Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

October 19, 2010

Cider Take II

Filed under: Vinting — paragardener @ 12:28 am

The first gallon of cider turned into something strange and yellowish. Down the drain it went.

So, I went to Yate’s cider mill in Rochester with some friends yesterday. I was trying to score some natural cider, ready to ferment frontier style. The place is frontierish, with woods and waterwheel power and a slightly dilapidated barn. There was a guy showing off his reptile show out of the back of a pimped-out hearse in the parking lot, and pony rides and hot dogs and everything. It was easy to hang around all afternoon. Alas, all of their cider was pasteurized “for my safety.”

Barn and waterwheel

See how the whole barn leans back?

Today, I trekked to “Adventures in Homebrewing” in Taylor to buy some yeast. The look in my eye must have said, “I need some strong drink to get me drunk fast,” ’cause the shopkeeper put a packet of vibrantly live and alcohol-tolerant champagne yeast in my hand (actually, I told her I wanted the cider to taste dry).  I’ve never seen a place that carried such a variety of stuff : bottled CO2 gas, a collection of stills, glass carboys (manufactured in Italy since the last North American factory closed), bazillions of strains of yeast and bacteria, even Erlenmeyer flasks!

one hundred four point five degrees Fahrenheit

Post-Neolithic Yeast Culture

Inspired, I applied the full force of Renaissance-era technology to the task of waking up the yeast culture (I used a measuring cup and thermometer, as the packet suggested, and let the yeast warm up and rehydrate for 15 minutes). I took a mugful of cider out of each of two gallons, chugged it, and replaced it with 1/2 of the yeast culture, then sugar until it was almost full again. My dumbass wants to see the new ferment foam up out of the fermentation lock every time, apparently…

Incidentally, the instructions on the yeast said to add it to already-sulfited (sterilized) wine mush. But, I can’t see anything outcompeting  cultured yeast in the sealed-off, pasteurized environment of the cider jug, so I don’t see much danger coming from random microorganisms. Sulfites, on the other hand, may deplete thiamin levels, impacting alcohol metabolism.

Cider jugs with airlocks and a bag of sugar.

Here's looking to the short-term future!


1 Comment »

  1. I have a couple gallons from Whole Foods of what was apparently unpasteurized cider… we should taste it when you come out. No water-filled air escape valve thingy… I just loosened the cap a tiny bit when I noticed the plastic jug bulging out in every direction. Smells alcoholic now, too.

    All this reminds me of the “Spike Your Juice” website.

    Comment by freelearner — October 24, 2010 @ 4:16 am

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