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Tag: Making

Cider, The Gateway Drug To Beer!

Hey, I thought that West Coast Brewer was a home beer brewing site, why are you making cider?

Yes, it is a homebrewing blog; but I figure that cider making is in the same wheelhouse and that I would share what I learned on the topic in case anyone else was interested in making a batch. The idea of making a batch of cider came to me when I was considering what I wanted to fill my next batch of kegs with. My goal was to having something for everybody. That got me thinking. We all know one of those people who is “Not a beer person”. Whenever I hear someone mutter those words I immediately think that they just have not found the right beer or had a bad beer experience where instead of someone easing them in to beer, they pushed a double IPA on them or gave them a poorly made sour.  Although Hard Cider is not beer, many people consider them to be somewhat synonymous with one another and it has to be one of the most approachable alcohols on the planet. It has a low ABV, it is relatively sweet, can be bubbly and has next to no bitterness; it is the gateway drug to beer!

Making cider is easy! Making good cider is a bit more difficult but not too hard if you have the right equipment and a little bit of patience. The good news is that if you are a home beer brewer, you probably have just about everything that you will need in order to make a batch of cider.  If not, do not worry, I will go over all of that with you. So you have a few options.  If you are happy with mediocrity, I highly recommend you purchase a cider making kit! For approximately $45, you can purchase a Mangrove Jack apple cider kit and create a 5 gallon batch of hard cider that will produce somewhere between a bad and mediocre cider. These kits come with all of the ingredients that you will need, include instructions and make the process very simple. It may not be the best cider you have ever tasted, but it you have never made cider before and have no home brewing experience, this may be a great way to go.  You can purchase a Mangrove Jack Apple Cider kit here. You can also find some helpful information on making cider from a kit at HomebrewingDeal.com.

If you have higher aspirations and want to try and create a good to great cider then keep reading and I will do my best to help you reach that goal. The batch of cider that I ended up making was a hard apple cider aged on oak and Oregon Sour Cherries. To make a good cider it is critical to start with the best ingredients possible.  Your base ingredient will be apple cider.  If you have it available to you from a local apple orchard, pick up fresh pressed cider! If like most people you do not, a great alternative is Musselman’s 100% Apple Cider.  It can be purchased at Walmart for approximately  $4.50 a gallon.  It is pasturized, so there are no additives that will negatively impact your cider and is a great compromise between cost and quality. You need minimal equipment to make cider and the most important item is a fermenter that can hold approximately 7 gallons.  If you can swing the price, I highly recommend a Stainless Steel fermenter that will last you a life time.  You can purchase a 7 Gallon Stainless Steel Brew Bucket Fermenter here for $199 with free shipping.  You will also need to bottle or ideally keg your cider when fermentation has completed.  Items for kegging and bottling cider can be found here at MoreBeer for a reasonable price and ship free on orders of $59+. If you need any specific suggestions or help with this, please leave a comment or shoot me an email and I would be happy yo help you.  Okay, so here is the recipe that I used to make my cider:

 

How to guide to making hard cider

How to guide to making hard cider

 

Step 1: Prepare for fermentation

Clean and sanitize your fermenter and anything that will come in contact with you cider.  If you need a food grade sanitizer, I highly recommend Star San Sanitizer.

Add 5 Gallons of Musselman’s 100% Apple Cider to your fermenter
Add 1 (12oz) container of 100% frozen apple juice concentrate (make sure that there are no preservatives aside from Ascorbic Acid(Vitamin C))
Add 2 Tablespoons of Pectic Enzyme (for clarity)
Add 1 Tablespoon of Yeast Nutrient (for yeast health and a strong fermentation)
Make sure that your cider is at an ideal fermentation temperature for your yeast strain (typically 68 F)
Add your yeast, I like Wyeast 4766 or Cote Des Blancs dry wine yeast; both are great choices for cider yeast.
If possible, take a specific gravity reading. Make sure that your gravity is above 1.045 or else you may have stability issues with your finished cider. You can add additional apple juice concentrate if needed to boost your gravity.
Next seal your fermenter, place it in a temperature controlled location and let it fermenter for 2-3 weeks until your fermentation has completed.

