Brandy help

Information about fruit/vegetable type washes.

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scmoose
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Brandy help

Post by scmoose » Wed Jan 29, 2020 7:54 am

Trying to think my way through my first attempt at a Apple brandy. From what I understand adding sugar may take away from the fruit flavor so I’m trying to make a wash using “ natural fruit sugars “without adding cane sugar. So my thoughts are using 5 gallons of apple cider, and adding 1 gallon of honey to get me around 1.080 ish gravity reading. If I’m short I may just add a couple of the concentrated apple juice mixes at the store which I am calculating to contain 1/3 lbs of sugar. Am I on the right rack here?

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Re: Brandy help

Post by cayars » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:24 am

Without additions roughly speaking 5 gallons of apple cider will give you 1/3 gallon or 1.15 liters of apple brandy after making cuts.

I'd personally not try to doctor up the SG as you'll hurt your flavor. If anything do a sugar wash to make neutral and then later try to blend in the neutral with it. You can test a small amount this way and not run 5 gallons worth of cider if you don't like it. You'll probably want the apple brandy as is.

But here is the thread you want to read. Cranky is the guy you want to ask apple brandy questions.
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=68085&p=7586761&hi ... e#p7586761
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stillanoob
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Re: Brandy help

Post by stillanoob » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:30 am

Well, I have yet to run some liquor. But I used honey to boost the sugar in the 10 gallons of wash I have fermenting right now. This was the advice of a commercial distiller I know who makes the best apple brandy I have ever had.

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Re: Brandy help

Post by scmoose » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:51 am

stillanoob wrote:Well, I have yet to run some liquor. But I used honey to boost the sugar in the 10 gallons of wash I have fermenting right now. This was the advice of a commercial distiller I know who makes the best apple brandy I have ever had.
Care to share your wash recipe?

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Re: Brandy help

Post by scmoose » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:52 am

cayars wrote:Without additions roughly speaking 5 gallons of apple cider will give you 1/3 gallon or 1.15 liters of apple brandy after making cuts.

I'd personally not try to doctor up the SG as you'll hurt your flavor. If anything do a sugar wash to make neutral and then later try to blend in the neutral with it. You can test a small amount this way and not run 5 gallons worth of cider if you don't like it. You'll probably want the apple brandy as is.

But here is the thread you want to read. Cranky is the guy you want to ask apple brandy questions.
viewtopic.php?f=14&t=68085&p=7586761&hi ... e#p7586761
I have been looking at this one. Thanks

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Re: Brandy help

Post by scmoose » Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:56 am

Should I target a specific gravity when it comes to brandy, or is just a function of the potential alcohol in the end?

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Re: Brandy help

Post by cayars » Wed Jan 29, 2020 10:18 am

I do it basically the same way as Cranky. No additional sugar. Whatever the natural SG is from the apples/cider is what it is.
I prefer D-47 yeast over 71B-1122 personally. I've read that 71B will metabolize approx. 20% of the malic acid, which is a major component of apple flavor and that seems to match my prior findings.

But I'd just suggest you follow Cranky's lead as he has processed thousands of pounds of apples. After you get a couple batches under your belt, then try something different if you want.
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cranky
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Re: Brandy help

Post by cranky » Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:42 pm

I'm not sure why someone would recommend adding honey because honey can be difficult and slow to fitment and will add its own flavor. If you feel that you need to boost the SG I'd recommend using apple concentrate, although there can be issues with that too. Really I feel it's best not to try to get more out of the juice because whatever you do will alter the final outcome. Apple is not the easiest thing to learn with so I recommend using 1118 to start with. I like D-47 and 1122 because they add fruity flavors but they can make cuts difficult. If I recall correctly some years ago Jimbo did an experiment of different yeasts and D-47 for some reason produced a reduced amount of alcohol. We are not sure why but it's a factor to consider. Of course the apples and sweet cider used can make a huge difference on what carries over.

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Re: Brandy help

Post by stillanoob » Wed Jan 29, 2020 3:12 pm

scmoose wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 8:51 am
stillanoob wrote:Well, I have yet to run some liquor. But I used honey to boost the sugar in the 10 gallons of wash I have fermenting right now. This was the advice of a commercial distiller I know who makes the best apple brandy I have ever had.
Care to share your wash recipe?
Under no circumstances listen to me, I have no idea what I am doing. At least as far as liquor goes, I make great hard cider.

I'm happy to share my recipe but it won't do you much good. I make about 40-50 gallons of hard cider a year. For the spirit cider I used about 1/2 golden delicious, about 1/4 Jonathan and 1/4 of these small red tart apples I know where I can get for free, I don't know what they are. They are very tannic next to the skin and have a lot of flavor. Pressed enough for about 10 gallons that came in at about 1.065, then I added enough honey to bring it up to 1.090. I used EC1118 yeast, got a starter going about a week beforehand in a gallon of store bought sweet cider. One week in a primary fermenter and then racked into glass. Our fermentation goes very slowly as the cider house is unheated most of the time. It usually takes 3 months or so to finish and clear. I know this is much slower than most people and maybe it is part of why the hard cider comes out so well, I don't know.

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Re: Brandy help

Post by jonnys_spirit » Wed Jan 29, 2020 4:34 pm

I’ve used cheap apple juice instead of water to mash barley and then use honey (and water) so it’s essentially a braggot cycer mead. I made it to distill though not for mead. Probably the “best smelling mash ever”. The honey made it expensive but i’d do it again.

