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Cyser - Apple Honey Cider
Cyser or apple honey cider is really a form of mead and it could be specifically classified as a melomel, which is the fermented product of honey and any fruit juice. Your cider making equipment is quite versatile in that in can be used not only to make cider, but many fermented products including beer and mead. So lets have a look at a recipe for something a little different, just in case your in the mood for a change.
As always cleanliness cannot be overlooked, sterilise your cider making equipment and rinse it thoroughly with fresh water then allow it to drain for a few minutes. The ingredients can be combined by one of two methods.
Method one: Combine apple juice, honey and sugars in fermenter, note that the honey may not mix in very well however dont let this alarm you as the yeast will break down a lot of the honey as it feeds on the sugars it contains.
Method Two: Combine apple juice, honey and sugars in pot and bring to boil stirring gently as the mixture heats up, taking care that it does not caramelise. Allow mixture to cool to the ideal temperature for the yeast you are using before adding it to your fermenter. If you use a glass fermenter adding the boiling hot mixture directly to it will cause the fermenter to crack or break. This method of combining the ingredients is the preferred method as it kills off any wild yeasts in the juice and honey (if you are using fresh unpasteurised products) and it mixes the ingredients more thoroughly.
Pitch the yeast and seal the fermenter making sure you add the correct amount of boiled water to the airlock. The airlock should start to bubble within about three days indicating that fermentation is taking place. The cyser will need to ferment for around 2 weeks or possibly longer in colder weather. Once fermentation is complete the airlock will bubble far more slowly, perhaps once a minute or so and at this point you should rack the cyser, transferring it into another sterile fermenter or vessel using a siphon, taking great care not to disturb the sediment on the bottom of the original fermenter. Continue to rack the cyser at two week intervals (or longer) until you are satisfied with the level of sediment suspended in the cyser. Generally the cyser will become clear after two or three rackings.
Bottle the cyser in clean and sterile bottles. If a carbonated cyser is desired prime the bottles by adding one teaspoon of sugar or honey per 750ml (1.5 pints) of cyser before sealing the bottle.
Store the cyser in a dark place such as a cupboard at room temperature for at least three months before sampling. Generally cysers do not taste their best for at least 6 months and sometimes longer. I would recommend sampling at six months and even if you find the flavour agreeable at this point keep a bottle or two aside for sampling when it is one year old, the taste might just surprise you.
If you are using freshly made juice that is not pasteurised or sterilized you should treat it with one campden tablet per gallon (4 litres) of juice and allow it to stand for at least 24 hours prior to pitching the yeast regardless of what the recipe states.
Follow the instructions on How to Make Cider for a step by step guide to brewing this cyser.
For further information regarding sweeteners please read Cider Sweetener page of the Cider Ingredients section.
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