Saturday, January 16, 2010

bottle conditioning hard cider with raisins

At the same time I bottled the raspberry-pomegranate cider I added some priming corn sugar to the last bit of cider number 3 hoping that I'd get some carbonation. Even after several weeks the plastic liter bottle (laden with deadly bisphenol A, no doubt) had developed no pressure. I figured that whatever yeast it still contained after being racked twice and filtered once was either dead or fast asleep.

Thinking back to the kvas recipe I tossed in three raisins and put it in a dark cupboard to think about what it had done. I gave it a friendly squeeze after a couple of weeks, and sure enough the bottle was quite firm. Another week or two and it was rock hard so I opened 'er up.

Well, very very nice! The raisins made no undesirable flavor contribution as far as I could tell, and the moderate carbonation was an excellent enhancement.

As a further bonus the raisins provide live entertainment as they accumulate carbon dioxide, lazily climb to the surface, release their cargo, then drift back to the bottom.

I don't know if there's any particular reason to carbonate this way instead of using priming sugar and residual yeast when bottling, but it seems to be a handy trick for circumstances like this.

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