in case you were wondering what i’m doing today:
detoxing from last night by drinking tea and eating locally grown fruit, picking up the prize for the writing contest i won, and spending the money on a carboy, airlock, and gallons of juice.
Placed 1st in the Cider & Apple Wine category at the BJCP sanctioned Alamo Cerveza fest (out of 11 entries) and took 2nd place for Best of Show for the main category of Meads & Ciders (out of 50 entries).
5 Gallons 100% Apple Juice (no preservatives or additives)
2 pounds of dextrose (corn sugar)
1 five gram packet of Montrachet Wine Yeast
5 Gallon Carboy (I use a Better Bottle)
Carboy Cap or Stopper with Airlock
First sanitize the carboy, airlock, funnel, stopper or carboy cap.
Open one gallon bottle of apple juice and pour half of it into the carboy using the funnel.
Open one bag of Dextrose and carefully add it to the now half full bottle of apple juice. Shake well.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3, then go to step 5.
Pour in the mixture of Apple Juice and Dextrose from both bottles into the carboy.
Add all but 1 quart of remaining 3 gallons of apple juice to the carboy.
Open the packet of Montrachet Yeast and pour it into the neck of the funnel.
Use the remaining quart of juice to wash down any yeast that sticks. I am able to fit all but 3 ounces of apple juice into a 5 gallon Better Bottle. You may need to be patient to let the foam die down from all shaking and pouring.
Put your stopper or carboy cap on with an airlock and fill the airlock with cheap vodka. No bacteria will live in vodka and if you get suckback, you just boosted the abv.
There’s no need to worry about filling up a carboy so full when you use Montrachet wine yeast. There is no Kreuzen, just a thin layer of bubbles. I’m able to fit all but 4 oz. of my five gallons in the bottle. Ferment at room temperature.
It will become cloudy in a couple of days and remain so for a few weeks. In the 4th week, the yeast will begin to drop out and it will become clear. After at least 4 weeks, you can keg or bottle, but it is ok to leave it in the carboy for another month or so. Racking to a secondary is not necessary. It ferments out very dry (less than 0.999, see here)
Apfelwein really improves with age, so if you can please let it sit in a carboy for up to 3 months before bottling or kegging, then let it sit even longer.
Six months and it hits its stride. Eight months and it’ll blow your mind.
If you want to bottle and carbonate, ¾ cup of corn sugar will work fine. Use as you would carbonate a batch of beer.
DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND START ANOTHER BATCH 2 WEEKS AFTER YOU START THIS ONE.
YOU WILL THANK ME LATER!
How does it taste?
It ferments quite dry. Some people have tried different yeasts in order to achieve a sweeter taste. It may take you a few glasses to get a feel for the flavor. It is very reminiscent of a sort of apfelwein produced locally in Germany. There really is no comparable product in the United States. It’s drier and less sweet than commercial hard ciders. It gets better with age and at 6+ months, the apple flavor really comes out.
How do you sweeten it?
Many folks back sweeten it with Wine Conditioner. Wine Conditioner is a blend of sucrose and sorbic acid. The addition of 2-4 oz. per gallon adds sweetness and prevents renewed fermentation. It can be purchased as any LHBS that caters to wine makers. Others will use Splenda or lactose (other non-fermentable sugars). Germans who prefer it sweet (or Suß as they say) will add a splash of Sprite or 7up to a glass. This is the easiest method as you don’t have to make a whole “sweet” batch that way.
What is the difference between Apfelwein and hard cider?
EdWort says, “Most ciders are a bit sweeter. Ciders and Apfelwein are about 6% abv, but I like the little boost I give it with 2 pounds of Dextrose. It adds no body or flavor and still tastes like Possmann’s Apfelwein, only it will kick your butt much quicker.”
Is this like Apfelmost / Apfel Korn?
No. Apfel Korn is a german liqeur made from wheat spirits. Apfelmost is spontaneously fermented with fresh-pressed apples or apple juice. It is probably similar, but the results may vary as a result of the spontaneous fermentation. Either way, Apfelmost is most certainly has a lower alcohol content since the initial gravity is not increased by the use of concentrate or corn sugar.
What’s the difference between apple juice and cider?
Cider is made by pressing apples. Juice is then filtered to remove all of the stuff that makes it cloudy.
Can I use apple cider instead?
Sure! You can use whatever you want. However, there is not enough information in this thread to give you any better details as to how it will turn out. I recommend starting a new thread or ask more experienced cider-makers.
What kind of Apple Juice should I use?
Ideally, you want to use 100% natural apple juice with no preservatives. The only acceptable preservative is ascorbic acid, which is a source of vitamin C and does not affect fermentation. Pasteurized juice is preferred, since it will have less bacteria.
How much will this recipe cost me?
5 gallons of Apfelwein can be made for between 20 and 25 dollars.
What else can you do with this recipe?
Makes a great Grog in the winter time. Take a quart in a sauce pan, add some rum, turbinado sugar, and float a cinnamon stick in it and simmer for a while. Serve hot in mugs. It’ll warm you right up.