With batch 3 done, I’ve got nothing going at the moment. Time to get another couple of gallons going! This time, I want to experiment with adding a bit of sugar to the primary to increase the original gravity (and therefore, alcohol of the final product). Since I’m doing two gallons, I’m going to try brown sugar (4.1) and maple syrup (4.2) for my sugar – and compare them at the end! To that end, I’m going to use Nottingham Ale yeast for both so that the only thing different is the sweetener.
I’m using generic brown sugar and Grade A maple syrup. Note that while these sweeteners will probably affect the flavor, its not going to taste like brown sugar or maple syrup. Most of the flavor will be eaten by the yeast. I’m expecting a woody flavor from the maple syrup. I plan to later try a regular batch of cider where I add maple syrup in secondary – which should actually give it a maple taste.
The process is only slightly different. I poured out some cider to take a gravity reading (both carboys are at 1.050). I then took that cider and heated it up a bit to add the respective sugar source in. I didn’t quite boil the cider, but heating it up allows for a supersaturated solution (thank you high school chemistry), so that I can mix all the sugar I need into this small amount of liquid. I used ~1.5 tablespoons of brown sugar, and ~2 tablespoons of maple syrup in their respective solutions.
I then added the solution back into the carboys and let it sit for a while to let the sugar spread out and reach equilibrium. I then took the gravity again to see what I was working with. The brown sugar mix had reached 1.053 and the maple syrup mix had reached 1.052. Not bad. That should increase the default ABV from ~6.5% to over 7%.
The process from there is the same as always. Pitch the yeast and pop an airlock on there. Time to wait. We’ll have to see if the additional sugar causes the yeast to get too excited and bubble over.
I’m also thinking about bottling this batch with a bit of sugar in the bottom of the individual bottles to give it some carbonization and sweetness. We’ll see how I’m feeling when I bottle it though.