apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

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apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby akdaltron » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:04 pm

hello all.

I don't post much because usually I can find all the info I need by just reading all the great posts and discussions here on the forum. many thanks to all who contribute here.

I have been enjoying this hobby about 18 months now. I have a 5 gallon copper pot still with a thumper. so far I have done almost everything with a single run using the thumper. I have turned out many good drinks. I was just given some apples from a friend with a tree. I bought a small fruit press and got about 2.5 gallons of cider and a pile of left over pulp. last year when I had similar starting ingredients I wanted to make use of all of it with no waste. so I made two five gallon batches of wash.

1st
2.5 gal fresh apple cider from apples
added 2 cans of apple juice concentrate
about 2 cups honey
enough store bought cider to make 5 gallons.
ec1118
dap
peptic enzyme


2nd
followed birdwatchers sugar wash recipe. but added the apple pulp to it. (kinda like grappa... that was what gave me the idea) it added a some apple flavor (noticeable but not as much as I had hoped. but truly hard to taste when its high proof) to final product which I then made into an apple pie moonshine recipe (about 40 proof) for holiday gifts. it turned out great! everyone liked it a lot!

this year I was thinking of a few small modifications. my wife and her friends all really like rum. I have been making a fair amount of "sweet feed recipie". when I look at what goes into rum it seems like sugar wash plus molasses. (I followed a recipie I found her on the forum and wife doesn't like to drink anything else anymore.) seems like a common ingredient in the rum and the sweet feed redipie is the molasses. I have read that some of the sugar contained in molasses is "non fermentable" meaning that it left over after fermentation and distlation. seems to stand to reason that would be what makes rum so sweet and what makes the sweet feed recipie sweet as well. (although I am sure the corn has something to do with it.)

so I was planning on adding some molasses to both the sugar wash and the apple wash. I don't really care if I am making "true" brandy... I liked the flavor I got last year and it got better the longer it sat. I have one small bottle left.

I have also read a little about split brandy... although not too many posts on it. what about adding the two together after distillation? would that be worth trying? would it stretch the final product and retain the apple flavor? or would the sugar wash blow out any apple flavor.


thoughts?

thanks in advance for your input!
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby JohnsMyName » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:25 am

I have made a bunch of apple brandy and rum over the past few years. Molasses is such a dominant flavor I think that adding it to any brandy will kill the subtle fruit flavor. Also, the more sugar you add to any brandy will diminish the fruit flavor. I like to keep my liquors pure to retain the flavor it should have, mixing too much results in everything having the same sort of taste. The one thing I do is add a little of my aged pear backset into my apple wash before distillation. The aged backset adds nice complexity like a dunder would and the pear flavor compliments the apple very well. Seems to makes it more apple-ish than without.
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby akdaltron » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:05 am

thanks for the reply john.

I hadn't thought about molasses being such a dominant flavor. but that makes sense. I also didn't think about the "mix too much and you always end up with stuff that all tastes the same"... I suppose when you think about it, very little flavor makes it through the distilling process and fruit is a very subtle flavor anyway.

I mixed up the wash last night. I didn't add any sugar... only some honey and extra apple juice concentrate. I used about 12 ounces of molasses for a 5 gal wash. compared to when I make rum where I use about 48 oz in a 5 gal wash. I started with an SG of about 1.07 and a ph of about 3.5. I used ec 1118. we will see how it turns out.

tonight I am making up the sugar wash with the left over apple pulp from pressing... Any thoughts?
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby seamusm53 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:34 am

Does the use of pectic enzyme (pectinase) to break down fruit pectin really improve extraction or yield? I know it increases methanol production (an overwraught concern IMHO) but is it worth the bother?
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby JohnsMyName » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:43 pm

akdaltron - I actually have a apple squeezings "grappa" going right now too. I don't expect much over a normal sugar wash, but why not try it?

seamusm53 - I've been playing with a lot of things this year (large apple harvest here in New England). The pectic enzyme def releases a lot of liquid out of the freshly crushed fruit. The before and after liquid in my barrels was huge just after adding a little enzyme. But depending on how good your press is, I'm not sure how big a difference your final juice yield would be with vs without, I suspect not a big difference at all. The freezing method sounds like a great idea, I just don't have a freezer nearly large enough to freeze any amount of worthwhile fruit.

The one thing I found was I used to crush fruit, then let sit and ferment a little, then press. My thought was more nutrient and stuff locked up in the pulp would get eaten. I was wrong. I now just crush, bag, press all in one go. Letting the mash ferment before pressing just makes a mess because the fruit gets way too soft. You can press fresh fruit harder and release more liquid IMO.

As far as the methanol thing I haven't found a noticeable difference, but my "experiments" haven't been very controlled. Always different types of apples, sugar additions, yeasts, clarification etc... My results from all those different batches have been very similar head wise so I don't think the enzyme makes a significant change one way or the other.

I'm no expert, just been at this a few years, but that's what I've found.
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby Soft batch » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:37 pm

Last year I made some Apple Marc - added sugar + water then fermented. I distilled (making cuts), then aged one oak. After 6 months or so added some of it back into my fermented cider to kick it up a notch before kegging it. It had a good amount of apple flavor (still have some).

I found a big difference in the amount of apple flavor based on the yeast used. I've really like the Cider House select - a yeast and nutrient blend.
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby Shine0n » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:19 am

I have some apples that my press broke on the first try (cappy bottle jack) and has fermented dry on the pulp so I'm going to put the lot in the thumper and distill that a way. I only have 5 gallons cider I pressed with a skid steer bucket and it's clearing nicely and I plan to make another 5 gallons with fresh pressed cider and concentrate to reach a higher og to run in the primary in the hopes it turns out well.

I've pondered about the pressing after fermentation and from what I can tell the apples are still crisp to the touch but the thumper is going to be the route I take on this one just because I can. it will be a pita to get in and out of the 2" spout but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

I'll get another bottle jack for the press and reboot this weekend for the upcoming HBB and all corn so I can get my stock back up.
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby akdaltron » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:09 pm

So I have 6 batches of apple stuff fermenting right now. All 5 gallons each. 3 of the batches are juice with some added honey and molasses and three which are basically sugar wash plus pulp left over from pressing. One of them is made from crabapples! I am curious to see how it turns out...

The auger wash will most likely become the base liqueur for an apple pie moonshine recipie that I made and gave away for holiday gift last year. Everybody loves it. It was a bit too seeet for my tastes and only about 40 proof, but all the ladies think it's perfect.

I will report back and let you know how the mix of the molasses and honey affected the overall flavor . Am am curious to see if there is any apple flavor left... but hey! Experimenting is part of the fun in this hobby... right?
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Re: apple shine, grappa, or whatever...

Postby Shine0n » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:48 pm

I love to experiment with stuff, I do it all the time and end up low on stock because I get caught up with the fun, lol

The honey will need a bit of additional time because it ferments slow as honey in January. cold=slow lol

keep us informed on the progress
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