closet
The lower shelves are good for equipment storage
My roommate and I tried going to the homebrew store last week, but it was closed on the day we went. Aside from it being hard to find a day to go to the brew store and the fact that a full boil would cook everyone in the summer heat, I decided that it was time to try my new cider recipe.

Primary (10-14 days)
4.5 gallons Apple Juice
2 lbs Dark Brown Sugar
2 Cups of Raisins
1 Tablespoon Yeast Nutrient

Secondary (7 days)

1 lb White cane sugar
1/2 packet Lalvin EC-1118

Apple Juice for Hard Cider
It's always fun walking out of the store with a large amount of juice
I wanted to take advantage of both fermenters, so I bought enough materials for 2 batches of cider. Now I'll get a whole 9 gallons worth at once. Apple juice was not the cheapest it could have been, but regardless, I only paid about $4 extra for each batch. When the juice goes on sale for $3/gallon, then I will stockpile for later.
Cider Yeast Starters
Half-full (or half-empty) jugs and jars of yeast
This recipe gives me a chance to try out the yeast I saved from the rye beer we made. It would make sense to practice using it now in a starter then to find out later that it is no longer active in a more expensive batch of beer. To make my starters, I added 1 jar of yeast and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar to each half-full apple juice container. I covered the top of each jug with foil, to allow only oxygen to enter to help the yeast get started. I am curious to see if the rye beer will have any affect on the final flavor of the cider. My guess is that it will not since it will be diluted by the rest of the batch.
Starters for hard cider 2
Give them a day to get started.
Now since I only added half the sugar I usually do, the starting gravity is a bit lower than the previous batch, both fermenters starting at an OG of  1.066. However, if the yeast ferments it down to near the same gravity as last time, the cider will have between 8.8% and 10.6% ABV. I'll be checking on this in about 2 weeks.

Racking cider
Into the bucket it goes
It has been 2 weeks so today was the day to transfer the cider to secondary fermentation. Gravity reading for both were 0.998, but since it's around 90 degrees upstairs, the corrected gravity is instead 1.002. The ABV of this new cider is 8.5%. I am not at all dissatisfied with this, as it tastes great. It'll sit for 1 more week before bottling. I am also saving the yeast from one of the fermenters to replenish my supply.
Pale Ale Cider

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