The last cider was a hit at Christmas. Semi-sweet and delicious. This go around, I let me wife decide which cider kit we would make. She made the wonderful choice of Mixed Berry. She had a fun time mixing all the ingredients, and I love having such a pretty brewery assistant.
I didn't cover process in my last post, though I did post a video, so I'll briefly give you a run down.
Step by Step:
- Heated 1.5 gallons of water to around 150 deg. Poured into sanitized fermenting bucket.
- Cut off top of ingredients bag, removing flavoring, sweetener, and yeast packets from pouch.
- Emptied cider concentrate into bucket and stirred well.
- Added 2 lbs of corn sugar (dextrose) and sweetener packet, stirring well to incorporate all ingredients.
- Topped off to 5 gallons with cold 45 deg tap water. Stirred. Temp rested at 82 deg, still too high for yeast.
- Put on sanitized bucket lid and airlock, and left outside on balcony for 1 hour to bring temp down to 73 deg. (February in Minnesota has evening temps in the high 20's)
- Pitched packet of dry yeast.
Couldn't be more simple. Moved fermenting bucket into Cool Brewing Fermentation Bag with two 16 oz frozen water bottles, and left in the "fermentation corner" of my apartment for the yeast to do it's thing. Temp in the bag by morning was a consistent 68 deg. We live on the 3rd floor of our building, and ambient temps in the apartment even in winter can fluctuate from low 60's to high 70's, so the bag is necessary. The water bottles will be swapped out twice a day, which gives me reason to check out the airlock activity and temp. Last time I made a cider, there weren't too many bubbles coming through the airlock even though it was totally fermented out in 7 days. Though not in the recipe instructions, I added 1/2 tsp of Wyeast yeast nutrient as an extra precaution. I don't know how long those kits sit on the shelves at room temp, and the yeast packets aren't refrigerated inside the cider concentrate packages. Didn't rehydrate or make a starter, cause the last one didn't need it and the directions didn't mention it. I figure when in doubt, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Fermentation Update: 03/10/16
Airlock activity had stopped completely. Took a gravity reading, got down to 1.007. Smelled amazing. Tasted the sample and really liked it. Not too dry, a bit of sweetness. The Mrs is going to go crazy over this thing. Has a nice hazy a slight raspberry color. Cold crashed it in the keezer.
Cold Crash Update: 03/16/16
Been pretty exhausted this week, so let it cold crash for longer than I'd planned. Don't really see anything wrong with that. Smells very cider like now, even more so than last week. Added the packet of mixed berry flavoring and gelatin. Two more days in the keezer, then I'll keg it.