Step 2: Post Fermentation

Once your fermentation has completed there are just a few more tweaks.
Add 1 Teaspoon of Malic Acid  (gives the cider a little zip) You may want to add a little more or less depending on your taste

 

Step 3: Back Sweeten Your Cider or Add Fruit (Optional)

At this point your cider will probably be somewhat dry. I suggest that you back sweeten it to help highly some of the apple flavor it in. In order to do so, you will need to render the yeast unable to ferment the new sugars that you will be adding to the cider. To do so conduct the following steps:
Crush 5 campden tablets and mix it with 1 teaspoon of potassium sorbate  and it to your cider.  If possible, drop your fermentation temperature down to 45F.  Wait 24-48 hours.  At this point your fermentation should be completely halted.
A 1 (12oz) container of 100% frozen apple juice concentrate (make sure that there are no preservatives aside from Ascorbic Acid(Vitamin C)) for sweetness and flavor
Add fruit if desired.  I added 2 can of Oregon Sour Cherries
Let the cider age at 45 F for an additional 7 Days

Step 4: Transfer Your Cider To The Keg

I use a keg partially because I am lazy and partially because it is the best choice.  If you want your cider to be carbonated and you chose to back sweeten or add fruit to it, kegging is your only reasonable choice. Otherwise you will need to add yeast to it once again to force carbonate it in the bottle and risk both over carbonating and undoing all of the effort you placed in to back sweetening the cider in the first place. If you keg, you are able to bottle once the carbonation level that you desire is reached and the cider will come out much cleaner!

Clean and sanitize your keg and anything that will come in contact with the cider.
Transfer your cider from the fermenter to the keg, doing your best to avoid drawing in any of the particulates that have settled to the bottom of your fermenter.
Add oak sticks or oak cubes to the keg for additional complexity if desired. I think it adds a nice touch to the cider. Oak takes time to impact the flavor of your cider, so as it ages in the keg its flavor will become more noticeable.
Let the cider carbonate and condition in the keg for approximately 2 weeks. Your first few pours from the tap will be a little cloudy but after that it should begin to clarify rapidly.

That is it. If all goes well, you should now have a delicious glass of cider in front of you!  Please let me know how yours turns out or if you have any comments, questions or suggestion.

 

Give The Gift Of Home Beer Brewing!

Give The Gift Of Home Beer Brewing! #homebrew #homebrewing #gift #beer #brewing #kits

Give The Gift Of Home Beer Brewing! #homebrew #homebrewing #gift #beer #brewing #kits

 

With the Holidays upon us and people scrambling to find the perfect gift, tis the season to give the gift of home beer brewing! 

 

A beer brewing kit is one of those gifts that any beer fan is thrilled to receive! Not only does it provide the recipient with a batch of their very own home brewed beer to enjoy, it also educates them on the beer brewing process! With one of these home beer making kits, you actually produce beer similarly to how current craft breweries make beer; only on a smaller scale.  You doing everything from boil wort and add hops additions to pitch yeast and ferment your beer!

 

Over the last several years, home beer brewing has really surged in popularity and there are several options out there for home brewing kits.  There are a few things to consider when picking the perfect beer making kit.

 

1 Batch Size: Most beginner home beer making kits will come in either a 1 gallon or 5 gallon size.  The 1 gallon kits are typically less expensive, but if you can afford the 5 gallon kits, I highly recommend them.  I know 1 gallon of beer sounds like a lot, but it is only about 8 glasses of beer and will go very quickly if shared with friends!  A 5 gallon kit is only about twice the cost of the 1 gallon kits, so it is a much better value.

 

2 What Does The Kit Include: There are few things more frustraiting  than brewing your batch of beer and then at the very end realizing that you are missing a critical item and your beer is ruined! So make sure that you purchase a complete kit, so home beer brewing kits do not even include the beer ingredients or yeast!

 

3 Cost: It is easy to spend way to much for a home beer brewing kit, especially when brewing kettles and shipping charges come in to play. I have listed 3 kits that are a great price, include everything needed to start brewing a batch of beer and ship free when the order is $59 or higher!

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit #1

This is the home beer brewing kit that I would recommend if you are on a tight budget or only want to brew 1 gallon beer batches.  With this kit, you will need to supply the brew kettle, but just about any large kitchen pot will do the trick! Click Here to purchase this home made beer brewing kit.

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit

Home Beer Brewing Kit #homebrew #homebrewer #homebrewing

 

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit #2

This is the best deal out there for a 5 gallon home beer brewing kit, especially when you consider that it ships for free, comes with a 5 gallon stainless steel brewing kettle and a beer ingredient kit! Click Here to purchase this 5 gallon beer brewing kit.

 

5 Gallon Home Beer Brewing Kit

5 Gallon Home Beer Brewing Kit

 

 

Home Beer Brewing Kit #3

Lastly is a premium home beer brewing kit that comes with some advanced home brewing items including a copper wort chiller and upgraded 8.5 gallon stainless steel brewing kettle with a valve. This is a fantastic home brewing kit to get started with!  Click here to purchase this home brewing kit.

Premium Home Beer Brewing Kit

Premium Home Beer Brewing Kit

 

If you have any questions on home brewing or need any advice, please feel free to reach out to me, I am always happy yo help when I can.

Homebrewing Brewrig Sale at MoreBeer!

