Well a short while ago, I managed to get my hands on some ECY 20, Bug County, so I’ve been itching to make some wild brews. I realized I haven’t made a cider in a while, and figured to give it another go; but this time with a twist. So here goes a sour cider with Brettanomyces and bugs.

This batch is pretty simple and only has three ingredients. Using a store bought cider that has been pasteurized, you want to make sure there aren’t any stabilizers. Look at the ingredients to make sure it only has apple juice (and maybe ascorbic acid, which is just added vitamin C). If it has more than that, look for another cider/ juice. I prefer the ciders that have lots of pulp if you can find them. Just a bit more complexity than the ultra-filtered juices.

Bug Juice : Sour Cider

Ingredients:

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Starting Gravity: 1.062
Final Gravity: 1.002
ABV: 7.9%




Process

mixing maltodextrine for sour cider

Sanitize all your equipment, No heating or boiling means all your pots, pans, and mixers should sanitized. First, put you half pound of maltodextrin in a mixing bowl and pour in a good amount of cider to dissolve it. Maltodextrin is a real pain to get disolved in. It’s sticky, clumpy, and makes gel balls with dry powder inside of them. Just keep mixing and adding a bit more cider if needed to dissolve.

After it’s all mixed in, add that and the apple cider to the carboy and pitch half your vial.

Overnight

The yeast started up and is off. This is the fastest I’ve ever had a bug culture being fermentation. ECY 20 contains 4 Brett strains, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and a couple wild Saccharomyces strains. I’m excited to see what they’ll do to this rather pedestrian cider.

sour cider mixed and pitched6 Weeks

Did a taste check, It’s already got a great sourness to it with just a hint of bretty backbone, yet I suspect that it will come back stronger later. I’m very impressed with what this bug blend could do to simple store bought cider. It really elevated the entire package. If you can get your hands on some ECY 20, pull the trigger.

7 Weeks

Checked the gravity to find that this thing has already fermented out the simple sugar form the cider as well as the maltodextrin addition. 1.002 is where it is currently sitting. This should be ready for late Spring. I’ll also pitch more cider for the bugs to ferment as a second generation. Maybe my next iteration will be a cyser. The color also rocks as you can see from the hydrometer sample picture.

8 Weeks

All Bottled up. I’m bottle carbonating 5 bottles and keeping 4 still. I tasted one bottle with my Brother In Law and it was loaded with pineapple notes. It actually dominated the apple. I’m very happy with this sour cider. I’ll continue to post throughout the different tasting sessions.

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