Bottling Day – Apple Jack

Saturday, November 10, 2018

FINALLY. The apple stuff is done bubbling and has been inactive for a few days.

I don’t really like apple juice.
I don’t really like apple cider.
I really don’t like wine.
I don’t really drink liquor.

Why did I do this again?

Final Gravity: 1.021 – 8.27% ABV

This bottling was the cleanest I’ve ever had. The yeast cake was just like a solid pancake in the bottom of the bucket. No cloudiness, no mess. Perfect! It turns out, the Safale S-04 yeast tops out at 10% ABV, which is not nearly enough to eat up all the sugar I added to the apple juice. More on that later…

I initially split into two batches – three gallons as is, which was very weak apple wine, and two gallons bottled as apple champagne.

I used the Priming Sugar Calculator on the Northern Brewer website to calculate .45 cups of honey to carbonate 2 gallons of apple wine up to 5 volumes of carbonation. Champagne has roughly 6.3 vols, but I was afraid, again, of bottle bombs.

The apple wine added to a Fine Pilsner Beer makes a lovely Snakebite (without the blackcurrant cordial of course. What even is that). If it’s good enough for Bill Clinton and is outlawed in the UK (thx fer nuthin, Wikipedia) then it’s good enough for me. In any case, I have been buying cider to mix in my beer ever since.

The apple wine smelled very boozy but was very sweet, which made it more tasty than you would think to drink.

Later, I filled several quart Mason jars with apple wine and stuck it in the freezer. Over the next few days, I came up with a technique to drain off the unfrozen alcohol.

At the end of the process, there would be a mostly white block of ice. I have a little cup size strainer that I used to strain out the remaining amount of color out of the ice. Then I put the “next generation” jar back in the freezer and repeated the process.

After three to five rounds (I kinda lost track along the way) of freeze-condensing, the apple jack would stop freezing.

That’s a fingerprint…

Then it’s time for the strainer.

At the end of this process, you’ve got yourself apple jack. I never measured the ABV of the finished product, but I’m estimating somewhere around 20% ABV.

The “champagne” never actually kicked off, more than a pssst anyway, because the yeast was already tits up.

As mentioned previously, the Safale S-04 yeast is only good up to 10% ABV. So that left it even more sweet (extra) with the addition of the honey for bottle conditioning.

The apple wine and “champagne” syrup got rave reviews from everyone that tried it, so for a huge fail, it was apparently a respectable size win.

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