I recently went on a trip to see some really good friends. They’ve recently expressed interest in making their own cider, so we decided to order some basic supplies and grab a few gallons of juice from Whole Foods. They started one gallon before I showed up, and then we setup the other two gallons a few days later.
When the first batch was ready, we bottled it into various pop tops and did different things to showcase what they could do with the other ciders. Two bottles were the basic hard cider with nothing added. For the first of those bottles, we tried adding it to a glass with maple syrup and a glass with honey. Both were quite good. The second of the basic bottles was drank as-is. It was a bit yeasty as we didn’t do a secondary or let it age, but overall tasted like a solid farmhouse cider. The last glass of the bottle was particularly yeasty in flavor, but a shot of fireball fixed that.
The other two bottles were carbonated. One with maple syrup, and the other with honey. Like the maple syrup batch I did, the flavor was greatly dulled by the carbonization process – but there was still a hit of maple and a solid bit of carbonation. I think I’m going to save maple syrup for a sweetener with no carbonation as the flavor gets too dull.
The honey worked quite well though. It added carbonization and a sweet honey flavor. I definitely need to look into making Mead or a Cyser (Fermented apple juice and honey) soon.
After bottling the first batch, my friends decided they wanted a higher ABV, which would come from adding more fermentable sugar. So they decided to take one of the remaining gallons and add sugar to it. So they sanitized a new airlock, popped off the old airlock, and proceeded to add lots of sugar to it…in mid-fermentation.
It bubbled over. A lot.
It was quite amusing to watch. Lots of sugar was added. We’re not sure how much. Or how much ABV it’ll end up at (they don’t have a hydrometer yet). But it was certainly a learning experience.