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View Full Version : Reality Check - Apple Cyser Recipe



THawk
03-31-2011, 04:01 AM
Just need a reality check whether what I'm planning is feasible. It's for a 1 gallon batch:

4 pints Motts Apple Juice (pasteurized)
1 quart Distilled Water (balance of 1 gallon)
3.5 lbs Clover Honey
Yeast Nutrient and Energizer

Yeast: Lalvin EC-1118

1-2 Cinnamon sticks
1 whole clove
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
2 apples

Should I even add the apples? I was hoping to do a 'liquid apple pie' mead for Christmas...

Hard to get cider without paying a fortune where I am. That's why I'm using juice instead. I'm also using the juice as a substitute for some of the water...

Medsen Fey
03-31-2011, 10:08 AM
This will have a very high starting gravity - probably 1.140-1.150 or more and is going to give you a high-ABV, rocket-fuel cyser that is going to take time to mellow and it is going to blow off a lot of the aromatics. If the fermentation temperature is high, it will be quite harsh.

If you ferment it cool, you'll be better off. I'd consider saving the apples and adding them in the secondary to boost the apple aroma once the yeast have settled down.

moonie
03-31-2011, 10:20 AM
I have a gallon and a half of Cyser aging right now. I used 1116 and had a starting gravity to give me around 12.5%, finished at 0.990 so I stabilized and backsweetened to 1.010. Looking forward to seeing how it is in another six months or so.

Personally I would go for lower alcohol and backsweeten as it will give you more control over FG and sweetness and with the lower alcohol it will should be fit to drink sooner.

I used only honey, apple juice (with no preservatives except vitamin C) spring water to adjust SG to where I wanted it and a large amount of Cinnamon sticks . 4 per gallon in primary, fresh 4 per gallon in secondary and 4 more fresh per gallon when I racked again once fermentation was complete and I stabilized and backsweetened.

THawk
03-31-2011, 10:53 AM
Lessons learned tonight:
a. I must not make mead while tired...
b. Not all gallon jars are alike...

Accidentally put 1 TABLEspoon of Fermax into 1 gallon of must. By the time I realized the error I had just dropped the stuff into the jar. Will that do anything untoward? Also I noticed that I seem to have loads of honey on the bottom of the jar. Is it normal for honey to not mix completely with apple juice??

How would I ferment this cool? I live in the tropics... hard to find a cool enough spot to let it ferment... maybe I can just cover it with a towel??

When I rack into the secondary, should I add the cinnamon and clove again?

Medsen Fey
03-31-2011, 11:07 AM
The overdose of Fermax probably won't be problem, but I certainly wouldn't add any more.

I keep stuff cool by using a spare fridge (with a temperature controller) . If you can't control the temperature, you may want to consider picking another yeast that handles temperature better if you are going to be brewing in the upper 70s F or higher.

mmclean
03-31-2011, 11:22 AM
How would I ferment this cool? I live in the tropics... hard to find a cool enough spot to let it ferment... maybe I can just cover it with a towel??



You can place your carboy in a pan of water, wrap it in a towel or a tee shirt and place it in front of a fan.

I would also suggest buying yeast with the highest temp range, until you set up a cool room or frig or whatever.

THawk
03-31-2011, 11:34 AM
Awesome... I'd really hate to have to throw the batch out... I didn't bother adding energizer -- should I still add it?

Doesn't seem like the honey and apple juice combined very well... I've already pitched the yeast, can I still stick a spoon into the must and stir? I guess I should have combined the water and honey first THEN added the apple juice... live and learn... :)

mmclean
03-31-2011, 12:13 PM
For the first 1/3 of the fermentation (until the 1/3 sugar break) you can and should add air into the must. Small carboys can be picked up and shaken. Larger carboys can be stirred. This is why some perfer to do primary in an wide mouth container( jar or bucket with a cloth over it), and secondary in a small mouth carboy with an air loick.

THawk
03-31-2011, 12:43 PM
Small carboys can be picked up and shaken.

Not this one... It's awfully heavy empty. I just stuck a spoon into it and stirred... It's a one gallon jar that I bought here in the Philippines... The other issue is that the top piece, that comes off, doesn't really form a good enough seal. It's got a spout for an airlock (or in my case, a balloon)... I think I'll use this vessel as a secondary ferment vessel -- since the top peels off that I can easily get fruit and stuff into it... :)

Medsen Fey
03-31-2011, 01:50 PM
I didn't bother adding energizer -- should I still add it?

