Real Fermenting: Hard Ginger Cider

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Hard Ginger Cider

Hello folks,

A current work in progress: speedy Ginger Hard Apple Cider. We started this on Thursday, and plan on drinking it today (Sunday). Again it is a pretty simple recipe, and we mostly made it because we wanted another 1-gallon narrow-neck jar as a secondary fermenter for our country wines.
To get the ginger flavor, Maddy chopped roughly 3-4 inches of gingerroot into matchsticks. She received a good old fashioned ginger eye-squirt for her troubles. That'll wake you up. Then we simmered that chopped fresh ginger in about 2 cups of apple juice (no preservatives!) for 30 mins or so. That made an extremely spicy decoction. We added the spicy juice to the regular juice in a wide-mouthed gallon jar (remember, we were cannibalizing the jar the juice came in, but you could use that jar). To that we added about a quarter (1/4) of a teaspoon of champagne yeast (Lanvin EC-1118). Champagne yeast is available at your friendly neighborhood homebrew store, or from the Internets. That yeast was just to speed things up to get it ready for the Oktoberfest event tonight. You could just leave it open to the air for a week or so and get similar results with wild yeast, I guess. I plan on finding out.

To recap:
Time: about 4 days
1. Boil 3-4" of peeled chopped ginger in 2c. apple juice.
2. Add decoction (including ginger pieces) to 1-gallon juice.
3. Stir in 1/4 tsp. champagne yeast.
4. Leave for four days in a warm room (we left it a propped open gas oven, so the pilot light would keep it comfortable), stirring when you remember.
5. Siphon into another jar (preferably one you can pour from easily) and strain out the ginger pieces.
6. Drink!

As with all these recipes, I think it is a good idea to taste them whenever you stir them. First, it gives you an idea of how things are developing. Second, it encourages you to stir it often, because you get a little tasty treat every time.

As of Saturday night, the cider had this wonderful crisp foam upon its surface. It is strongly gingery and has a clean, snappy ginger punch followed by a sweet, yeasty apple flavor. It is effervescent on the tongue and is clearly alcoholic. Can't wait for my pals to taste it tonight.

Prost!

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