Cyser making

I don’t seem to have blogged about making cyser since 2006, but
I do still do it every year.

Last year I experimented and made three beverages from the
cider I bought at the ciderfest
and fermented them all on the wild yeasts from the Carlson Orchards
apples. It was reasonably successful, although none of them is
really ready to drink yet. (A year is a pretty short time for a
cyser, and should be OK for a cider, but it really tastes like the
slightly sulfurous quality in the one-ingredient cider is that
kind that goes away with age.)

So this year I’m making 3 gallons of the one-ingredient cider
(simplest recipe in the world — put the cider in a carboy and put
on a fermentation lock and forget about it for a few months, then
bottle) and 5 gallons of the cyser (almost as simple except that
you add between two and three pounds of honey for each gallon of
cider).

I still had about 8 pounds of the 20 pounds of honey I bought last year
from an apiary in Lowell in a Wort
Processors
group buy. The hard part about making cyser if you
don’t buy the honey and the cider at the same time is that the
honey has crystalized, so you have to heat it gently to convince
it to turn back into a liquid so you can pour it intoyour
carboy.

Last year I skipped that step, and used a brewing bucket
instead of a carboy, and missed watching the liquid clear as the
yeas flocculates out. So this year I swore I was going to do it
right, so I spent half an hour or so this morning watching honey crystals
reliquify, and pushing the ones that hadn’t through the funnel
with a skewer.

I also have 10 pounds of honey that I bought yesterday from Mike Graney, which
would have been easier to use but I thought I should use the older
stuff first. I’ll add some of Mike’s honey when the krausen
(a thick layer of bubbles from actively fermenting yeast, which
usually disappears after a day or two) has gone down, but right
now I’m closer to the top of the carboy than I like to be.

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