Doesn't seem like the honey and apple juice combined very well... I've already pitched the yeast, can I still stick a spoon into the must and stir?

You can stir, but gently or you'll get a Mead Eruption Accident (MEA).

I wouldn't add any energizer. You've given it enough Fermax to do the job.

THawk
04-04-2011, 12:09 AM
When I rack to the secondary, would adding another dose of the spices help the flavor?

akueck
04-04-2011, 12:42 AM
Taste it. If you want more spice, add more. As far as "help the flavor", time is probably the single best thing you can add.

THawk
04-04-2011, 01:10 AM
Also, when I rack to secondary, I'm going to end up with a lot of head space. If I add a honey-water mixture, will fermentation restart (not that I'm planning it that way)...

akueck
04-04-2011, 01:47 AM
It might restart. It depends on a few variables, but diluting it and adding sugar will very often result in some renewed fermentation.

If you search for "topping up" you'll find that folks use marbles (aquarium grade only!), corks, whatever to reduce headspace.

THawk
04-04-2011, 02:13 AM
will the renewed fermentation result in added sweetness (I know ABV will likely go up)? Will it be as violent as the primary?

and how much headspace is acceptable in the secondary? Do I have to fill the jar to the brim (or at least up to where the stopper hits liquid)?

Don't know if I can get aquarium grade marbles here... you'll be amazed what people in the Philippines put in their fish tanks... :eek:

akueck
04-04-2011, 02:22 AM
If the added sugar doesn't ferment all the way out, then yes it will be sweeter. Otherwise you're just making more alcohol. Again, really hard to predict what will happen as all fermentations are different. You're more likely to get residual sugar if you put a lot of honey in than if you added just a little.

How much headspace? "Minimal" is the answer, but I don't know if there is a quantitative answer to that. Traditional meads tend to oxidize more slowly than fruit meads, for example, and some meads seem not to care at all if there are gallons and gallons of headspace.

If you restart fermentation the new CO2 produced should push a lot of oxygen out of the headspace, as long as it isn't a huge amount of air. Viable yeast will also pull oxygen out, so that goes in your favor too.

Chevette Girl
04-05-2011, 04:00 PM
And you probably don't want to fill your vessel right up to the stopper, if it gets warmer, it might push the liquid up through the stopper and into your airlock (or balloon, as the case may be).

Most carboys have a narrow neck and if you fill to where it's narrow that's about as good as it's going to get.

If you do add some honey or sugar water to top it up with, it will likely ferment again, which as Akueck says will create more CO2 to protect your mead, but I'd be very surprised if further fermentation was very vigorous, I never get more than little bubbles rising to the surface.

THawk
04-05-2011, 10:22 PM
And you probably don't want to fill your vessel right up to the stopper, if it gets warmer, it might push the liquid up through the stopper and into your airlock (or balloon, as the case may be).

Most carboys have a narrow neck and if you fill to where it's narrow that's about as good as it's going to get.

If you do add some honey or sugar water to top it up with, it will likely ferment again, which as Akueck says will create more CO2 to protect your mead, but I'd be very surprised if further fermentation was very vigorous, I never get more than little bubbles rising to the surface.

Awesome. That's what I needed to know. I think the gallon jar I bought here in the Philippines holds more than what the vendor said it would...

Primary ferment seems to have died down a bit -- it's still bubbling, but not as violent as before...

akueck
04-06-2011, 01:04 AM
And you probably don't want to fill your vessel right up to the stopper, if it gets warmer, it might push the liquid up through the stopper and into your airlock (or balloon, as the case may be).

I racked my chocolate mead to about 1.5" from the top of the carboy. It got 20 degrees warmer this weekend and guess what: mead in airlock. Thermal expansion is not my friend. :(

THawk
04-06-2011, 04:00 AM
That reminds me, what *do* you do when the must/mead ends up in the airlock? Can you just leave it there and clean it up when you rack?

Chevette Girl
04-06-2011, 10:05 PM
Generally if you've got mead or fruit in your airlock, the sooner you clean it out the better, because in a standard airlock it's going to be exposed to oxygen, bacteria and possibly fruit flies, and you don't want this backwashing into your mead. I once had a small colony of fruit flies breed in an airlock that I ignored for too long (dark corner, didn't notice it) and the little buggers hatched and crawled out on the wine side! (where they promptly died and were filtered out with a jet filter)... And if it does collect mold or bacteria, remember, any smells that it might make are also exposed to your mead.

