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Cyser

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Post by Chilli-head on 12th August 2014, 2:14 pm

The wind over the weekend resulted in a couple of carrier bags of windfall apples.  The apples have ripened early this year, so they were not particularly acidic, but a fair bit of bruising and quite a lot of codlling moth damage.  Not to waste them though, I've started a batch of cyser.  I could have dug out a recipe, but I just used what I had:

1/2 gallon apple juice, heated gently to 65C to pasteurize
2 1/2 lb honey, dissolved from FIL's comb/capings with
water to make up to the other 1/2 gallon
1/2 tsp citric acid
1 tsp each yeast & nutrient

The apples I washed and chopped out the damage, then put in a strong freezer bag and whacked with a mallet  Very Happy  Then pressed them in in a couple of batches in my little 1 gallion stainless steel basket press (my dad made it years ago, and passed it on to me as he no longer brews).   I gently heated the apple juice to 65C to pasteurize, leaving it to cool before pitchng the yeast.  I know the pasteurisation will probably loose some of the freshness of the apple flavour, but better safe with windfalls, I thought ?

Bubbling away nicely now.  A very pleasing buttery caramel kind of colour - I am so looking forward to trying this one !  Really pleased to get back into brewing; it has been many years, and I've nearly run out of mead  Shocked
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Post by Dandelion on 12th August 2014, 3:40 pm

How long will you need to leave it before you can try it?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by TamaraNicole on 12th August 2014, 4:08 pm

Oh CH, it's amazing all the stuff you do! I want to learn everything about everything reading you!
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Post by Ploshkin on 13th August 2014, 11:28 am

I've never heard of Cyser - what does it end up like?
Is it a meady cider or a cidery mead or something completely different?
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Post by Chilli-head on 14th August 2014, 11:42 am

I'm not sure I know how long it will take DL.  Mead is normally rather slow to ferment, and I might expect six months or so to get it clear.  But fruit wines are often much quicker.  Presumably the cyser will be somewhere between.  I'm guessing at 3 months, but with no great conviction !

I have made cyser before,  but many years ago and then from bought ingredients.  This time I'm making it because I had not quite enough of FIL's honey for a gallon of mead, and not enough windfalls for cider.  Last time I added spices and used a bottle ferment to make it sparking, in very heavy champagne bottles.  It was expolsive stuff.  A few twists to loosen the wire cage, and the cork, cage and the lot shot off, and hit the ceiling.  This was in a rented house with those horrid polystyreen ceiling tiles - the impact left a dint, with four lines radiating out where the wire cage had been slammed into the ceiling !  We were brave enough to drink it none the less; it was definitely a mead as opposed to a cider, but I thought at the time that it was too much going on in one glass with the bubbles, spices, cider and honey tastes.  Will play safe and simple this time !

Tamara - I love making things myself,  especially from stuff that might otherwise go to waste.  If anyone has a go at making something after reading my waffling, I'll be well pleased.
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Post by Dandelion on 14th August 2014, 3:28 pm

That really sounds like the sort of stuff the norsemen would have knocked back before going into battle!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 1st October 2014, 8:41 pm

The fermentation of both my cider and cyser has died down now, so I've racked it off the dead yeast and into clean demijons. The cider particularly is still rather tart, so I'm hoping for a malolactic fermentation to soften the acidity. The honey aroma from the cyser is really rather lovely though; I wish I had had enough honey to make a pure mead too, I'm sure it would be very good. But FIL's wildflower honey is rather prized within the family, so I'm only allowed the cappings etc !

I have been eyeing up the elderberries on my walk to work; elderberries to me make probably the most like a grape wine of any of the hedgerow fruits. Needs patience to collect enough though.
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Post by Ploshkin on 6th October 2014, 10:29 am

It's a pity you aren't closer CH - how many buckets of wild flower honey do you want?
I presume the majority of FIL's honey crop is from oil seed rape. I really like the fact that my bees here only forage on wild flowers as there are no managed crops anywhere around.
I'll keep my fingers crossed for your malolactic fermentation!
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Post by Chilli-head on 6th October 2014, 7:42 pm

My FIL lives in Welwyn garden city, and is fortunate to be able to keep bees at the end of his garden that backs onto some sort of meadow which is kept as a nature reserve with sheep on it, and is otherwise surrounded by other gardens. So probably plenty of flowers other than rape around.

