I’ve got more going on in the brewery pipeline. Firstly, I’ve got my current batch of cider moved on from juice extraction to fermentation. I simply siphoned the liquid from the first vat (water and cut apples, left to sit for a week) into a second vat along with a kilo of sugar. I was going by measurements on the vats which haven’t been calibrated. I’d estimated about 10 litres in the first one but maybe didn’t account properly for extra liquor from between the floating apple mass as there seemed to be about 13l in the second one. That would mean that I’m down a bit on the sugar content but, with an initial gravity of 1.044 @ 17.2°C, that should be enough to get the natural yeasts chomping away. I’ll take a peek tomorrow to check it has started but then expect to leave it alone, swathed in blankets to keep it cosy, for a couple of week.
Somewhere during the process yesterday, I managed to prang the end of my hydrometer so, for today’s brew, I had to pop out and buy a new one. I’m repeating my Autumn Gold recipe but with a twist. I’m brewing to 1kg of pale malt rather than 1.5kg and have scaled the recipe accordingly. I’ve also reduced the proportion of Challenger hops, which I think I find a bit harsh, but I will add a couple of litres of crab apple juice ten minutes before the end of the boil along with some Styrian Golding hops. I extracted the juice from the harvest from my Malus trilobata tree last weekend by simply boiling the crab apples in water, chopping with a stick blender part way through and filtering into a sterilised glass bottle that I’ve kept in the fridge. My plan is to check the gravity on that and add sugar to adjust to 1.045 (the target for the recipe). If the experiment works, I should have a novel beer; if not, at least I’ll have something to top up my slug traps next spring!
Finally, I had a sample of my Oxxxford Beer. So far it has excellent colour and clarity but neither the taste nor carbonation have arrived. This might be down to brewing it with spraymalt rather than direct from grains but could equally well be down to only having bottled it last week. I think a little more patience is called for before I crack open another one of that batch. Still, it is all about exploring the parameters and I am getting some very pleasing results along the way so I can live with not everything being perfect.