Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

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Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Stargazer14 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:21 pm

I have had a couple batches of apple brandy (from cider), the first one which had a ferment problem
(turned out some of the cider had preservatives, stuck ferment but cured that problem) Turned out with AWESOME apple flavor,
there is no doubt what kind of brandy it is.
The next few batches (no preservatives) fermented very well, but, lacks the apple flavor I like so much in the first try.
(I may do another 2month ferment with cider +preservitives, I like the flavor that much, was worth the wait.)

Now, with my second batch I have been pondering soaking some apples in the hootch before I bottle it, to try to get a bit of fresh apple taste.

Any one tried this?
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Pikey » Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:35 pm

SG - where I live "cider " is apple "Beer" - cranky gave us a USA spread of "cider" which can mean anything form apple juice to "apple beer" - but you don't say where you are !

[Edit - if you're going to do "Apple soak" I think it's a great idea - but don't use fresh apples - Get or make - "Dried apple"

So much difference
all we have is - "recipe turned out brilliant" and "recipe turned out crap" - what's gone wrong ?

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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Stargazer14 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:41 pm

Here in the North East, raw pressed apple juice is cider. (not fermented)

I'm not so concerned about what went wrong (and did anything really go 'wrong'?), just wondering if adding apples to spirits is an option to boost apple flavor.

From what I have been reading, my second run with low apple flavor is about normal, I think I just got lucky with the first batch that didnt want to ferment.

now, back to my question... apples in apple brandy?
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Pikey » Thu Jun 15, 2017 3:49 pm

Stargazer14 wrote:Here in the North East,.................


North East of what ?

Stargazer14 wrote:now, back to my question... apples in apple brandy?


answered in my second paragraph ( "bunch of words" )

:)
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Stargazer14 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:55 pm

Pikey wrote:
Stargazer14 wrote:Here in the North East,.................


North East of what ?

Well...North East of where you are!

actually NE USA, we have lots of apples and lots of 'cider'.

Thanks, sorry I missed the apple soak line.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby cranky » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:59 pm

I think putting the apples in could work fine, it's worth a try, after all we make this stuff for ourselves and have no real rules.
I'm guessing the first batch didn't ferment dry so some extra flavor carried over. Although different apples and therefor different juice/sweet cider yields different results. Perhaps you fermented the 2nd batch faster than the first and lost flavor as a result. I never ferment fast and seldom run anything prior to 2 months. The problems could also be the speed you ran at, speed of heated up, cuts in general. There are lots of potential reasons. Also apple tends to take it's time to show itself after distilling.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Stargazer14 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 6:08 pm

cranky wrote:I think putting the apples in could work fine, it's worth a try, after all we make this stuff for ourselves and have no real rules.
I'm guessing the first batch didn't ferment dry so some extra flavor carried over. Although different apples and therefor different juice/sweet cider yields different results. Perhaps you fermented the 2nd batch faster than the first and lost flavor as a result. I never ferment fast and seldom run anything prior to 2 months. The problems could also be the speed you ran at, speed of heated up, cuts in general. There are lots of potential reasons. Also apple tends to take it's time to show itself after distilling.



Thanks for the reply. All my ferments seem to be very slow -but I have come to like that, in both the apple, which turned out great the first time with (now that I look) over 5 weeks fermenting,
and my many rums, which average about 3 weeks. I am getting lots of great flavor.

The second ferment was faster but still in the just over 2 week range. The first long ferment was very dry so the flavor didnt come from leftover sugars.
And the distilling runs are all the same, I could tell when it was running it did not have the apple essence of the first batch.

It could very well be the type of apples, I did use different cider.

I'm going to try some apples in the second batch to see what flavors that brings, it already has a hint of apple, but nothing like the first. ("that's what she said")
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Shine0n » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:27 am

At what proof would you like to soak the apples in? The apples will release their flavors but in return take a few points of abv with it. Just from my experience and even so the apple flavor will take some time to mix and mingle to have that nice apple-e taste you might want.
What about adding aj concentrate to achieve your goal or do you not want the extra sugar.?

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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Plc Ryan » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:38 am

I did this very thing in my first year of distilling. Where I live it's difficult to get a lot of good fresh apples short of buying them at the store so I bought some cider and used that. It fermented out very dry and lost a bit of flavour and when distilled it didn't have a lot of apple flavour. Now I was very new to both distilling and making brandy at this point so I did just what you asked. Cut up a blend of three different apples and poured the oaked ( for a few weeks) brandy over them. What I found was the fruit took nearly half my ABV, dropped from 40% to 28%, and it did improve the apple flavour but not dramatically.

