Dublin... Where the Beer Flows Like WineThe brewing pipeline is flowing nicely in our little Dubin apartment, mostly from my designated fermenting chamber and brewing supply storage area under the kitchen sink.
I like the rhythm of making large batches of beer supplemented with small batches of more experimental drinks like apple cider variations and my latest attempt at supermarket wine.
Last week it was time to get another batch of cider bubbling. My supply of IPA was still holding strong, but some bottling space had opened and was ready for new beverages. I had purchased some juice and a new kind of unprocessed sugar to try in a standard cider. With a few free hours, I set up the operation.
I set out everything I'd be needing for the batch, working on publishing a video game video at the same time. I'm busy on the weekdays, gimme a break! I had the bleach and vinegar sanitizing mix ready, Barry's Tea (we splurged for an Irish classic), the new Golden Granulated unrefined sugar, the same sultanas (golden raisins) that gave me so much trouble in the wine mix, yeast, yeast nutrient, and of course, the cheapest apple juice I can find.
To get that sultana-y goodness into the mix without creating a fermenting bomb, I put some water, sultanas, and the teabag in the saucepan. Once it boiled, I turned down the heat, took out the teabag, and cooked the sultanas until they were mushy and the mix was dark brown.
|Teabag and Sultanas Cooking|
Briefly, the teabag contributes natural tannins to the mix, simulating the tannins present in freshly pressed apple skins. Cider made with pressed apples has a pleasant tannic bite that this cider would be missing. I got the teabag idea from my friends at the Irish National Homebrew Club. The raisins contribute some additional fruit sugar, yeast nutrients, and some additional tannins to the final cider.
I strained out the raisins, added some more water, and put it back on the stove to add the sugar. 1.5 cups of sugar went in to dissolve slowly in the warm tea-raisin mix.
When the sugar was dissolved, I readied my (sanitized) fermenting bottle in the sink. I poured in one of the cartons of room temperature apple juice to protect the plastic from the hot mix on the stove. After the cold juice, in went the .75 liters of hot sugar/tea/raisin/yeast nutrient mix. I topped off the bottle with the other carton of juice and some cold water to bring it to my desired volume and temperature. The bottle was sealed off and aerated... that is, shaken like hell over the sink for as long as my arm strength held out. Aeration pumps oxygen into the liquid, helping the yeast through its early growth phase.
|Finished and Ready to Ferment|
...And down under the sink it will go. Here are the stats-
MethodBrew No. 042
3L Sun Grown Apple Juice
1.5 Cups Golden granulated unrefined sugar
1 handful sultanas
1 teabag Barry's black tea
1/3 packet dried cider yeast
-Boiled sultanas and teabag in water- removed teabag and simmered sultanas
-Strained liquid, returned to pan, added sugar and slowly heated until dissolved
-Added a pinch of yeast nutrient
-Poured first 1.5L carton, poured heated liquid, poured second 1.5L carton into fermenter
-Topped up with cold water to approx 4.5L
-Manually aerated (shook like hell) fermenter
If I made this only in large batches, I would only have the pleasure of mixing and experimenting once every other month. And by "the pleasure" I mean making a complete mess of the whole kitchen to get eight or nine pints of cider. Good thing I have such a good time making this mess in my life- and I have the luxury of time to clean it up.