Friday, February 8, 2013

Bottle Day and Tasting – Fuldauer Burnt Honey Winter Apple Cyser

So this was the first attempt at brewing and I’ve been letting it condition and age.  Way back at the end of November I transferred this to secondary.  The idea was to get the Cyser off the yeast and keep it from adding strange flavours.  The hydrometer couldn’t give me a reading, the scale only went to 0 Plato and the sample was off the chart.  Moving forward with the experiment, I took a quick taste of the hydrometer sample.  It was very tart and sour, so the only thing I could hope for is some friendly bacteria providing a Malolactic Fermentation.  Malolactic fermentation is a process by which the natural Malic Acid is converter to Lactic Acid.  Malic acid is a very tart, green apple tasting acid; on the other hand Lactic Acid is softer tasting, more of a rich, buttery flavour.  The more general information I’ve read says that the Malolactic fermentation will reduce the acid taste by about half.  When transferred to secondary, there was about 3L of Cyser left.
At the end of January, almost two months after transferring to secondary I decided to bottle the Cyser.  The main driver for this was I wanted to put something new in the carboy, but also, it would be nice to finish the job.  I had two 1L flip top bottles that one of the Hungry Brothers had brought for us from his favourite local brew pub in Berlin.  When he brought them they were full of apple wine, though it didn’t last long, so I thought it only fair that I refill them with Apple Cyser.  This only added to 2L so I cleaned out a couple 500ml flip top beer bottles, figuring I could put what was left in those.  Bottling was really simple, since this is a still Cyser, I don’t need to add any priming sugar, and I racked directly from the carboy into the bottles.  I filled the two big bottles and one full beer bottle but only about half of the second beer bottle, the rest was pulp and yeast lees sitting on the bottom of the carboy.  Basically, this left me with 2.75L of finished product.  I put the two big bottles back in the wine rack and stuck the small full bottle at the back of the liquor cabinet, the half full bottle went into the fridge.
A couple hours later I poured myself a glass of the Cyser from the fridge.  It was still a little cloudy, but a very pale yellow, almost white.  It smells awesome!!  Like fresh apple sauce or caramel apples.  The first taste is a crisp tartness with a finishing sweetness like caramel.  Malolactic Fermentation definitely happened, since it was nowhere near as sour as when it was first racked.  Even Mrs. Thirsty liked it, and she really prefers sweet sparkling cider over still.  We had our neighbour over for drinks the other day, so I put the small bottle in the fridge.  I wanted to get her opinion, since she was actively involved in getting me the apples.  A month on and it is still a little cloudy, but the wonderful apple aroma and taste are still there.  Our neighbour thought it was great and told me that there are more apples available if I want them.
All in all I’m going to chalk this up as a success.  I’ve two bottles of Cyser that I’m going to hang onto until the summer to enjoy when the heat comes.  Till then I think it’s time to try my hand at making Mead.
Photos Courtesy of Mrs. Thirsty