 

Save $500 on a More Beer Stainless Steel Brewing Rig

Save $500 on a More Beer Stainless Steel Brewing Rig

Coupon Code Date: 9/2/2016 to Unknown
Promotion Details: Save $500 on a More Beer Stainless Steel Home Brewing Rig
Promo Code: BREWRIG SALE
Product User Rating: 5/5
Availability: In Stock

Coupon Code Description: MoreBeer currently has a sale going on that will save you $500 on one of their famous stainless steel homebrewing sculptures. More Beer makes the very best home brewing systems available and they rarely go on sale.  So if you have been looking to purchase one, this might be the time. This is truly the easiest to use all-grain system out there. With nothing electrical to go wrong, simple valves to control flow, easy to view mashtun, and no pumps its just plain easy. The frame of this homebrew rig is made from 304 stainless steel and welded in the MoreBeer metal shop in California. The low profile  heavy duty stainless steel homebrew kettles are formed in a mold via the use a punch. This means they are made from a single piece of stainless with no welded seams. These beefy kettles then get an added aluminum layer that is capped with another layer of stainless. The added aluminum helps keep the kettle bottom from scorching and allows for easier cleaning.

  • 304-Stainless Steel Frame made in USA
  • 15 Gallon Heavy Duty Kettles
  • High-Quality Analog Thermometers on All Kettles
  • Piped Propane Gas System with single regulator to run off one propane tank
  • Perforated stainless steel screen in Mashtun
  • More Beer Stainless Steel Quick Disconnects

To take advantage of this home  beer brewing promotion, use coupon code listed above if applicable and click on the following home beer brewing promotion link:

Click Here For This More Beer Brewing System Promo Code

 

 

New Homebreiwng Device Called The Trub Trapper

Trub Trapper Homebrewing Screen

Trub Trapper Homebrewing Screen

 

Every now and then a new homebrewing product comes out that catches my eye and I say, I can not believe nobody had thought of that. The Trub Trapper is one of those home brewing equipment idea.

 

So what is the Trub Trapper and why is it so great? Well, lets start by talking a little about trub first. Trub is that thick sludge left at the bottom of your boil kettle after you have transferred your wort to the fermenter.  It is a combination of hops, compounds, proteins and solids left over after the boil. The problem is that it is very difficult to stop the trub from passing in to your fermenter. Trub formed during the boil can adversely affect fermentation and produce undesirable flavors and haze in your finished beer. It is something that you want to avoid if at all possible and I will explain further in a couple of paragraphs. You worked to remove these unwanted compounds and byproducts during the boil so you do not want to allow them in your homebrewing fermenter.

 

How does the trub trapper work? Well, it is pretty simple really, you place the TrubTrapper in the bottom of your home brewing kettle so that your brew kettle dip tube is outside the tub trapper ring before you fill your boil kettle. You conduct your boil as you normally would and then whirlpool post boil.  Let the wort settle for approximately 10 minutes and you are ready to go. It is that simple.  The high temperature soft silicone gasket and overall weight of the TrubTrapper will keep it in place during the boil and whirlpool so there is no need to re-position, or try and unclog anything.  A small amount of the overall trub will settle outside the trub trapper filter ring during the whirlpool process, and a portion of that will flow in to the fermenter but the grand majority of the trub will be trapped inside the trub trapper which is where you want it.

 

The TrubTrapper

The TrubTrapper

 

Why is trub transferring in to your fermenter such a bad thing? Well, excessive trub can coat yeast membranes impeding transport in and out of the cells which encourages metabolic by-products.  Not to mention fine particulates in trub can lead to haze formation in your finished beer. Trub can also be responsible for head retention issues, impact aroma, flavor stability and off flavors such as sulfur, harsh bitterness and soapy notes.  If you have been experiencing any of this in your home brew then the trub trapper may be exactly what you are looking for.

 

If you like to reuse your homebrewing yeast, the trub trapper can help with that too. Excessive trub affects your ability to harvest and re-use yeast effectively and efficiently.  High trub levels make it more difficult to collect and clean the yeast and poor yeast health caused by excessive trub eliminates the ability for you to maintain the quality of your yeast which impacts the quality of your beer!

 

So how much is the trub trapper and where can I get it? It runs for about $50 and you can find the TrubTrapper here!

Home Brewing System Upgrade

Home Brewing System

Home Brewing System

 

It seems like I am always trying to make small improvements to the home brewing rig to make it as functional as I can.  This weekend was no different.  I ended up changing the propane lines out for flexible versions that are easier to adjust and adding some sanitary fittings and a sight glass to the RIMS heating bar to enable me to clean it more easily and have some visibility if I run into issues during recirculation.

 

I think my favorite of the additions was the site glass.  In the photo above you can see it in the center of the RIMS heating element bar.  I like that it allow me to inspect the condition of the heating bar so that I can tell if it needs to be scrubbed and also allows me to check on the fluid volume level of the bar to make sure I am not running dry.

 

I picked the site glass up here at MoreBeer: RIMS Sight Glass

 

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