Brandon O's Graff Cider

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Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby pistachio_nut » Thu Nov 11, 2010 11:53 pm

For all non-scientific beerology purposes, this is a cider. (I know, I know....but its got hops in it!)

Jay Huff and his apple bee got me started on some experiments and this is what I have come up with.

I noticed Ed's Apfelwein tasted super hoochy until it was about a year old. When it's about a year old tho it does taste like a good cider, but doesn't have the body a good cider does.

So, how can I make something that will taste good faster and also have body?

1. Get rid of the wine yeast and use a clean fermenting beer yeast
2. Get rid of that cheap sugar and use some light DME
3. Balance the tart flavor of young cider by using specialty grains.
4. Later on, I found hops also helped balance the overall flavor. BUT ONLY A TINY BIT, DO NOT USE MORE THAN CALLED FOR

If you like a clean, malty, not too tart easy drinking cider style beverage then this is your drink.

Materials needed for a 5 Gallon Batch

Clean fermenting yeast I have used Nottinham and Safale-05, both are good
.5 lbs of Crystal 60L If you use cheap store brand juice, I reccomend 120L. Cheap juice tends to turn out a tad tart and this will balance it.
1 oz of torrified wheat ( head retention, I've never used more than 2oz)
4 Gallons of apple juice.
1 gallon of water
2 lbs of DME ( I use 1 lb. amber and 1 lb. light DME)
0.5 oz of you favorite hops ( right around 6% AA, I have used 18.5% AA summit hops before and it took a month after kegging for strong bitterness to blend nicely)
WARNING! IF YOU ARE GOING TO CHANGE THE AMOUNT OF HOPS USED, MAKE IT LESS NOT MORE, it's really just too bitter with any more.

Directions for brewing

Steep the 60L and torrified wheat in .75 gallons of water @ 155 degrees for 30 mins.
Sparge with .25 gallons 170 degree water and throw away grains.
Add DME and bring to a boil.
Add hops when boiling starts and boil for 30 mins.

Cool down the wort (if you choose not to cool the wort and just let the AJ do the cooling then your cider won't be as clear). I don't care about clarity so I just let the AJ do the cooling, but if you stick your pot in the freezer and let this get down to 70 degrees or so your cider will clear fairly easy. Pour the wort and apple juice into your carboy and pitch yeast.

Ferment 2 weeks at 64-68 degrees then keg or bottle.

I keg, and this stuff is VERY drinkable as soon as it is carbonated.
SUPERB taste and drinkability after 2-3 weeks of aging.

People bottling, it will have SUPERB taste and drinkability after the standard 3 week bottling period for carbonating.

Last edited by Brandon O; 06-10-2009 at 07:42 PM. Reason: Cooling the wort before adding to the AJ really helps clarity.

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Just figured I'd throw this one in here, it seems to have quite a following elsewhere. I'm going to make a batch this weekend. I have a jug of Ed's Apfelwein going right now and I'm not entirely satisfied with it. It's drinkable, but I'm going to try this one.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby pistachio_nut » Sat Nov 20, 2010 1:56 am

Update

I'm making my first batch today, but I messed around with the recipe. My local brewshop didn't know nothin about nothin about the torreated wheat or whatever that was, and I didn't put any malt in. Also, I put in four times the amount of hops Homey used 'cause I like it bitter. And threw in another four pounds of brown sugar, and 3 pounds of medium DME which boiled over while my wife was stirring.

I figure she let it boil over to make up for me taking a picture of her after the baby puked on top of her head instead of helping her clean up.

We'll see how she goes.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby pistachio_nut » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:34 am

Another update:

The malt smell disappeared within a week, it smells more like apfelwein now. The hops smell is gone, too. Still bubbling happily away, doing its thing. Supposedly at three weeks it starts to taste/smell amazing, this is only about a week in.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby pistachio_nut » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:42 am

It's two weeks in now, still smells good, bubbling happily away. I'm going to rack into a secondary tomorrow and start a new batch in the primary. ETA: I stopped by the brewshop today and picked up some bungs and airlocks, so I finally airlocked the graff. It's still bubbling HARD. It probably lets a burp loose every 3-5 seconds, two weeks in. I think this one's gonna be stiff.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby pistachio_nut » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:34 pm

One more update:

This is MUCH better than Apfelwein was three weeks in. It's not hoochy, it's not thin. It's got a full flavor to it, but it needs a LOT more hops than the recipe called for. I have the materials together for another batch, and I'm going to use four times the hops in the recipe to try to get a little bitterness to it. Also, skipping the light DME and going with amber. I might even spring for bottles and carbonate it instead of leaving it still in mason jars.

I've got about 25 quarts of it put up, so I'll drink some now and save some for later.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby pistachio_nut » Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:31 am

I'm about 80% done with the first batch. This was pretty good, and I will make more. I'm going to use about five times as much hops though, I like my beer bitter. I added some brown sugar and whatnot with this recipe to kick up the ABV and I guess it did a good job. I put a jar in the freezer last night and forgot all about it. Checked today and the graff is completely not frozen at all. Not even a skim of ice on it 16 hours later.

Nobody else is commenting on this recipe so this is my last bump on the subject. I remain happy with my results.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby The Baker » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:32 pm

pistachio_nut wrote:I'm about 80% done with the first batch. This was pretty good, and I will make more. I'm going to use about five times as much hops though, I like my beer bitter. I added some brown sugar and whatnot with this recipe to kick up the ABV and I guess it did a good job. I put a jar in the freezer last night and forgot all about it. Checked today and the graff is completely not frozen at all. Not even a skim of ice on it 16 hours later.

Nobody else is commenting on this recipe so this is my last bump on the subject. I remain happy with my results.


Personally I don't drink beer at all hence no comment.
But if you are happy with the brew, that's great.
And it is certainly relevant to distilling (grain washes) but I have not tried them yet, just fruit brandies and sugar washes. No spectacular results but I am working on it.

Happy Christmas.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby pistachio_nut » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:18 am

I stopped by the brewshop today and picked up the hops and yeast to make another 10 gallons. Looks like I'm going to have to chug through a little more Ernest & Julio to put some more jugs up.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby astronomical » Tue May 22, 2012 10:40 pm

ressurecting this good recipe.... i suggest some of you give it a go...
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby WV Shine » Wed May 23, 2012 8:46 am

Sounds like a good summer-y drink... might have to try this :think:
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby astronomical » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:57 pm

I put another 2 batches of this down today... One with nottingham and one with safale 05.... Used cascade hops.... I'll report back in a month or so on which one is better.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby firerat » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:11 am

I've probably brewed 100 gallons of Graff by now.

Funny thing is, it's not really my thing. but my wife and all of my friends love it, so i keep a keg on tap all the time.
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Re: Brandon O's Graff Cider

Postby Brettlindholm » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:31 am

Thanks for all the info! We made our first test batch with 1.5 gallons of pale ale using a partial mash with 2 lbs of DME, 2 lbs of grain, 1oz tettnang hops, 4 gallons of motts apple juice, and 05 yeast. Got about 1.65 OG and down to 1.01 in a week. Planning to transfer to secondary for a week and keg. Wondering if I should add some hops for a little more bitter. The tettnang are fairly mild and I want at least some of the beer characteristics to show through. Happy brewing!
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