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Thread: Spiced Apple Cyser

  1. #1

    Default Spiced Apple Cyser

    Hello,

    Been making wine for around 4 years and wanted to try making mead.

    I recently made two test batches of mead one with 12 lbs of honey and the other with 18 lbs. Both were fermented with Wyeast 4632 dry mead yeast. So far, I prefer the 18 lbs version; dry with just a hint of sweetness.

    Now I want to try a spiced apple cyser; something with brown sugar and cinnamon and maybe some more spices. I have looked at dozens of recipes, but want to get some advice on the amounts of ingredients to use for a 6 gal batch.

    Here's what I have to work with:
    pasteurized, unfiltered cider
    local wildflower honey
    light brown sugar
    Indonesian cinnamon sticks
    bentonite
    Irish moss
    one smackpack Wyeast 4632 dry mead yeast
    and possibly include
    Madagascar vanilla beans
    whole cloves
    whole allspice
    french and/or american oak

    I also have tannin, pectic enzyme, acid blend and yeast nutrient and energizer.

    Any suggestions on the amounts of these ingredients to use and which extras to use?

    Any other tips are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by OldSalt; 12-17-2012 at 04:54 PM. Reason: added tannin, pectic enzyme, acid blend and yeast nutrient and energizer

  2. #2

    Default

    I recently made a spiced cyser.
    For spices I used one stick of cinnamon and one clover per gallon, in both primary and secondary, for about 4 weeks total. Flavour from them wasn't as strong as I'd hoped, so I'd advise 2 of each per gallon, although with the allspice in there you might be alright.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,369

    Default

    Welcome to the forum, I see you're already familiar with the addiction (I got my start with winemaking too).

    Most meads are better with a hint of sweetness unless they've had some time to age, so give that dry batch some more time before you pass judgement, 6 months to a year is when it will start coming into its own. Even the folks who like dry meads often claim it tastes like ass when it's young.

    Spicing levels can be pretty individual, you sort of have to balance your preferences with the age and potency of your spices... I find one cinnamon stick per gallon (with a long residence time, as in a JAO or similar) to be pleasantly perceptible but not overpowering, whereas some folks find that's not enough or too much, they don't leave it in as long, only use half, or find they need two. And cloves, I use two new ones or 5 old ones in a JAO (try it, it's AWESOME if you like it sweet and want to drink it within the first year!), I haven't found the tongue-numbing effect from over-cloving a batch yet like others have reported with JAO. I like vanilla in my meads but I find there's something unpleasant about it in the first year or so. I usually go with one or two beans per gallon but that'll depend on whether I want it to be a dominant or supporting flavour. I chuck allspice into a lot of my spiced musts but I'm never really able to pinpoint what it contributes and I'm still playing with amounts, I've gone as low as six and as high as twenty berries per gallon, either run through my coffe grinder, cracked, or even left whole (doesn't seem to matter as long as you leave it in for a month or two, you'll get all the tasty goodness out of it eventually).

    I'd start conservative, one vanilla bean, one cinnamon stick and no more than two cloves per gallon, you can always add more of one or more of your chosen spices later.

    The folks on this forum don't usually bother with the bentonite beforehand, and you can safely use the irosh moss out, that's generally a beer thing and requires heating, which we don't generally do to our honey... generally we only clarifiers and fining agents if they're required by a must that refuses to clear once it's done its thing.

    With brown sugar and honey, I usually pick one or the other, although some folks have had some good results using both. You'll probably be able to find a few brewlogs if you do a forum search on "brown sugar" (use the quotations or just sugar will give you way too many hits). What I like doing is fermenting on the fruit with one sugar source then doing a second run with another, I've had some really nice batches that way.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    4,958

    Default

    Check out the ABC recipes (apple butter cyser). That might give you some good ideas.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  5. #5

    Default Sorbate in the Cider

    Thanks for the tips. I decided to simply put the cider, honey and yeast in the primary, add the spices to the secondary and then backsweeten with brown sugar while bulk aging.

    Ugh! I just noticed the cider has potassium sorbate!

    Did a bit of research and found you can remove most of the sorbate by first fermenting with bread yeast:
    http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/wineblog9.asp (see Removing Benzoic Acid).

    Does anyone have any experience with this? Is there another method for removing sorbate?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    8,369

    Default

    That's a new one, using bread yeast under low pH conditions to absorb it and then removing the bread yeast... Good on you for doing the research, although I just finished reading it and Jack did this with naturally-occurring benzoic acid, which is NOT the same as potassium sorbate, which is what you stated that you have in your cider, and may well have different properties, although I don't know enough about its makeup to say either way... we've all just assumed that potassium sorbate can not be removed.

    The good news is that sorbated must can sort of be worked around... it doesn't prevent the yeast from doing their job, it just won't let them breed. We've had a case here where someone did mostly successfully get a sorbated cider to ferment by repitching several times with large vigorous starters, just use canned apple juice in your starter instead of the sorbated cider so that your yeasties go forth and multiply before you expose them to the sorbated must.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    That's a new one, using bread yeast under low pH conditions to absorb it and then removing the bread yeast... Good on you for doing the research, although I just finished reading it and Jack did this with naturally-occurring benzoic acid, which is NOT the same as potassium sorbate, which is what you stated that you have in your cider, and may well have different properties, although I don't know enough about its makeup to say either way... we've all just assumed that potassium sorbate can not be removed.

    The good news is that sorbated must can sort of be worked around... it doesn't prevent the yeast from doing their job, it just won't let them breed. We've had a case here where someone did mostly successfully get a sorbated cider to ferment by repitching several times with large vigorous starters, just use canned apple juice in your starter instead of the sorbated cider so that your yeasties go forth and multiply before you expose them to the sorbated must.
    Yes, Jack does mention that sorbate is different from benzoic acid, but that they both affect yeast reproduction the same and the countermeasures would be the same as well.

    I will do as you suggested with multiple yeast pitchings. Like you said, sorbate doesn't affect fermentation, just yeast reproduction. I've got a packet of Wyeast 4632 dry mead yeast to start and will look around for some additional yeast for starters ... maybe D21 or Red Star Pasteur champagne yeast.

    Will start a blog on the progress soon.

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldSalt View Post
    Yes, Jack does mention that sorbate is different from benzoic acid, but that they both affect yeast reproduction the same and the countermeasures would be the same as well.
    That would be an interesting experiment to try sometime, but I've done enough organic chemistry and biology to know that just because something affects things the same way doesn't mean you can make a valid assumption that the mechanism will be identical... just the difference in the molecular shape of the acid could affect how it goes through the cell membrane into the yeast, and I didn't see Jack mention that the treatment was the same, just that sorbate has mostly replaced benzoate for commercial use as a preservative.

    The other problem with his treatment is it involves bringing the pH down to a level that would probably not work at all well with mead, given honey's natural acidity, and yes you can use something to bring it back up but it'll still show up in the taste if too many chemicals end up being added... Still, an interesting idea.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

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