Projects and Thoughts

Aging Hard Cider on stuff

raw hard cider

After trying my cider early this fall It was far to astringent to drink. Perhaps it was just too young and needed further conditioning. So, rather than pour it out, I decided to let it age.As you may have read I embarked upon fermenting my first cider this past fall. As it completed fermentation I kegged had carbonated it. Perhaps it was still too green, but when I tried it, it was very acidic, and difficult to enjoy. So, rather than let it go to waste I decided to cold age it in the converted chest freezer. There it sat for 4 months. I recently decided I wanted to free up the keg and make room, so I moved it to 3 growlers I had sitting around. So much for being ‘undrinkable’ it was half gone. I also decided to add some flavoring and fruit to the ciders for it to age upon. Non crystalized ginger, dried cherries, and a cinnamon stick. I tried to be conservative, but in hindsight I am not sure how conservative a 1/4 cup per 1/2 gallon really is. Tonight I just tried the cinnamon and it’s not half bad. It does need to come off the stick, but I’m guessing that the aging has really improved and mellowed the cider, and the additives didn’t hurt either. I can’t wait to try the cherry and the ginger and see what flavors were imparted by them. In the coming weeks I’ll let you know how they are.

As for the making room part, I plan on brewing in the coming weeks, but I am still trying to nail down the house pale recipe. I’ve yet to really design it. My ‘plan’ is to start with a known good recipe (extract w/ specialty grain), try to make it to the best of my abilities, and go from there. How can one improve upon a recipe, unless you know how it’s supposed to taste. I can tell you it will be a west coast style pale, with a hoppy slant. I’m really hoping Mike McDole will share his session pale recipe soon, so I can use that. Although that would be an All grain to extract conversion.
With that said, I’ve got another dilemma, I just don’t drink the quantity of beer that warrants brewing 5 gallons. Unless I want to continue to give away large quantities of beer while I learn, I’m going to have to come up with a solution. One I’m strongly considering is brewing 3g or smaller batches. I should be able to turn those over fairly easily, especially if I get them nailed down. Brooklyn home brewing supply has a pretty cool looking recipe book, along with kits for 1g all grain batches.

Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book

I’m considering getting it, but 1g just seems so little beer to go through all the effort. They say it takes as much work to brew 1g as it does 5, 10, 20. I don’t think it’s that simple, but the finite time (boil, sit, ferment, etc) are pretty much the same.

Anyway sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve given up beer for lent which leaves me w/out having a whole lot to say about brewing or beer in general. I’ll return to the regularly scheduled program later this spring.

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