View Full Version : Lost my cyser recipe; going to try and recreate it from memory...need help

04-25-2014, 12:23 AM
This is my 2nd post on these forums, so I find it hard not to give a little bit of an introduction first.

Hi, guys. I started homebrewing when I was about 24, so it's been 20 years since then. I have since dropped out of the beermaking hobby since I found out I was diabetic and the meds I take preclude me from enjoying the quantity of good homebrew beer that I like to enjoy. One of the things that I have stuck to making is a homemade cyser that my wife constantly begs me to make. Well, about 10 years ago, we moved into a house that just isn't set up very well for my mead making hobby, but I have improvised. About 4 years ago, I stopped altogether because too much was going on with work, kids, and everything else that real life likes to throw in front of you just when you get your legs under you from the last ordeal.

I have lost my notebook that I kept all my recipes in: good and bad; triumphs and catastrophes. I found a brew logbook that I managed to keep from 1997, handwritten, and I still get a wistful smile when I read the entries about my batch of beer that exploded a carboy in the back bedroom while I was at work, and the realtor was at our house going over the process of putting our house on the market to sell. Needless to say, she was quite upset by the shotgun blast of a fully-loaded carboy going off at 12:30pm unexpectedly and rattling all the windows in the house. It was an epic mess and I had to come home from work to clean it up.

But, I'm trying to recreate that cyser recipe from memory, and I finally found the entry for a recipe in Homebrew Favorites that I marked as being the inspiration for my cyser recipe..

It reads:

5 gal preservative-free apple cider
11 pounds clover honey
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp dried orange peel
6 whole cloves
Red Star Champagne yeast
3/4 cup corn sugar, for priming

From memory, I want to say it went more like this:

5 gal preservative free apple cider
8 pounds orange blossom honey
7 cups of corn sugar
5 cinnamon sticks, cracked into small pieces
4 cloves, ground up in mortar and pestle
2 lemons, sliced into quarters, juiced, then tossed into boil
yeast energizer
acid blend
2 packages Red Star Champagne yeast
3/4 cup corn sugar for priming

I was intentionally trying to "overload" the yeast so that there would be a noticeable residual sweetness, but from what I've read since then, I don't think that's the best way to go about doing this, as one never knows exactly where a particular strain of yeast will stop the fermentation process, exactly, and how much sugar will be leftover. PLUS, I don't remember the quantities I used for the acid blend or the yeast energizer.

So, what I was wondering, is there a better way for me to try and hit a high alcohol content (about 17%) and maybe leave out the corn sugar and just use honey instead. Or, should I leave the corn sugar in the batch because it does make a nice acidic burn taste for the final product to balance the sweetness.

I'm open to all suggestions. I'm particularly interested in knowing how to figure out what amount of honey I would need to get the final results I mentioned above. A high-alcohol product, with a mild acidic finish. It's been so long since I've made a batch, that I almost feel like I'm starting over from scratch. Thanks for any help in advance. A local brewery/meadery is months and months away from getting any actual mead, so I'm dieing to try some again. It's easier for me to limit my intake of cyser than it is beer, in case anyone is wondering about my comments above about being diabetic. And my doctor says one glass of wine is beneficial...no one has to tell him it's homemade and a lot more potent than commercially available wine. ;)

04-25-2014, 05:27 AM
Drop the sugar and just use honey, also where are you at, if you are anywhere near an orchard you might be able to find some better cider to start with than grocery store juice, being diabetic you could just make it dry, the honey will add some nice body, and sweeten in the glass with your favorite nocal sweetner instead of putting the sweetner in the batch. You could also find some crabapples near you and add some of them to add tannins and some acid. Not sure I ever heard sugar lending to an acidic finish, are you refering to the carbonation being acidic? WVMJ

04-25-2014, 07:45 AM
I'm with Jack on skipping the corn sugar. The only sugar I put in cysers is brown sugar, but that is for flavor, not fermentables.

I also would add the lemons and acid blend post ferment to avoid pH related stalling issues. Addition of potassium carbonate can also help buffer the ferment.

As far as hitting 17%, step feeding is the way to go. Start with 12 lbs (1 gallon) honey in 5 gallons total volume and let it go dry. Then add a pound and let it go dry again. Repeat until the yeast give up. This also gives you control of your FG. Priming for carbonation is out of the question. You would have to force carb.

For nutrients, just follow the standard SNAs that everyone uses. Not hard to find here.

