Friday, October 08, 2010

Cyser (Apple mead ☠ ☺).....

So, last weekend, my partner came home with a bucket full of apples. She'd spotted some (there's quite a few around here) the day before, but on inspection, found that the ones she'd seen had been messed up/crushed/etc by the local kids. So she'd been to one of the other more accessible tree's and got these ☄ .

Some of them went into a couple of apple crumbles, which are awaiting my attention in the freezer, the rest, well after a little consideration, I decided that it might be best if I had a go at a "Cyser" which is a mead made with apple juice.

It took me an hour or so, to pick through them, rinse them off thoroughly and then chop them up a bit and put them through the food processor (a task that I don't really like as last time I used it to do something like this, I nearly burned out the bloody motor on it).

So after they were all trimmed to remove as much as possible of the bruised parts and any that had been munched by bugs, I ended up with about 6 or 7 litres of apple pulp. To this (as it looked a bit on the dry side) I decided to add a litre and a half carton of apple juice so to make it easier to mix in some sulphite (campden tablets, crushed) and some Pectolase (pectic enzyme).

This was then left until wednesday evening. I decided that I needed to do something with it. As I didn't have sufficient of any other type, I took 3lb of the Polish Buckwheat honey and mixed that in, along with about a litre of elderberry juice (the sulphite had "bleached" any minor oxidation/browning from the apple pulp on sunday evening, but I thought it might be nice if there was a colour other than "appley/cider" brown - in any event, it would add some tannin and other non-honey and apple flavour).

Through choice I would have added K1V-1116 yeast, as it has the "killer" property and would have easily become the dominant yeast (and yes, I'd taken as much precautions of sanitising all the kit as I practicably could). So when I found that I've run out of that at the moment, I decided to use D21 (got plenty of that at the moment..... thankyou Keith, you're a star). That was rehydrated in water, but as I was getting tired, I'd forgotten to use any GoFerm when rehydrating the yeast. So when the yeast had had 15 or 20 minutes at less than the 40 degrees C the packets mention I chucked it in - along with about a half teaspoon of GoFerm and gave it a good stirring to.

Thursday morning, I come down to breakfast only to find that I was glad I'd left the bucket in the sink as it had foamed like hell, blocking the airlock and actually forcing the lid off the bucket......

So after a bit of a mad panic to clean up the mess and some "emergency sanitising", I then gave it a damn good stir/aeration and then syphoned the must, pulp and all, into a 12/13 litre water bottle and then airlocked it, finally leaving it in a sink full of cold water in the hope that the cold water would reduce the temperature of the must/ferment enough to stop it foaming and popping the bung/airlock a second time (Oh and during all the mess - I found no signs of any fruit/fermentation flies, so I presumed that I was safe).

On getting back from work on thursday evening, I found that my attempt had worked, and that the pulp was starting to separate nicely. So I just gave it all a good swirl.

This evening, I got home and it looked basically like this........

Now the only difference between that picture and how it looked is that I took this picture after I'd managed to get enough liquid from below the crust of separating pulp to measure the gravity (it was 1085) and then gave it a damned good stir/aeration and then weighed out 5 grammes of FermaidK and 2.5 grammes of DAP, both of which were added to the 100 mls that was used to check the gravity and mixed in thoroughly before being added to the main body of the must - which was then given a further good stirring and aeration.

So far, the only thing I haven't managed to do, was to check the gravity after the honey and elderberry juice was added to the apple pulp - I did manage to get a measurement from the apple pulp/juice, that was 1050, but I have no way of really knowing what the gravity was before I pitched the yeast - I should have let it stand to separate the pulp enough to measure it..... I didn't.

I'm gonna post a question over at Gotmead, as I understand that there is a way of getting an approximation, from the ingredients alone, but I won't know until I've posted the question.......

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