Tag Archives: Juicer

Malted cider or un-hopped apple ale?

Hi everyone,

So as I mentioned in my last few posts, I have a juicer, and I have a bit of extra malt.  So why not try throwing some malt into some apple juice and see what happens?

20130518_145533I went down to my local market and found a pretty good deal on organic juicing apples, i.e. apples that aren’t pretty enough to sell as eating apples.  I bought a hell of a lot – about 7 kilograms!

I had read in various places that you get about 1 litre of juice from 1-2 kilograms of apples, so I thought that this would be enough for about 4 or 5 litres of juice.  Unfortunately I was pretty wrong and only got about 2 litres.  I’ve since found out that this ratio works better for apple pressing, which is a much more efficient method of extracting juice.  Using a juicer like I have tends to lose a lot of juice to the pulp it creates.

I’m not going to go out and buy a juice press, but next time I may try squeezing out the pulp.  We’ll see.

Anyway, after cutting up a whole bunch of apples and juicing them, I wasn’t left with the amount of juice I thought I’d get.  So from there, things began to turn into an un-hopped apple beer rather than a malted cider.

I set my 2 litres of juice to boil and added a cup of golden light liquid malt extract.  The hot break was huge on this one; the pot was only about a third full, and it still nearly boiled over!  Once that was under control, I let it boil for 15 minutes while I did some cleaning.

After the boil, I let the bottle sit in a sink full of ice water for 10 minutes, emptied the sink, and then filled it up again for another 10 minute bath.

Once this wort was in the carboy, I topped it up with about 2 litres of water – so this batch is going to be 4 litres in total.

Two litres juice, one cup malt, two litres water

Two litres juice, one cup malt, two litres water

The yeast i used was an SN9 wine yeast.  It’s what I had on hand, but, considering there’s malt in there, I probably should have gone and used an ale yeast. That’s something to experiment with later.

The wort was tasty.  It wasn’t overwhelmingly apple-y or beer-y, but had good hints of each.  So I’m confident I’ll get something interesting out this.

The OSG was 1.028, which is a little lower than I would have liked.  As a lot of that sugar is fructose, I should be able to get a final gravity pretty close to 1, so that’s promising.  Alcohol content should be around 4% after bottling.

I’d like to see if I can push the alcohol content a bit higher, so I might add some dextrose next time.  Of course the other option is adding more malt or juice, but, assuming the mixture of flavours is good, I don’t want to upset this balance.  Dextrose won’t alter the flavour.

Assuming this turns out tasty, I’ll also look at hopping it, which will make it a proper beer.

So we’ll give this a week and see what happens!


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So I bought a juicer…

So I bought a juicer by mistake.

As you may be aware, juicers make juice.  If one pours this juice into a container, pitches some yeast, and then seals it with an airlock, one has a lovely cider.  This is why I bought a juicer. According to the instructions, I also have the option of drinking the juice before I ferment it, but I don’t see a reason why I would do such a thing…

My new juicer!

My new juicer!

So this thing is hardly top of the line, but it will get the job done.  I’ve opted for the model that can fit a whole apple down the chute, just in case I want to do that.  I’ve done some research on juicing – maybe if I really get into this whole cider thing I’ll discuss juicing methods at length.

I’ve looked into cider making and the process is pretty simple:

  1. Get/make juice.  If you’re using store-bought juice, be sure there are no preservatives. Preservatives will mess with the final taste and may kill your yeast.
  2. Set juice on a low boil for about 15 minutes.
  3. Cover pot and cool the juice as quickly as possible.  This can be done by placing the pot in a sink full of cold water/ice.  Change the water out after 10 minutes.  Ultimately you want the temperature to be below 30 degrees C (slightly warmish).
  4. Put juice in carboy or fermenter.
  5. Pitch yeast.
  6. Place lid and airlock.
  7. Magical process!
  8. Bottle as per beer.
  9. Magical process!
  10. Cider!

The whole purpose of this cider endeavor is to just play around with different fruits and see what happens, so I’ll keep you updated.  I’ve already got a small batch of apple and rhubarb going in my new 5 litre carboy.  I’m not going to do a full report on this one though as it was all really haphazard. If it turns out remotely OK, I’ll do a proper batch of it and give the full recipe.

I have already learned a few things:

  • Apple or pear is probably your best base.  Start with this for the bulk of your cider and add other things to taste.  Just be careful of too much citrus, the acid may kill your yeast.
  • Your local brew shop will have good quality apple or pear juice in concentrate if you want it.
  • Similar to glucose, fructose, which is the main sugar in fruits, will ferment completely. If a sugar ferments completely, it won’t leave any sweetness or taste – it will all turn to alcohol.
  • Fructose will break down into other non fermentable sugars if you cut the apples up and leave them to sit for about 24 hours.  So if you want a dry cider, juice the apples immediately, if you want a sweet cider, cut them and let them sit.
  • Just the pure juice gives a pretty good OSG (I got about 1.045).  Feel free to add some glucose if you need some extra kick though, it shouldn’t alter the taste since it will ferment completely.
  • Use a good wine yeast.  Your brew store should be able to recommend something.  Just remember, don’t use a beer yeast.

I want to do some brewing this weekend.  If Mikey is available, we may do a lager similar to the big batch we did a few weeks ago, but tweaking the recipe slightly.  Alternatively, if I’m able to get enough apples, I might have a play.

Then again, I haven’t discussed the prospect of Random Cider with Mikey – he may love or hate this idea, but if he loves it, we may end up making cider together.

Regardless, I’m going to start experimenting with Random Cider as time goes by.


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