I would suggest EC1118 over red star yeast. I think it's a bit cleaner, but that is personal preference.

You can also try a Cyser BOMM while your waiting on this one. That recipe is excellent and ready in a few months.

Cheers !

Better brewing through science!

04-25-2014, 02:06 PM
Not sure I ever heard sugar lending to an acidic finish, are you refering to the carbonation being acidic? WVMJ
Might have been a poor choice of words. I remember similar or same recipes, with the only difference being a bit of corn sugar added for kick or as a "booster", the taste would be noticeably different: hotter, drier, etc. It's been so long, I don't remember some of the technical terms.

Thanks for the info and the suggestions. If I remember correctly, I rarely made anything that I couldn't drink. It's just the dread of "messing up" after such a long hiatus... I don't know, it's just daunting a little.

04-27-2014, 12:42 AM
Anyone know right off hand how much honey I would substitute for the same amount of fermentable sugar as what's in the straight glucose (corn sugar)? Is there some rule of thumb for that? I'm sure honeys can vary from one batch to another, and of course across varietals, but a close approximation would be helpful.

What's a BOMM, btw? I have yet to come across what it stands for. It was several days before I saw the explanation for a JAOM. I've got to try that recipe; preferably at the same time I'm doing my cyser. I hope to get a trip to the local homebrew supply shoppe within the week. They have 1 gal glass carboys and I can start making several experimental batches while my 5 & 6.5 gals run. I can't wait...it's been far too long.

I'm even tempted to try crafting a low-cal, low-body, low-alcohol beer, just so I can hop the hell out of it and fool myself into thinking I'm getting something good. I'm sure that won't last long; I wish I could find my logbook and recipe notes from a decade ago. I hate to think I have to start all over with some of the ones I "perfected" over the years. But, that's half the fun, right? 8)

04-27-2014, 02:44 AM
What's a BOMM, btw? I have yet to come across what it stands for.

Take a look at loveofrose's post in THIS (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/23054-Getting-ready-for-my-first-attempt-what-to-do-What-not-to-do-Which-recipe?p=229288#post229288) thread for Bray's One Month Mead. You can find many other posts regarding it if you search this forum. It was the result of loveofrose's experimentation with beer yeasts to develop a good recipe for mead that is ready to drink sooner.

04-30-2014, 01:31 PM
Good news! I found my notebook. I spent the better part of an hour digging through my supplies outside, and I was trying to have a "moment" in the garage, digging through everything, sorting it, cataloging it, but my wife kept butting in and trying to "help". I love her tremendously, but I was trying to enjoy the sights and sounds and familiar residual smells of some of the equipment.... ahh, non-brewers wouldn't understand at all. She just wanted to get it done and organized and put back up.

Then, I had a remembrance that I had boxed up some of the more sensitive equipment to keep inside where it was safer to store stuff for long-term. I even found a box of old (and I do mean old) specialty malt grains, some DME that had since turned rock-hard, as well as some little bags of acid blend, yeast energizer, etc. No hops though. I would have loved to get a whiff of that for old time's sake.

Man, that brought back some memories reading through my brewing diary. My wife kept wondering what I was giggling about, and when I read some entries like: "Supposed to be watching a movie, it's 'movie night', and still in the kitchen trying to get everything cleaned up.. didn't see much of the movie." Or, "She came home from grocery shopping and Zach and I were in the kitchen up to our elbows in a boiled-over porter on the stove, trying to get cleaned up. Smelled fine to us, but a 'Good God, what is that smell?!?!' was followed by her heading back out to the movies.." Hehe, again: non-brewers just don't understand. It's part of the process; part of the knocks we take to get what we want, dammit.

I'm excited...can anyone tell?...to get mazering (is that the correct term?). I have plans to whip up a stray beer or three in between batches, but mead really has me intrigued now, and besides my tried-and-true cysers, this will be new territory for me. I can't wait. Good or bad, it's going to be fun...has to be.

Almost forgot, some pics:
Brewing supplies, gathered together (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3iFjsUUdaVZWll3ZjFUdmYtSWM/edit?usp=sharing)
Expired grains, DME (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3iFjsUUdaVZaTY4cFAtcU12MHM/edit?usp=sharing)
Brewing supplies, long view (https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3iFjsUUdaVZdzdyOG53aEtKT0E/edit?usp=sharing) (excuse the mess. And the gasoline is NOT for brewing!! :P