Today I am doing a follow up to Episode-1684- Making Dead Simple Ciders, Meads and Fruit Wines because I have been blown away by how many went out and gave it a shot. I have also gotten a lot of questions about it. I put out requests for questions on that episode and efforts so far and got a huge response, today I will attempt to answer most of those questions.
I do want to lead off with something to put everything here into context though. These quick simple small batches, especially the dump and pitch ciders are more like cooking a steak on the grill on a Wednesday night than say, making a fabulous full length roasted tenderloin, topped with onion and pepper oil along with an accompaniment fit for a Mongolian warlord! I’ll have to tell you guys how to do that some day.
The point is in one of those models you are just feeding yourself a damn good meal, you paid a fair price for a decent cut of meat, you grill it, done and you enjoy it that way. In the other you just dropped 200 bucks on one of the finest cuts of meat known to man. You are going to spend a lot more time and effort to make sure your meal comes out in a beyond blow your mind way.
These are simple quick ciders and wines, they serve two purposes…
- One – Daily drinkers, something to kick back on the porch with, enjoy the evening, or drink with buddies in the garage watching a game. Just like making burgers or steaks on the grill.
- Two – as ways to tweak a recipe, select a yeast, etc. before making a larger batch. Or to find an awesome recipe for yes, that very high end product. They key is with the same volume of ingredients that I could make a 5 gallon full run with I can make 5 test batches, in the very bottles they come in.
What this means is that making ciders and meads like this can either lead to full on bad ass to the bone home vinting, mead and cider making. Or a path to really easy and fast daily drinkers, either bottled or kegged. Or just be a fun way to make and enjoy a few batches a year. It is all up to you. Just understand that is the angle my answers come from today.
I have been brewing beers, ciders, fruit wines, meads and blends there of since 1994, so that is 21 years. I have even produced a few award winning beers in my time.
I rank my experience as a brewer at a 8 of 10, mainly only because I have never done full mash. Cider I would rank as a 8 as well, mainly because I have never worked up to proper blending or real cider apples, something very hard to even get today. I would also give myself an 8 as a mead maker, only because I have seen what a 10 is and that isn’t it.
The point of all this isn’t I am awesome, it is more that this level of making ciders, wines and meads doesn’t qualify to me anyway for some of the higher levels of concern as producing the very best you are capable does. Again think of it as grilling steaks or good burgers or say chicken, vs. cooking a full on gourmet blow you away meal for a dinner party.
Final note on real wines, as in made from pressed grapes that are grown for the purpose of making wine, I would rate myself perhaps a 4! I know what to do, but it doesn’t interest me so I don’t do it, never have done it, have no real plans to do it. Hence all the little tricks and adjustments you learn by actually doing this stuff, I have no experience with in the “proper” world of wine.
Join Me Today As I Answer Questions Like…
- Can you use frozen juice concentrate for cider
- What sugar to use for carbonation
- Can you use bread yeast, if so what happens
- What if fermentation never begins
- What effect does cold crashing have on bottle carboniation
- What about methanol – DON’T even worry about it
- How long is too long in a primary fermenter
- What is involved with racking off or fruit
- Is there such a thing as medicinal ciders and meads
- Flavoring ciders etc with extracts at bottling/kegging time
- Making a ginger beer or ginger cider
- Why is my fermentation bubbly but not foamy
- The good apple debate about fresh pressed juice and why it is over hyped
- Making wine from store bought grape juice
- What about store bought honey
- Why I hate back sweetening but why you should not care
- What is the difference between beer, wine, cider and mead
- Can you make an alcohol free mead
- How do you know when a fermentation is done
- Why some recipes call for raisins and what they do
- What is the difference between priming sugar and table sugar
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of staged fermentation
- What are some of my favorite yeasts for dry higher gravity cider
- How big should a balloon get during fermentation
- Where to get products like racking canes and yeast
- Why are my bottles not carbonating
Resources for today’s show…
- Join the Members Brigade
- The Year 1694
- Join Our Forum
- Walking To Freedom
- TSP Gear
- JM Bullion – (sponsor of the day)
- Harvest Eating – (sponsor of the day)
- Gold Info Graphic I Mentioned
- Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead
- Results of Juice, Yeast and Sugar Experiments
- Alcohol By Brad Paisley
- Full Sized Racking Cane for Large Batches
- Mini Racking Cane – Very Nice for One Gallon Batches
- Bottling Wand – Don’t skimp out on one of these, buy two – two is one – one is none
- Number Two Drilled Stopper Pre Drilled – You can use these to start yeast in a beer bottle, or drill a hole in a cap of a bottle of apple juice and shove it in and afix an airlock to make it into a fermenter. You can’t find these on Amazon.
- Number 6.5 Rubber Stopper – These fit standard glass one gallon jugs
- Twin Bubble Airlock – Looks cool but can be a bit noisy
- Three Piece Airlock – Less Fun to Watch but Quiet
- Big Mouth Bubbler – What I now use for full sized batches
- 5 and 6.5 Gallon Carboys – Buy online only if you have to shipping is a killer.
Bob Wells Plant of the Week – L.S.U. PURPLE FIG – The LSU Purple fig is adaptable from zone 7 to zone 9. It is very reliable, prolific producer of early to late delicious figs.
One of the best figs to come along for some time. Very acclimated to the fluctuating weather of the South. Very sweet, does not require a pollinator and best to pick a few days after the fruit turns purple.
Bob Wells Nursery specializes in edible landscape plants and trees including: Fruit Trees, Berry Plants, Vine Fruit, Nut Trees, as well as the hard to find Specialty Trees. Find this plant and more at BobWellsNursery.com
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