And the sooner you clean it out of the airlock the less likely it is to require scrubbing to remove scungy bits sticking to the plastic (although keeping a fuzzy pipecleaner on hand is never a bad idea).

THawk
04-07-2011, 09:22 PM
How long does EC-1118 usually take to complete its primary fermentation? My balloon is still inflated (though it's a bit softer) and there are some bubbles on the surface of the must but it doesn't seem to be doing much of anything.

Does the amount of Fermax in the must have an effect on the speed? I accidentally overdosed (like THREE times the required amount) on this one. It's a one-gallon batch. This was mixed last Thursday night, so it's a few hours over a week old...

tweak'e
04-08-2011, 02:48 AM
ec-1118 is fairly quick. temp will make a differnce in speed. mine was finished in 5 days, transfered to carboy and let sit for a week to degass and settle. then racked.

not sure on the fermax, it depends a lot on what the required amount is. i doubt overdosing it will speed things up, but it could well change the taste.

THawk
04-08-2011, 03:32 AM
ec-1118 is fairly quick. temp will make a differnce in speed. mine was finished in 5 days, transfered to carboy and let sit for a week to degass and settle. then racked.

not sure on the fermax, it depends a lot on what the required amount is. i doubt overdosing it will speed things up, but it could well change the taste.

It's closer to the higher end of 1118's spectrum (15-30C)... it's closer to 30 than 15... Fermax instructions are 1 tsp/gallon... I was tired when I made it and didn't notice I put in a tablespoon until it was too late... :)

tweak'e
04-08-2011, 03:56 AM
sounds like its going to be a fairly hot brew, much like mine. it will need a long time to age. see what it tastes like in a few months time and go from there.

in the meantime try again :)

THawk
04-08-2011, 04:02 AM
sounds like its going to be a fairly hot brew, much like mine. it will need a long time to age. see what it tastes like in a few months time and go from there.

in the meantime try again :)

Temperature is my issue. Kinda hot here in the Philippines... :)

tweak'e
04-08-2011, 06:14 AM
much the same problem even in this cooler climite. need to rig something like an old fridge to get the temp down under 20c.

THawk
04-08-2011, 08:11 AM
much the same problem even in this cooler climite. need to rig something like an old fridge to get the temp down under 20c.

Interested in trying my jet fuel? I'll try some of yours... maybe we can solve the fuel crisis... ;)

tweak'e
04-09-2011, 12:49 AM
Interested in trying my jet fuel? I'll try some of yours... maybe we can solve the fuel crisis... ;)

actually using it as fuel is on the cards. later in the year i will be looking at trying to make mead badly ie make it produce as much methanol and other alcohols as it can. then it will be cleaned/distilled for use in engines.
mmm.......a mead powered car ;D

THawk
04-09-2011, 05:01 AM
Racked it today... also had a small taste when I transferred to the sample bottle that I'm taking to work on Monday... all I can say is that I'm not terribly worried about contamination -- my cyser will most likely kick the crap out of anything silly enough to get into it... I could feel the difference -- the bread yeast is a baby compared to this animal... WOW... I'll wave to you all as I orbit the earth... ;D

AToE
04-09-2011, 12:56 PM
actually using it as fuel is on the cards. later in the year i will be looking at trying to make mead badly ie make it produce as much methanol and other alcohols as it can. then it will be cleaned/distilled for use in engines.
mmm.......a mead powered car ;D

As much as I salute all alt power endevors, this is a really bad idea! You'd be better off fermenting corn sugar or something else that's dirt cheap, not expensive honey! Since you wouldn't be drinking it anyways there's really no point.

Plus is would be many times more expensive than gasoline anyways!

tweak'e
04-09-2011, 07:23 PM
As much as I salute all alt power endevors, this is a really bad idea! You'd be better off fermenting corn sugar or something else that's dirt cheap, not expensive honey! Since you wouldn't be drinking it anyways there's really no point.

Plus is would be many times more expensive than gasoline anyways!

the honey is free as its not for consumption (floor scrapings, spillages, machine washings etc). its surprising how much goes down the drain of a processing room.

AToE
04-09-2011, 08:01 PM
Ah, ok then, carry on!

THawk
04-11-2011, 12:01 AM
SG: 1.000 straight out of ferment

Added 12 oz Clover honey and about 1 liter water to top up. Took another sample.

SG: 1.020

Fermentation has restarted. Not as violently, but the balloon's got some air in it...

My boss actually tasted the stuff -- she found it delicious, though strong.