In my opinion if you want to flavour after distilling, make a neutral. It's cheap and easy and if you don't like it you aren't out the time required to ferment the cider low and slow. If you want apple brandy, do a number of small side by side ferments with different ciders and run them and see what you like. After some time and experimenting you should find just what you are looking for. And of course report the results for others :D
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:51 am

Plc Ryan wrote:...In my opinion if you want to flavour after distilling, make a neutral...

Macerating??? Or, tempering with cider?
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Plc Ryan » Mon Jun 19, 2017 5:32 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Plc Ryan wrote:...In my opinion if you want to flavour after distilling, make a neutral...

Macerating??? Or, tempering with cider?
ss


Either or I suppose but I was thinking more of a maceration. Although I Imagine an interesting drink could be made from macerating apples in high proof then tempering down with a cider. Would definitely be different from a brandy for sure but would be a nice summer drink.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Pikey » Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:30 am

I usually "soak" fruit at barrel strength (60 ish) and expect to get back around 40-45, but of course you can't tell because the sugar if you use it, ot any sugar in the fruit immediately gives you a false reading on your alcoholomer.

That drop in alc noted by Pic Ryan earlier, could have been affected by that, as well as alc absorbed by the fruit and water released by theh fruit.

Mostly though "Sloe gin" sold commercially declares abv in teh 20's, so that could be right. (They would start with "normal" abv)
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby NZChris » Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:57 pm

Macerating gets you the acids as well as the flavor and I think that is why I don't like my attempt at this. Age and wood isn't improving it.

To get more flavor into a fruit brandy, you can put fruit in a gin basket, carter head, or thumper and run it again. You can do this more than once. I've done experimental fruit 'brandy' with only a small amount of fruit that wasn't worth the trouble of fermenting, by starting with neutral and running it three times with fresh, chopped, fruit in the gin basket each time.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby The Baker » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:35 pm

Shine0n wrote:At what proof would you like to soak the apples in? The apples will release their flavors but in return take a few points of abv with it. Just from my experience and even so the apple flavor will take some time to mix and mingle to have that nice apple-e taste you might want.
What about adding aj concentrate to achieve your goal or do you not want the extra sugar.?

Shine0n


I haven't seen apple concentrate in the shops in Australia, may be sort of an American thing.

I have a pot still, no thumper yet. There is very little flavour or aroma in the apple 'brandy' I have stripped. I am not too concerned with the traditions, just would like a bit of flavour in my drink. I am thinking of any or all of:
cutting with apple juice before the spirit run,
setting some chopped apple on a stainless plate (drilled full of holes) above the liquid level in the still (shouldn't matter if there is room for vapour to by-pass it??) ,
cutting the (probably nearly 60%) spirit with apple juice (to say 45 %? ),
tossing some (preferably dried) apple into the (say nearly 50 % after cutting with the apple juice) spirit, and leaving a few months.

What do you all think?? It doesn't seem as though I could do any harm by trying all of this??

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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby NZChris » Mon Oct 09, 2017 11:05 pm

As long as you haven't cut the stripping run short, you should have plenty of flavor for the spirit run. (That is assuming that you haven't made a number of newbie mistakes putting the ferment down.)
I've given up trying to guess the final outcome by tasting the low wines for anything because they are usually disappointing. I run to a predetermined abv, then do the spirit run very similar to what Kiwistiller describes in his guide to cuts.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby SaltyStaves » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:08 am

I have some sugar-bump apple brandy that was originally from some very sweet apple juice. I'd like to add some additional acidity and bite to it, so I'm planning on putting some suitable apples in the basket and just running it through the gin still. Its high proof though, so I have to cut it down with something...? My instincts tell me that sweet apple juice or hard cider in the boiler will just compound the sweetness. But I really don't know.

I also have some of the original dry apple wash put aside (has been refrigerated for months). It could be used to cut down the brandy, but it too originated from sweet apple juice.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby The Baker » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:00 am

NZChris wrote:As long as you haven't cut the stripping run short, you should have plenty of flavor for the spirit run. (That is assuming that you haven't made a number of newbie mistakes putting the ferment down.) ....


Thanks, NZChris,
You have helped to give this a bit of perspective.

I have quite a lot of it and it is maybe four years since the stripping run....!
I will try one spirit run (maybe 16 litres) and see how it goes; if no or little flavour I will maybe try soaking apple in it, probably dried apple.
After that I will decide what to do with the rest.

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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby goose eye » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:40 am

If you runnin suger shine be it apple peach strawberry blueberry plum blackberry grape so on an so forth look at the varity an the suger. Putin a lb of suger to the gallon will work for some but not all.

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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby NZChris » Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:31 pm

You can add flavor by suspending fruit and herbs above the liquor for a few days. This avoids adding the acids from the fruit.

