Cider testing project batch #1

As I watched my first batch of cider for the year bubble away I realized that I would have issues repeating any delicious cider.  Most of this is due to the fact I have to use whatever random varieties of apples that I find that are ripe.  The flavors of the different varieties mixed together make for delicious drinking.  Just not a consistent flavor.  So to do some experimenting I am getting multiple bottles of a local organic cider that has no preservatives in it.  This will make for more consistency as I try different amounts of sugar, or honey, or brown sugar,  and experiment with different yeasts. And the nice thing is that the cider I am getting is in 1 gallon glass bottles so all I have to do is add the yeast and an air lock.

gallon of cider to ferment
gallon of cider to ferment

This first batch will be a simple batch with no added sugars or clarifiers

Hard cider ingredients:

  • apple mix: organic unfiltered Cider.  (my first time use of pasteurized cider)
  • yeast: Champagne

Measurements:

  • Original Gravity (OG): 1.058
  • Final Gravity (FG): pending
  • estimated alcohol amount at FG of 1.0=8.0%

This is the sweetest cider I have seen with no added sugar.  Normally I have to add a lot of sugar to get to that high of reading.

I labeled the bottle with a sharpie so I don't get them mixed up as I start up more batches
I labeled the bottle with a sharpie so I don’t get them mixed up as I start-up more batches

I realized as I added the picture that I forgot a zero on the reading……It will still be good.  The cider is sweet but has a great flavor.  I think I will like this better than the batches that I made last year.  Sour apples make for a very sour cider.  Which is good for those that like sour apple vodka.  I prefer a nice dry smooth cider though.

Jalapeno Wine

That is an odd wine to make you think as you see the title.  It is very much an odd wine that is not for the faint of heart to drink.  But there is a purpose other than making something strange to drink.  It sounded good to add to recipes that call for adding a little white wine to.  Marinating a steak or two came to mind when I first saw this recipe. You get the wine flavor plus a little bit of spice to it also (or a lot if you use Habanero peppers instead).  This batch was originally just an experiment to see how it would turn out.  But it is actually a great wine to drink.  Just burns a little going down.  I am going to use a quart of it the next time I make cheese to make a Spanish cheese called Formaggio Ubriaco.  This cheese is normally made using a dark red wine, but I thought it would be good for a spicy cheese also. Might need to do one with red and one with the spicy to compare.

If you have never made wine before then you may like to pick up a book or two on the process before you start.  Making wine is not a difficult thing to do, but there are some basic knowledge that you need before starting (I think I can see another topic to write-up)

Ingredients:

  • 16 large jalapeno (I only used 8 in this batch to keep it from being to spicy)
  • 1 lb golden raisins chopped or minced
  • 2 lbs finely granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp acid blend
  • 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
  • Water to one gallon
  • 1 crushed Campden tablet
  • 3/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  • Pasteur Champagne Yeast

Make sure you wear rubber and stem and cut your peppers into pieces.  Then add to a food processor with 2 cups of water and coarsely chop them.  Don’t chop them to small our you will have trouble straining them out later in the process. Separately from the peppers, chop up your raisins. Then add your raisins and peppers into a  nylon straining bag, Add the peppers while you have it over your primary fermenting container so you catch the water that was in when you chopped them. Tie the bag and leave in the primary. Next add the remaining ingredients except for pectic enzyme and yeast. Stir well to dissolve all the sugar. Cover the primary, and set aside 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme, and set aside another 12 hours. At the end of the 24 hours add your yeast. Stir the mix daily for 7 days. After 7 days, while wearing rubber gloves, squeeze the nylon bag to recover any liquid in it. Transfer the rough wine to secondary glass carboy and Put your airlock on. Ferment to absolute dryness (took me about 60 days). Rack into clean secondary and refit airlock and wait some more.  Rack two more times, 30 days apart. Wait final 30 days and rack into bottles. You can use for cooking or drink immediately. If you are bottling it for cooking I would recommend using smaller bottles than the standard wine bottle size.