Sunday, October 26, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Cider -- Batch #2

As promised, I planned to make some new pumpkin cider this season. It would be just like last year's batch, except 1/5th the size. I had everything I needed at the beginning of the month....except for my yeast.
Pumpkin Spice Cider
Let's get into this fall holiday season
It finally arrived after being lost in the mail for a few weeks. Due to the way it's packaged, it should have survived the transit being out of the fridge for those weeks, but I have no idea what kind of storage the postal service uses.
I wish I had a pie to go with this

Pumpkin Spice Cider (1 gallon) 

1 gallon Apple Juice
1 can Pumpkin (15 oz)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon yeast nutrient
Safale S-04 yeast

New kettle
I couldn't help myself, it was stainless steel.

I went out today to get myself a proper kettle to do some 1 gallon batches. This new kettle is 12 quarts (3 gallons) and is stainless steel. Since it was only $8, I'm not sure how good of quality it will be in the long run, but it should be safe to use for making small batches of beer.

Step 1 Juice
Adding the juice to the new kettle

Step 2 Spice
Adding cinnamon to the kettle

Step 3 Pumpkin
Adding pumpkin to the kettle (ice cream scoop not pictured)

Step 4 Stir
Stirring the witch's brew

Once all the ingredients were added, the cauldron was heated to boiling temperatures and the mix was boiled for 10 minutes. This was also a good time to see how well this gas stove heats my pot.

Step 5 Boil
I brought out the thermometer to see how close I was to boiling.

I hadn't put too much thought ahead to how I would cool the mixture, but I rigged up a small batch cooling system to get my brew down from boiling temperatures. The new kettle handles allow it to sit inside a five gallon bucket. It's somewhat effective, but I have to hold the kettle down to keep it submerged.

Step 6 Chill out
The big risk here is having outside things fly into it.

Once it was cool enough, I used a funnel to load the cider into a 1 gallon carboy. It fit perfectly. However, it was still warm, so I had to wait a few hours for it to be cool enough to pitch the yeast.

Step 7 Funnel
I learned that the kettle doesn't spill too much over the side.

As the brew cooled, it began to resemble the first batch I did where all the pumpkin sinks to the bottom of the carboy. I'll try to resist using gelatin this time to clarify it, but if I do need it, I'll wait for that to settle out first before I bottle it.

Sediment and my room
Look it's my new room!

The original gravity of this batch was 1.075. It'll end up somewhere around 8% ABV when it's done. The first taste test I got from it was pretty reminiscent of the former batch, except sweet because it hasn't fermented yet. The English yeast should get the job done rather quickly. It'll be in secondary by next Sunday. Until then, cheers!

Pumpkin Cider not meth
That makes two brews in production at the moment.

Edit: 10/27/14: Looks like the yeast had no trouble getting a handle on the cider. It's going strong!

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