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Phoenix76

Brewing an Apple Cider

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Hi Y'all

 

Hope Y'all had a great holiday and a great New Year. Ours was very quiet apart from our normal afternoon storms this time of year.

 

I am a lover of Apple Cider, and I mean HARD cider. Have read a lot of posts on the forum about it, but everyone seems to suggest it is hard to get any sweetness into it. They all tend to be rather astringent.

 

What interested me was the suggestion of using Apple Juice from your local supermarket. I can buy Apple Juice, and others, for $1.89 per 2 litres. So thought this was a good proposition. Well tried that, and it wasn't too bad. Quite dry so you had to have a liking for a VERY dry cider. Have brewed it a couple of times, both carbonated and still. Very heady, and very dry. But even for me, it was really just a bit too dry.

 

Well came across a Mango Juice that was blended with Apple. Actually it is 90% Apple and 10% Mango. Anyway, I thought I would give it a try. I hoped that the Mango would give it that little sweet edge that I needed.

 

So bought a box, 6 x 2lt bottles. So with 12 lt of juice I added 600g of brewing sugar, and chucked in a sachet of S04. Gave it 2 weeks in the FV, and bottled it with one level teaspoon of table sugar per 740ml bottle.

 

After a week in the bottle, I couldn't resist trying it out. I was pleasantly surprised. Very drinkable, and whilst still quite dry, just a nice side taste of sweetness. So I'm thinking that the sweetness of the Mango, plus the brewing sugar, has given it a nice sweet edge to a dry cider.

 

Just cracked another bottle tonight, and, IMHO, it tasted just that little better than the first bottle. So will be interesting to see if it keeps improving. So at about 94c per 740 bottle, it is a bloody good view.

 

With everything I've read on making a cider, it was always the bitterness of the result that was a problem. So maybe the sweetness of the Mango , and the dextrose component of the brewing sugar, is the secret.

 

What can I say, I like it.

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Good. Glad you liked it. Some fruits, like pears, have natural sorbital, which is an unfermentable sugar. I am not sure about mangoes. I know dried plums (prunes) dried apricots, and dried apples have a lot.

 

Hanging around on mead making forums I picked up a tip about using herbal teas for flavour. Tea companies spend a lot of time developing blends that are tasty. I made a whole series of 1 gallon batches in different ways a few years ago and my favourite was I made with a German herbal tea (MeBmer/Messmer), made from hibiscus flowers, dried apples, rose hips, dried orange and lemon peel, dried elderberries, so that is what I used again this year, when I made a bigger batch, from my own apples. This herbal tea does a lot of things right: the hibiscus flowers, rose hips, orange and lemon peels add citric and tartaric acid. The dried apples also add some sorbital. The dried elderberries add some tannins.

 

Celestial Seasonings "Bengal Spice," is my favourite herbal tea; the combination of ingredients tastes sweet without containing any sugar. Not sure why I never thought of it before, but I bet it would be great in cider.

 

Another spice I am very interested in is start anise. Star anise contains an organic compound, anethole, which is 13 times sweeter than sugar. This compound is also found in liquorice, fennel, and anise seed, which is why you often see these ingredients in herbal tea blends, to make them naturally sweet....Just did a search for herbal teas which contain star anise and found this:

 

https://www.pukkaherbs.com/teas-supplements/pukka-organic-teas/star-anise-cinnamon/#

 

It is not available where I live, but I am quite inspired by the ingredient list.

 

This Christmas, instead of grating a bit of nutmeg into my eggnog, I added a bit of star anise instead. It was delicious.

 

Cheers,

 

Christina.

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Thanks Christina

 

For the record, it would appear that Mangos do not contain any sorbital. Quite high in fructose and sucrose of course, which is probably why they are so delicious. Still waiting for my mangos to ripen. The are Bowen Mangos which is the most popular natural mango here. Couple more weeks I reckon, and then we will have a feast and make pigs of ourselves. :D

 

Cheers

Bill

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Just to finish off on this post, I would like to give an update on the brew, a couple of weeks down the track.

 

Since bottling, the brew has matured very well. still dry, but with some sweet overtones. Drinking very well and not mouth puckering.

 

Must add, that when I bottled, being a very mean sort of person, I squeezed every drop out of the FV. Well it looked very cloudy and I didn't think it would be worth much. It totally about a bottle and two thirds. Well they had a very thick sediment in each, but that settled down over a couple of weeks. But after chilling those two bottles, and then having a taste, I was very pleasantly surprised. The sediment was very much like having a fruit smoothie, but with a bit of a kick. Very acceptable taste.

 

So there you are. Bit of a play and experimentation, and I have a very yummy home brewed cider, with no mucking around. Will be buying another carton of Mango Juice this week when we go shopping. Just love it.

 

Cheers

Bill

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