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Posts Tagged ‘Cider recipes’

Cider Recipe – Pumpkinhead Cider

02 Aug

Pumpkinhead Cider capSeasonal brews can become great annual traditions: fruit-filled drinks for the summer, spiced drinks for the winter, and so forth. The catch is that you have to plan ahead. If you want a good Octoberfest brew, you need to start making it no later than August! If you start one now, it will be ready to drink well before Halloween.

With that in mind, I present a new seasonal cider for your enjoyment: Pumpkinhead Cider. I made a test batch last year and am starting a new batch now. This recipe combines standard cider ingredients with most of the ingredients for a pumpkin pie. Pumpkin pie filling is a great shortcut for a pumpkin-based brew because it includes the spices needed to make the pumpkin flavor stand out.

Remember, you can tweak my recipes to your own liking. I included a few options in the recipe below. For example, to keep the dark, rich flavor and color associated with most breweries’ Octoberfest varieties, I recommend using either brown sugar (medium darkness) or molasses (very dark) instead of white sugar. I have tried molasses in the standard Panda Beer with great success. I am also trying out different acid blends, which bring out different aspects of the apple flavor.

Ingredients:

  • 6 gallons apple juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar or molasses (your choice)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 30-oz. canned pumpkin (one large can)
  • 60-oz. pumpkin pie filling (two large cans)
  • 2 Tbs. malic acid or an acid blend (try 2 tsp. each of malic, tartaric, and citric acid for a sharper flavor)
  • 2 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 2 Camden tablets (150 ppm)
  • Champagne yeast (such as Lalvin EC-118 or Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast)
  • Dissolved in two cups of warm water and added right before bottling:
    • 3/4 cup priming sugar
    • 3/4 cup lactose
    • 3/4 cup maltodextrin
  • Follow standard brewing procedureswith a slight variation:
    • When starting the batch, pour all of your pumpkin into a mesh bag (nylon or muslin), tie it shut, and simmer it for 20 minutes in apple juice. Put the bag of pumpkin in your brewing bucket for the first stage and then dispose of it when you rack the cider into a clean carboy.
    • If you don’t have an appropriate bag, you can add the pumpkin straight to the juice; the only drawback is that you will probably end up with more pumpkin sediment left in the cider.
 

Cider Recipe – Shane Summer

18 Apr
Lemon cider recipeBefore I went gluten-free, the arrival of Sam Adam’s seasonal brew on tap at the local pub was a cause for celebration. Fights would break out over the relative merits of Summer Ale versus the Octoberfest variety. The limited timeframe for these flavors made each pint seem precious. When the end of a season came around, finding an untouched case of a seasonal brew was like unearthing buried treasure. Rarity always has a positive effect on value. I was embarrassingly excited recently when I found one last bottle of Mega Man Milk Stout.

In my quest to overtake Sam Adams (which may require going back in time to murder him), I’ve been working seasonal recipes into my repertoire. Today, we hail my answer to the Samuel Adams Summer Ale: the Shane Summer. The simple addition of fresh lemons into the standard Shane Classic recipe makes a world of difference. The resulting concoction is light and refreshing, with a distinctive flavor similar to a lemon drop. This would make a great brew at any time of year, but the association between lemonade and the hot days of summer.

To make a good seasonal cider, you have to plan ahead. After all, it takes several months for a cider to mature fully and achieve its full potential. If you wait to start a summer cider until June, you may end up drinking it in the fall instead. I started this cider at the beginning of March so it would be ready by Memorial Day and barbecue season. Stay tuned for future seasonal recipes; I have a fall pumpkin cider and a winter spiced cider up my sleeve.

Note: I have started using a larger barrel and making six-gallon batches of cider. You can adjust the recipe one of two ways: either reduce all the ingredients proportionally or subtract a gallon of juice and hope for the best (you’ll get slightly different but totally tasty results).

Ingredients:

  • 6 gallons apple juice
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 lemons, juiced and sliced into quarters
  • 2 Tbs. malic acid
  • 1 tsp. wine tannin
  • 2 Camden tablets (150 ppm)
  • Champagne yeast (such as Lalvin EC-118 or Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast)
  • 2/3 cup priming sugar (added at bottling dissolved in 1 cup of water)
  • Follow standard brewing procedures


 

Cider Recipe – Panda Beer

07 Sep

Panda beer in bottles

Time for a darker, richer cider! The Panda Beer has a more well-rounded flavor than the Shane Classic, owing mostly to the use of brown sugar and honey as sweeteners instead of white sugar. This basic recipe has repeatedly been the favorite at every cider tasting I’ve run, despite the fact that it has little relation to beer and even less to do with pandas. Try it out for yourself.

(If you’ve never brewed before, you may want to start with the equipment review, the review of possible ingredients, or the basic brewing procedures described here.)

Ingredients:

  • 5 gallons Kirkland apple juice
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups honey
  • 2 Camden tablets (150 ppm)
  • 1 packet wine yeast (I like Lalvin D-47)
  • 2 Tbs. malic acid
  • 1 tsp. wine tannins
  • Dissolved in two cups of warm water and added right before bottling:
    • 2/3 cup priming sugar
    • ½ cup lactose
    • ½ cup maltodextrin
  • Honey is reluctant to dissolve in cold water, so I suggest heating up a couple of quarts of cider on the stove and stirring in the honey until it is a smooth mixture. Otherwise, follow standard brewing procedures.
 

Cider Recipe – Mega Man Milk Stout

20 Jun

Mega Man capsThe Holy Grail I’m seeking is an easy, gluten-free homebrew recipe that tastes like actual beer. Someday, I may make a beer with gluten-free grains like sorghum or rice. However, cider is so much easier to make (fewer variables, readily-available ingredients, no cooking involved) that I’d rather make a cider that tastes like beer than start over with a new, more complicated process.

The Mega Man Milk Stout is roughly 7.5% alcohol and shows some real progress towards faking beer. With a blend of coffee, honey, and vanilla, it lands somewhere on the taste spectrum between a traditional milk stout and an espresso porter. The coffee flavor jumps out at you, and the addition of lactose and maltodextrin give it some sweetness and extra body. If not for the light color of the finished product, most people would never realize this was apple cider at all.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Cider Recipe – Mr. Pink, a hard cranberry-raspberry cider

05 Jun

Glass of red/pink ciderThis cider came out sweet, fruity, and full of bubbles, earning it the name Mr. Pink. With both cranberry and raspberry flavors plus some extra sweetness, it works great as a replacement for your hard lemonades and the like (can I use the charming Britishy term alcopops?).

You could use almost any juice or fruit combination for different flavors. In this case, the red juice gives it a dramatic look. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Cider Recipe and Easy Brewing Instructions – Shane Classic

07 May

This is a great way to start brewing hard cider at home. It’s based on my father’s original recipe, and according to his increasingly-unstable demands, the grandchildren (and apparently the rest of us, too) will be referring to him as Shane. His hillbilly cider method was the basis for my first cider recipe, so he’s earned a little homage in the Shane Classic, my simplest and most traditional-tasting cider. Follow these directions and you’ll have drinkable cider in four to five weeks. Read the rest of this entry »