Homebrews #31/32: (Caramel) Hard Cider

8 Nov

Unlike last year’s cidering from whole apples, this year I picked up six gallons of fresh-pressed cider (unpasteurized, of course) at a store in Philo. Split into two batches in sanitized bottles– one allowed to ferment with whatever wild yeast and bacteria were on the apples (what causes jugs of unpasterized cider to swell up if let sit), and the other dosed with crushed campden tablets for 48 hours to stun the wild yeast before adding Wyeast 4766.

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Tasting them after a week– the cider with Wyeast had gone pleasantly mildly dry with an apple flavor, while the wild-fermenting cider was going very tart.

I let the wild cider ferment fully dry, without sugar or bottling, yielding a still, sour cider that was a bit intense (“leathery”?) to drink on its own… but which James made into a good cocktail with lemon and fresh ginger.

But the other cider– this is what I had planned for a Halloween party– “caramel apple cider”. First, to make a cup of caramel:

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Then to keg the cider and keep it chilled under pressurized CO2 until the party (leaving it at room temperature would have let the yeast ferment the caramel and turn it back to a dry cider).

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Success– while a bit sweeter than the dry style I like, the aftertaste was definitely caramel, and it was easy-drinking at 4.5% ABV. Along with the tart cider, good accompaniments to a lunch of salami, cheese, bread, and olives:

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