Tuesday, November 10, 2009

hard raspberry-pomegranate-apple cider, part 1

Saw a gallon of flash pasteurized cider with no preservatives on sale (only one jug left, unfortunately) which reminded me that I hadn't made a hard cider in six months.

I wanted to try something different, but I hadn't exactly planned this. A bit of kitchen scavenging turned up a few raspberries, part of a pomegranate, and some honey. I still had additives and champagne yeast from last time. Sounded fine!

Some of these quantities are a little approximate:
  • 2/3 teaspoon yeast nutrient
  • 1/3 pomegranate
  • 3 oz red raspberries
  • 2 oz clover honey
  • 1/3 packet Red Star champagne yeast
  • 1 gallon Ryan's orchard blend flash pasteurized cider, unfiltered, no preservatives
Pureed the pomegranate and raspberries. Simmered for 10 minutes with honey and yeast nutrient. Tasted like basic raspberry jam with just a hint of the pomegranate. It darkened while cooking; perhaps if I'd used an acid blend it would have stayed bright. I don't think this quantity is going to make much difference in final color, but once all the apple particles have settled perhaps I'll be proven wrong.

Warmed the refrigerated cider in a hot water bath to just above room temperature, then poured cider and jam into the glass jug with splashing. Pitched dry yeast directly into the cider and jam mix and rocked it for a while. Very murky, as expected.

Is cooking the yeast nutrient a problem? I guessed not based on the fact that you boil wort.

At the November meeting of the North Seattle homebrew club I was told by Eric that it is best to add acid blend after primary fermentation is complete. Adding it prior to fermentation may create conditions that don't appeal to the yeast. He said that it should be added on the basis of sampling and tasting.

Primary fermentation was done within a week. It was explosively vigorous for the first hour; I should have just left it uncorked. I racked to a new jug, where more sediment settled quickly, but unlike the previous ciders it has not really clarified. Perhaps the pectic enzyme I used in those was really effective. I've read that it's best to add it before primary fermentation, but that it may still help if added later. I may or may not.

I sampled when racking. Nice! The raspberry is subtle. The pomegranate I would never identify in a blind tasting, but I think I can detect it. There is certainly a hint of pink, which I think might be more apparent after clarification. I don't think I need additional tartness.

2009-11-12 update: I sprinkled in about a teaspoon of pectic enzyme yesterday afternoon. Within a few hours I thought there was more sediment at the bottom, and after a day it's considerably clearer. I doubt that it will approach the clarity of the pure apple ciders but it's prettier.


Jane S Poole said...

Are we going to taste this at Thanksgiving?

Steve Poole said...

Sure! It's still going to be awfully young, but I think you may like it.

The other day I bottled a liter of one of my earlier ciders with some priming sugar to see whether I can get some sparkle. If it works then it should probably be ready by Thanksgiving. It's #3, the one I did with brown sugar, and it has become pretty tasty.