Next Trials

December 17, 2009

I didn’t wait for my first batch of apple wine to finish before I started my second and third batch. I was at Whole Foods when I discovered they were selling Organic Apple Juice in glass jugs for $8.99. A glass jug costs me $4.75 from my local wine and brew supply store, so I was really only paying $4.24 for the juice. The label read that it was pasteurized, but unfiltered, and nothing was added. This last piece of information is very important, because if there are ANY preservatives present in the juice, the yeast will not go, and therefore, fermentation will not take place. The fact that it is pasteurized is okay with me at this point, but it does reduce my total fermentation time and will affect the flavor in the end.

The label also said it was made with Golden Delicious, Gala, Braeburn, and Red Delicious apples from Sonoma county and Washington State, where I am from. The apple blend is interesting. It is a good blend for fresh drinking, but for cider, only the Delicious apples of that blend would have been used. I’ll explain more on that in future posts, but for now know that apples are usually classified as eaters, dessert, cookers, good for sauce, or good for cider. Braeburn and Gala apples are eaters and dessert apples that have not been around long enough for cider use, though I do know of one local cidery that uses Braeburns for fresh juice, but not in their cider. However, there seems to be a split idea of what apples are good apples for cider out there. Tradition says stick to traditional apples, yet my email group will tell me not to be afraid to try new apples.

Anyway, I bought two jugs of this juice and brought it home. I really didn’t do anything to the first jug but add some yeast to it and start it fermenting as a cider. The second one I added sugar to, but being my first attempt on my own, it took me a little bit to figure out how much, and I struggled with it. Eventually, I got it where I wanted it, and sent it on its merry way fermenting. My overall goal with these two jugs was to find out how different the same juice might taste at different alcohol strengths, which I won’t find out for a few months.

More recently, I bought another jug of it and then added some pure cranberry juice (no preservatives) at a 3:1 ratio, and I put in a few cinnamon sticks before letting it ferment as a cider. I’ll bottle that batch this coming weekend. So many experiments that I won’t know the outcome for a few months.

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