Maple Blueberry Cider

Well, I realize it has been a while since I posted anything but much has happened in my life. Time has become my commodity of choice and so I try to use it wisely and, when leisure time comes my way, there are a few things that rank higher than my blog. Like brewing. I’m still brewing. Not as often nor as voluminous as I used to but I am happy to report that I am still brewing.

I’m a big fan of Woodchuck’s summer cider. I like it because it has a hint of blueberry. I wanted to brew some sort of summer cider that would be easily drinkable and have that hint of blueberry. But after my disastrous attempt at Blueberry Pancake Mead, I decided to approach this one differently.

First off, I used maple flavoring instead of actual maple syrup. Yes, I know–that isn’t very cool. But it did work. I like brewing with maple syrup, but I’ve also come to learn while it is a good ingredient for fermentation and adds an interesting flavor, the maple flavor disappears. With the maple extract, it remained. The second thing I did was rack the cider off of real blueberries and then added a large amount of pure blueberry juice to the secondary. This really helped the blueberry flavor remain.

Maple Blueberry Cider (3 gallon batch)

  • 3 gallons of apple juice
  • 2 pints of blueberries cooked in 1 cup of white sugar.
  • 1lb of sugar (minus 1 cup).
  • 1 teaspoon of maple extract
  • S-04 Yeast

After 1 1/2 weeks in the primary, I racked this off of the blueberries and into the secondary. Then I added 32oz of blueberry juice.

After another 1 1/2 weeks I bottled it.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this will make it to the summer. 3 gallon batches instead of 5 (which is what I’m brewing now) don’t last as long. They especially don’t last as long since I now give so much of what I make away. I’m not complaining.

For your viewing pleasure:

maple cider

God loves an orchard: “Only the trees which you know are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siegeworks against the city that is making war with you until it falls. ” (Deuteronomy 20.20 NASB) 

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Review: Black Jack Pershing

This past weekend I made it to my old hometown and was able to spend a great time with family and friends. I was also able to bring a 6 pack of my Black Jack Pershing to my brother-in-law who helped me brew it.

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This is an interesting beer. I’d never used Mt. Hood hops before and I don’t know if it was my addition choice or what but I will say this: this beer is bitter and will punch you in the face even when you’re ready for it. I actually would say this is more bitter than my all Columbus hop beer, Silver Bullet IPA.

Overall, I really like this beer/cider. It is delicious, has a very complex flavor and is hard to describe but goes down pretty easy.

I told my brother-in-law (henceforth Mr. Bourbon) it reminded me of a sour apple. He agreed, it has an odd flavor profile like an ESB but then suddenly there is a mouthful of apple flavor and it seems like a granny smith. Mr. Bourbon is not on a gluten free diet but loved the beer so I take that as a sign that yes, this one like many other gf beers, is a legit contender.

If you are interested in something that is bitter but apple-ly, I’d recommend you make this brew!

The White Whale

I have a white whale and that whale has a name: Woodchuck Belgian White Cider. Approximately two years ago I learned of this cider and I have been searching for it ever since. I was intrigued by the concept: Belgian yeast, coriander and orange peels in a cider? Yes, please.  I have searched in three states: Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. But it always eluded me. Sometimes employees seemed to have heard of it or maybe seen it but it was never stocked when I was in their establishment.

This all changed recently. My brother-in-law called me to let me know he’d tracked it down and did I want a 6 pack? Yes!

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Well, this disappointment was for the record books. Belgian? Well, I guess so far as it is cloudy it is “Belgian” but really, this cider was just one big meh. This may be due to the fact that I have been searching so hard for this cider for so long that in my mind I’d built it up in my mind to be something amazing…but whatever the case it is still a meh. I didn’t notice any coriander and I definitely didn’t pick up any notes of orange peel. The yeast is Belgian and that might be why there is a slightly “banana” flavor to it…I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoy Woodchuck cider. It is probably my favorite commercial cider. But this is one I’ll pass on if I ever happen to see it in the grocery store.