Introduction: Next Year's Christmas Cider
This is a fantastic cider recipe that my wife and I developed when we were still dating. It matures each year and is different each time we open a bottle. Though technically a cyser, this recipe is a development of my mother's yearly mulled cider recipe that showed up yearly around Christmas Eve, and was gone a few days later. I had always wondered what it would taste like to have a mug of glug that was sweetened by yeast and age. And now I have one.
Brew a few cases of this beast, age them a few years, and enjoy. This is one drink best served warm.
*also worth noting is that this alcohol will yield about 17% ABV... plan on staying in for the evening.
Step 1: Ingredients
· 14 Pounds of Honey
· 4 Gallons of unpasteurized, preservative-free cider
· 2lbs of dark brown sugar
· Red Star Cote des Blanc yeast
· 3 tsps. Yeast Energizer
· 2.5 tsps. Pectic Enzyme
· 5 Campden Tablets Adjuncts
· 0.5oz. Cinnamon Stick
· 0.1oz. Cloves
· 0.5oz. Orange Peel
Secondary Fermentation Additive
· 3tbs. Sparkolloid
Step 2: Brew Day Equipment
Brew Pot 6 gal
Fermenter 6.5 gal
No Rinse Sanitizer
Large Sauce Pan- 2 gal
Ceramic Measuring Bowl- 8 cups
Step 3: Brew Day Preparations
Thoroughly clean and sanitize ALL brewing equipment and utensils that will come in contact with any ingredients, must or cider.
In your fermenter add 4 gallons of unpasteurized, preservative-free cider with 3 Tsps. Yeast Energizer 2.5 tsps. of Pectic Enzyme and blend until all ingredients are dissolved. Take hydrometer reading and record on page 2.
3 MUST SANITATION
Because the must is not boiled prior to fermentation it is important to insure that we kill any bacteria or natural yeast that may be living in your cider prior to adding yeast. This is done by adding sulfites, specifically sulfur dioxidein the form of Campden Tablets. Crush 5 Campden Tablets and add to the cider. Stir well, mixing all ingredients. Cover the bucket with a linen cloth and let sit for 24 hours.
Step 4: Yeast Preparation
1 On brew day use a sanitized ladle to remove 1 cup of must from the fermenter. Mix this with 2 cups of boiling water. When the mixture has cooled to 100°F mix in the contents of the yeast packet and let the culture media stand for 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
2 Remove 3 cups of must and place in sterilized mixing bowl. Slowly sprinkle the culture media into the 3 cups of must in order for the yeasts to adapt to their new fermentation media (temperature difference, osmotic pressure, SO2), then wait for 10 minutes.
3 DO NOT ADD must until instructed to do so later in the Brewing Procedures section. Early addition can result in low yeast count as addition of Honey mixture can cause temperature shock and osmotic pressure differences that could kill yeast.
Step 5: Brewing Procedures
Bring one gallon of water to a boil in a large sauce pan. Add 2lbs. of dark brown sugar slowly until all is dissolved. Add each of the adjuncts (Cinnamon Sticks, Cloves, and Orange Peel) and continue boiling for 10 minutes.
Add all 14 pounds of honey to the boil. To make pouring honey easier gently pre-heat the honey (do not heat to more than 120°F). Stir until fully combined
Immediately crash the temperature of the water and honey mixture by removing it from the stovetop, and placing the large sauce pan into and ice bath. Crash until the temperature reaches 120°F.
Pour the contents of the large sauce pan through a course strainer into the fermenter with the must. Mix with a sterilized brew paddle until fully combined. Check the temperature of the completed must.
5 INITIAL GRAVITY
Check initial gravity with your hydrometer and record in the appropriate location on the second page remembering to adjust for temperature.
Proper oxygenation is important to yeast health. Aerate your must either by vigorously sloshing it between two sterilized fermenters, stirring aggressively with your brewers paddle, or with an oxygen supply and stone.
7 PITCHING YEAST
Monitor the temperature of the must and the yeast. When they are within 10°F (preferably 5°F) pitch it directly into the must and stir well with sanitized spoon or paddle. Firmly secure the lid onto the fermenter. Fill your airlock halfway with water and gently twist the airlock into the grommeted lid. Move fermenter to a dark, warm, temperature-stable area. (64°-86°F) Manufacture states that yeast can ferment in temperatures as low as 53°-57°F.
Step 6: Fermentation
MONITOR & RECORD
The must will begin to ferment within 24 hours and you will notice Carbon Dioxide releasing (bubbling) out of the airlock. Within 4 - 6 days the bubbling will slow down until you see no more Carbon Dioxide being released. After 10 days or when fermentation is complete (no bubbles for 48 hours) take a Final Gravity reading with a sanitized hydrometer and record it in your ABV% CALCULATOR.
Prepare for secondary fermentation by sanitizing a carboy, racking cane, and siphon tube. Additionally prepare 3 tbs. of Sparkalloid according to the manufactures instructions. When your Sparkalloid mixture is ready to be added it is time to begin racking. Set up your racking cane and siphon tube and begin to rack the cider. As it flows from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter begin adding the Sparkalloid by pouring it through a thin funnel in the top of the carboy. Take care not to agitate the cider by sloshing it as this will oxidize it. Adding the Sparkalloid during the racking procedure ensures consistent mixture without stirring or oxidizing.
Step 7: Bottling Day