I have in fact aready wished I lived closer to you Ploshkin, every time you are talking about your huge honey production Very Happy

FIL visited today in fact, and I see a bag full of honeycomb has arrived to add to my beeswax collection, and a few logs of wood to turn into something.
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Post by frankbeswick on 24th November 2014, 4:30 pm

Strangely enough, the Norse did not have reputation for cyser drinking. The cyser drinkers were often mediaeval monks, whose monasteries had orchards and beehives. When the monasteries were destroyed by that vandal Henry the Eighth cyser production went into steep decline.

You have set my mind going to next year's production. I will be finally retired by then and free to fully concentrate on my brewing and growing.
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Post by Chilli-head on 25th November 2014, 7:33 pm

I guess orchards and bees are a very happy combination. It is a shame that I have nowhere I can keep bees, we have a fair few beekeepers (not to mention honey enthusiasts) in the family.

I'm glad to have turned your mind to next year's brewing Frank - I hope we will hear more about it ! I have not tried cider before this year, so I'm eagerly awaiting to see how it comes out. I have tried making most of the honey based drinks - mead, metheglin and cyser. Not so sure about the metheglin, but the others were good. What do you brew ?
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Post by frankbeswick on 25th November 2014, 9:41 pm

Mainly wine. I have apple trees on the allotment, and also a damson tree. So I make apple wine, though I need to purchase some juice as I don't have enough for a regular supply. Apple and damson is currently fermenting. I don't drink much, if any beer, so I don't brew it.
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Post by Chilli-head on 28th December 2014, 11:57 am

Chilli-head wrote:I'm not sure I know how long it will take DL.  Mead is normally rather slow to ferment, and I might expect six months or so to get it clear.  But fruit wines are often much quicker.  Presumably the cyser will be somewhere between.  I'm guessing at 3 months, but with no great conviction !

Had a look earlier, and the cyser is clearing nicely now, so I was in the right ballpark at least.
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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd July 2015, 10:32 pm

\Whilst the cyser has cleared nicely, my cider is still looking very murky. I could just call it scrumpy, but I think I might try fining with egg white before bottling ? I was hoping for a nice clear, bottle fermented sparking cider.
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Post by frankbeswick on 22nd July 2015, 10:56 pm

Brilliant. That cyser seems to be clearing faster than cider is news to me and gives me food for thought. Keep up the good work and keep us informed.
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Post by Chilli-head on 28th July 2015, 5:06 pm

Oh dear. Bit of a disaster. I hauled out the cider demijohn last night, it looked well murky. Opening it up, it had a frash apple aroma, but with overtones of something earthy, and the distinctive sherry-like smell of oxidation. I've made a gallon of drain cleaner Sad

I think next time I need to sterilise my apples, and the juice more thoroughly. Frank - if you are about, any tips or pointers to good websites ?
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Post by frankbeswick on 28th July 2015, 6:14 pm

You have caught me on the hop here. Off hand, I cannot think of any websites dealing with cyser. But is it possible that although you sterilized the apple juice, some bacteria got in with the honey?
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Post by Chilli-head on 29th July 2015, 1:24 pm

It was the cider that went bad, the cyser might still be drinkable, though that too is a little oxidised. I didn't sterilise the apple juice by adding campden tablets, just the outsides of the fruit before pressing. My friend who borrowed my press, pressed the juice then added a crushed campden tablet, left it to sit for a day or two before pitching the yeast. His cider came out drinkable, but with a bit of a pear drop aroma that worried me ..

Perhaps I should just stick to mead - I'm better at that. Trouble is I'm not a beekeeper, and honey in mead making quantities is expensive. My family are big honey fans, so won't let me use FIL's honey for mead making !
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