Tag Archives: sugar

Jan 202110Sun

Pretty much the same story as when I started Blueberry Orgy earlier this evening; a continuation of Type 25c, tastes nice, probably too much fruit juice. In this concoction:

  • 2 litres Cherry Good juice drink (BBE July 2021)
    • Water
    • Cherry Juice from Concentrate
      • Sour Cherry 20%
      • Montmorency Cherry 5%
    • Sugar
    • Malic Acid
    • Fruit & Vegetable Concentrates (Carrot and Cherry)
    • Vitamin C
    • Flavourings
    • Sweetener (Sucralose)
  • 300g Brewing Sugar + warm water to 400ml mark
  • ½ teaspoon wine yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon wine nutrient
  • 2.5 litres natural cider

This one is also starting off in a recycled Tesco 5 litre water bottle and will probably spend a couple of weeks in the brewery until the airlock activity stops. Though as yet it hasn’t started. Gravity came in at 1.028 which includes 2.5 litres of cider @ 4.73% – so I’m assuming that 1.028 includes 2.4% already. If we make it down to 1.000 again then we’ll be looking at 6.08% in total, and that’d be just fine.

Jan 202110Sun

First things first, I decided on a change of approach when trying to keep track of our cider experiments. From now on I’m treating each stage in the evolution of a brew as it’s own brew. For example, if we press 200 litres and they ferment in 4 barrels, then one of those barrels is split into 5 demijohns each of which has a different amount of flavouring / yeast then each of those 5 variants will start, as a brew, at the point where it’s split, and not at the point where we’re pressing. I can use links between those brews, but trying to represent the lifecycle of each bottle right back to pressing leads to a logical tree with a ridiculously thick trunk, and I’d rather have a series of branches tied together with links. I hope this works out … hell, I hope it even makes sense six months down the line. Anyway …

This evening I kicked off our experiment into fruit cider using the last demijohn from our Type 25c batch. I’m calling this one Blueberry Orgy in honour of the original Orchard Orgy Type 25c that provided the cider component, approximately 2.5 litres. Also along for the ride:

  • 2 litres of Blueberry juice from Tesco (BBE May 2021)
    • Water
    • Blueberry Juice from Concentrate (17%)
    • Sugar
    • Citric Acid
    • Flavourings
    • Vitamin C
    • Sweetener (Sucralose)
  • 300g Brewing Sugar + warm water to 400ml mark
  • ½ teaspoon wine yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon wine nutrient

After measuring the OG at 1.032 (I can call it Original Gravity since I’m starting a new brew, right?) and tasting the sample from the trial jar I confirmed the suspicion that first surfaced when I tipped 2 litres of blueberry juice into the 5 litre Tesco water bottle which I’m using as FV: there’s too much juice, and not enough cider. It didn’t taste overpowering or sickly, but it didn’t taste of cider either. If I do this again I’m going to start with one litre of fruit juice instead of two, i.e. ⅕ instead of almost half.

Dec 202004Fri

OK, time to get serious and see if we can push the ABV a little on what’s left of this batch. We started on 25 September in Port Erin with an OG of 1.046 and that same brew is now sitting in Onchan at 1.003. Ignoring the fact that I measured it at 1.001 when I bottled 39 clear flip-tops from this 25 litre bucket, I’m now left with two demijohns of questionable size filled with something that should be around 5.6% ABV.

Assuming that I want to get to around 9% I’ll have to find an additional 3.4% from a starting point of 1.003, which (according to the propaganda provided with the hydrometer) means it has a sugar content of -12.1 g/l, rounded to 1.005 which is the closest value on the chart. In order to get 3.2% (again, rounded to closest value found on chart) I’ll need a total of 53.8 g/l and since I’m starting with -12.1 that leaves me having to add 65.9 g/l of sugar for my 9% ABV. I have as much confidence in this approach as I do in the fact that I’ve got 2x one gallon demijohns of cider left after filling 39 x 500 ml bottles from a 25 litre bucket. It just doesn’t add up.

I measured the capacity of a glass demijohn just now to be equal to six bottles of wine plus 200 ml, so 4.7 litres in total. Multiplying 4.7 by 65.9 gives roughly 310 grams of sugar per demijohn to bring it from 5.6% to somewhere near 9% ABV, not allowing for volume lost to SG measurements and general sloppiness. I’m also not accounting for losses due to the alcohol tolerance of our natural yeast in this brew – heard somewhere that natural yeast as found in apples will tolerate up to 8% alcohol before it dies, so I’m potentially gambling with 1% ABV and a saving in sweetener. We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it, for now I’m adding 310 grams of sugar dissolved in a little water to the first of my two demijohns, while I think about what to do with the second one.

Instructions for adding sugar to achieve desired alcohol content
Instructions B-side: look-up table for gravity and sugar additions
Oct 202015Thu

Measured gravity at 1.009 and decanted into a fresh demijohn, leaving behind about a quarter pint of mostly sludge. Tasted a bit rough and seeing as there’s clearly a bit of yeast left we added 250g of white sugar dissolved in warm water, replacing the liquid that was lost along with the sludge and hopefully giving the remaining yeast another chance to produce more alcohol. If not then at least it’ll be sweeter, though we can’t bottle it until specific gravity reaches 1.006 and it was 3 points over before we added the sugar. Will leave it a couple of days to see what happens.

Oct 202015Thu

Still bubbling slowly. Decanted into fresh demijohn in order to leave behind some of the sediment, specific gravity measured at 1.006. That’s low enough for bottling, but we decided to improve the already OK taste and give it a chance to make more alcohol by adding 250g of white sugar. (That figure was plucked out of thin air after reading the instructions with the hydrometer properly, in hindsight the 25g was added last week was nowhere near enough)

Oct 202008Thu

Bobbling stopped, trying to encourage secondary fermentation by transferring to a fresh demijohn via glass jug and paper coffee filter in funnel to remove sediment. Gravity measured at 1.005. Added 25g brown sugar dissolved in warm water, about half a gram of wine nutrient, and a whole sachet of EC-1118 champagne yeast, first revived in warm water. Lost a little bit from the old demijohn due to sediment and filter issues, maybe just over half a pint. Gravity at the end was around 1.009, started bubbling at a rate of 1 in 25 seconds pretty much as soon as the airlock was on, so hopefully we’ll get a good fermentation. New demijohn now store in Mark’s office, where it’s around 22 degrees.