No issues with ferment but I did let it sit for a number if months before running it.

I’ve done another honey wash for distilling and it’s got a really very nice flavor.

I have yet to do straight apple so defer to others on that as a pure apple brandy.

Best luck!
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Re: Brandy help

Post by cayars » Thu Jan 30, 2020 1:24 am

cranky wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 1:42 pm
Apple is not the easiest thing to learn with so I recommend using 1118 to start with. I like D-47 and 1122 because they add fruity flavors but they can make cuts difficult. If I recall correctly some years ago Jimbo did an experiment of different yeasts and D-47 for some reason produced a reduced amount of alcohol. We are not sure why but it's a factor to consider. Of course the apples and sweet cider used can make a huge difference on what carries over.
MAYBE Controversial but keep in mind this is only MY OPINION, others sure likely to disagree.

I totally understand why you recommend 1118 to start with but I'd semi-disagree. What I would say is do not attempt a brandy if you aren't experienced with doing cuts/blends already with a few other spirits. Have some decent "cut" experience before attempting the brandy. Not that you can't learn cuts on brandy but it will usually cost 5x more than a grain batch or 10x more than any sugar wash so it's not a "cheap experiment" if you mess up. OR see last paragraph is must do brandy now. :)

Now with that said I don't care for using EC-1118 for brandy as it robs too much of the base spirit taste. I also find that 71B-1122 doesn't bring as much base flavor as D-47 does. Lalvin says right on their website that 71B-1122 softens high acid musts by partially metabolizing malic acid (20%-30%). The malic acid is a major component of apple flavor. So while I'd use 71B for some other types of fruits I'd not use it for apples as I don't want my flavor softened.
https://www.lallemandbrewing.com/en/aus ... alvin-71b/

ICV-D47 on the other hand can develops more fruity flavors. It can also be adjusted by leaving on the lees longer. Per the manufacture, when left on lees spicy, tropical, citrus notes develop and the wine is said to have a silky persistence. So by being patient and sampling your hard cider you can "tune" it a bit for additional flavor.
https://www.lallemandbrewing.com/en/aus ... n-icv-d47/

D47 will likely need a bit more time to age than 71B because of this but one year does both of these a lot of good!

I've not done nearly as much apple brandy as you or some others, but have done some experiments with the 3 yeasts mentioned here in side by side ferments as well as Red Star DADY. For flavor of apple brandy specifically, I'd rank them best to worst as: D47, 71B, EC-1118, DADY. D47 is clearly MY personal favorite for apple. I've got batches I did this year trying Safale S-04 & Nottingham Ale as well as D47 yeasts but it's far to early to comment on them but they hold promise. I also wanted to try Red Star’s Cote des Blancs but didn't have enough cider for it this round. I do here good things about it for cider use.

Here is a decent read on some different cider yeasts. This is one of the pages I've used to select yeasts to try for both cider and brandy: https://diyhardcider.com/hard-cider-yeast/

I do 100% agree the more flavor you get from the ferment the harder it will be to do cuts after distillation. There is far more variance from jar to jar using D47 vs 1118 for instance.

So it's probably obvious by now I prefer D47. What I'd suggest as an alternative method if starting with apple brandy (as a novice) is to try this yeast, distill it into very small jars, add a small piece of raw apple wood hearts chip to each jar and come back to it in 6 months. If you don't already have apple wood these can be used: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Western-Prem ... n/16213431 Just add one medium size chip per jar. Then 6 months later hopefully you have more cut/blend experience and can try to do your cuts/blends at this point on your apple brandy. If still not sure or don't have enough cut experience leave them and come back at the one year mark and try again. Of course you can combine OBVIOUS hearts cuts into a larger jar to save jars, etc but any jars you aren't sure about just wood separately and blend later. After 6 months to one year the brandy will have developed a lot and cuts will certainly be easier because of that as well. You'll also hopefully been running other spirits and developing your ability to do better cuts/blends as well.
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Re: Brandy help

Post by Farside » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:00 am

I made some cuts last night on apple brandy. I used a cider yeast I haven't seen before and it had been re-branded.

Anyway, it look me quite a long time to go through the 8 jars (when I am well into hearts, I use bigger jars). Each jar was pretty easy to determine if it was in or out, but I found that there is a lot of flavor in the aftertaste, and it lingers for quite a while. It can take a minute or two before the full aftertaste even kicks in and I had to wait 10 mins or so before my palate was ready for the next jar.

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Re: Brandy help

Post by cayars » Thu Jan 30, 2020 10:07 am

That's unusual. Did you proof a sample of each jar to something like 80 proof before sampling?
Again personal, but I like to proof down, then wait a day (to rest) before sampling and doing cuts.
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More than a decade working for NASA & FAA Tech with computer code used on Space Shuttles and some airline flight recorders.

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Re: Brandy help

Post by Farside » Thu Jan 30, 2020 2:43 pm

I collected in jars, waited a day and then measured the alcohol of each jar.

As I sampled each one I proofed it down to 80 with filtered water so they were all consistent. I find it takes the heat off and makes it easier to taste.

Since my last jar that made the cut was only 70 proof, I used it to proof down the batch to 120 and the rest went into the feints jar.

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