I haven't tried it with apple, but what I have used worked well. The strongest flavor is in the skin, so whole apples should work better than sliced. I would suspect that using waxed fruit would be a mistake.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby SaltyStaves » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:29 pm

NZChris wrote:I haven't tried it with apple, but what I have used worked well. The strongest flavor is in the skin, so whole apples should work better than sliced. I would suspect that using waxed fruit would be a mistake.


The sliced or peeled apple will brown relatively quickly too. I don't particularly like brown apple off the plate, so passing alcohol vapour over it doesn't sound ideal. I like the whole apple idea.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby nerdybrewer » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:18 pm

I did it, and for my money I say it worked.
I cut up granny smith apples and put them in half gallon jars of apple shine.
DO NOT THROW AWAY THE APPLES!!
They are very yummy after they have soaked a few months.
Also the apple shine gets to tasting really good after that time.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby The Baker » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:29 am

nerdybrewer said, 'I did it, and for my money I say it worked.'

Thanks, just what I wanted. Someone who has been there and done that.
I'll keep all you said in mind.
Did you maybe mean one apple per half gallon jar or did you use more apples than that?

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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby The Baker » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:38 am

SaltyStaves wrote:
The sliced or peeled apple will brown relatively quickly too. I don't particularly like brown apple off the plate, so passing alcohol vapour over it doesn't sound ideal. I like the whole apple idea.


Hi, salty,

I had thought the alcohol would prevent browning.

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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby Fraser » Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:20 am

There's some really good advice here. I like the idea of putting some apples in the thumper, or maybe some backset in the thumper too if you think there's a pleasant and strong aroma left in it. I think this idea is worth a try and probably will have the best results.

If you're going to try soaking (macerating) apples in your finished run before you bottle it, I'd make sure to core them out to remove the apple seeds first. They have organic arsenic you'd be better off not getting in your spirits. Plus they'd be bitter. Soaking apples in your spirits will add sugars, which as you know and has been said here will throw off your readings and may make it hard to bottle at an exact ABV (if that's a concern to you). If you do it this way, definitely save those apples. Cut them up on ice cream or something. Use them for cocktail garnishes. I bet they'd be delicious.

If you're going to use dried apples instead, make sure you know what (if anything) has been added to them as a preservative. Sometimes dried fruits have sulphur added, and that may or may not be something to consider. You can always dry your own applies out in an oven.

Good luck. Let us all know how it turns out.

From what I've read the variety of apples does matter. If you want consistency the best solution is to source a good mix of apples that you blend together into your own cider to ferment and distill, so each batch will more or less run through the same.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby zach » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:05 am

Stargazer14 wrote:Now, with my second batch I have been pondering soaking some apples in the hootch before I bottle it, to try to get a bit of fresh apple taste.

Any one tried this?


I tried this with plum brandy and was not happy with it. I put some plums into the product and macerated for a month. I liked the white plum brandy better. The macerated product tasted more like the cheap flavored brandy you can get a the liquor store.

I've tried a number of fruit brandies on a recent trip to Europe (Tuica, Calvaods, Kirschwasser, Rakia , Grappa) made from plums, apples, pears, cherries, apricot, grapes and mixtures. The delicate flavors are easily covered up if you were to macerate with fruit.

I've read that in apple brandy much of the apple flavors are in the skin. The French when making Calvados let the pulp macerate in the juice for a few hours before pressing the juice. Then they re-hydrate the pulp and re-press.

The plum brandy I made I distilled with the pulp in the boiler and had great plum flavor. I'm thinking about adding some crushed apples to my boiler in a batch made with Tree Top cider.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby SaltyStaves » Wed Oct 11, 2017 11:11 am

The Baker wrote:Hi, salty,

I had thought the alcohol would prevent browning.

Geoff


With peels or cut apples in the gin basket, by the time you have the first drip of alcohol coming off the condenser, it will already be too late.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby NZChris » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:48 pm

SaltyStaves wrote:
The Baker wrote:Hi, salty,

I had thought the alcohol would prevent browning.

Geoff


With peels or cut apples in the gin basket, by the time you have the first drip of alcohol coming off the condenser, it will already be too late.

Not if you dunk them in lemon juice.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby SaltyStaves » Wed Oct 11, 2017 3:24 pm

NZChris wrote:Not if you dunk them in lemon juice.


I suppose that would work. The lemon juice would probably carry over in the first lot of distillate and if it weren't complimentary, could be put aside from the rest of the run.
Not that I have any experience to base that on.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby SaltyStaves » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:19 am

Have picked up some ascorbic acid which should do a better job than lemon juice and won't add any flavour.
Hopefully I'll run it tomorrow.
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Re: Putting Apples in Apple Brandy

Postby SaltyStaves » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:55 am

Apple infusion.jpg

Used two Granny Smith and one Pink Lady.

It is definitely less sweet and a little more sharp, but it could always be more. Still worth the effort and time will tell if more complexity comes out.
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