Farmyard Runt

Ref 2021-09 Farmyard Runt Brewer Farmer Jim's
Style Experimental Type Cider
Started Tue 28th Sep 21 OG 1.043 Status Archived, 4.8% ABV
Packaged Sat 16th Oct 21 FG 0.996 Fermenter Plastic Bucket
Handle 2021-09 Farmyard Runt
Brewer Farmer Jim's
Style Experimental
Type Cider
Fermenter Plastic Bucket
Status Archived, 4.8% ABV ABV
Started Tue 28th Sep 21 OG 1.043
Packaged Sat 16th Oct 21 FG 0.996

Around 10 litres of leftover apple juice from 2021’s first pressing. Absolutely no cider apples in here, just having a go at fermentation because there’s nothing else I can do with this half bucket other than throw it away. Tracking in Google Sheets.

Live progress from Tilt via Google Sheets

Milestones & Tasks

Oct 23 -214dRe-sweetened, ready to go!
Oct 16 -221dKegged 10 litres
Oct 15 -222dFirst taste, Campden added
Sep 28 -239dStarted Farmyard Runt
Oct 202123Sat

Well, that was weird. I poured a glass of Runt from the keg in order to check up on carbonation progress, and it was totally flat yet impossibly sweet! Not believing my taste buds I offered it to Patience for a second opinion, and she not only praised it highly but declined to return the glass – a first if ever there was one.

When I poured myself a fresh glass it was much less sweet, and almost back to the expected levels of dryness, i.e. sour. Thinking about it for a moment, it became clear that when I added the sugar to the keg and then poured in the cider it must have not mixed properly with the sugar, which had sunk to the bottom and was the first thing that was dispensed via the dip tube. Interesting.

Having guessed that we were now back to square one in terms of sweetness I mixed 300g of Xylitol with some water, which I then poured into the keg before well and truly agitating it. 24 hours on and it tastes uniformly sweet after several glasses, and now there’s some headspace in the keg we’re also beginning to see first signs of carbonation.

#wisdom: 300g of sugar is about right for 10 litres of cider (so 600 – 650g for a Cornelius keg) but it needs to be dissolved in water and thoroughly mixed in, not just chucked into the keg before cider is filled.

7 days
Oct 202116Sat

There’s no more visible activity on this one so I’m putting it into a 10 litre mini keg along with 200g Xylitol, gassing to 15 PSI. Forgot to measure gravity so let’s run with Tilt values; 0.996 / 4.84%, 21.1 ℃.

1 day
Oct 202115Fri

Had a sneaky taste of the Runt today, supposedly 4.7% ABV by now and the curve is starting to flatten out. Smells nice and doesn’t taste strong, but could do with being slightly sweeter so let’s stop it now before the rest of the sugar disappears. Added one crushed Campden tablet to the 10 litre bucket, leaving it for a few more days to see if there’s a tangible effect on the curve.

Incidentally, the Tilt report SG as 0.997 but I forgot to measure using the traditional hydrometer. Will do that when kegging.

17 days
Sep 202128Tue

We spent all day pressing the dessert apples we picked yesterday and filled between 200 and 300 flip-top bottles. Pretty good going, especially seeing as there’s still half an orchard what’s not ripe yet, and that doesn’t even include the cider apples.

Anyway, there were about 10 litres left over once every available vessel had been filled, so I thought I’d take it home where I knocked up a starter using harvested WLP001 that has been in the back of the brew fridge since forever. Right now the apple juice is in a bucket in the shower, airlock fitted, and the starter is spinning away in the medium Erlenmeyer flask, ready for pitching tomorrow.