Thursday, January 27, 2011

Apfel wein!

This is really a late post, but I'm finding it hard to make time for blogging lately. Not that you really lose sleep over it, but still. I bottled my 2.5 gallon batch of German-style apfel wein last week. This is good. As it was supposed to do, the Montrachet yeast had settled out since the initial fermentation ended, forming a compact, solid layer of sediment in the bottom of the vessel. After sanitizing my bottles and equipment, I set to work, ending up with nine 750ml wine bottles of apfel wein. But I wasn't done. I had eight 12 oz. beer bottles that I primed with sugar then filled with apfel wein as well. The remaining yeast in the wein will cause natural carbonation, resulting in a fizzy drink. We'll see how that works.

Apfel wein is traditionally drier with a higher alcohol content than the alcoholic ciders people are more familiar with. The Wife and I had some apfel wein while visiting EPCOT last summer, and liked it, so I'm eager to see how close I come to replicating that. I didn't have a hydrometer (mine being broken a while back) so I couldn't take gravity readings, but final alcohol content should be in the 8-9 percent range, which is close to a German riesling. That's too low for long-term storage and aging, but appropriate for a wine that is to be consumed "young." There was a full glass remaining after all the bottling was finished, and it didn't taste half bad even at this stage. It was very, very mild--the apple flavor was very weak, in fact--but I understand that the apple character begins to reassert itself after 3 months of aging and hits its prime at about six months. I made some cyser (apple mead) a little over a year ago, and remember how disappointed I was at the bland character of the batch. Perhaps it's time to revisit those bottles I put up and see if time has allowed the apple to come through more strongly.

Now Playing: Stevie Ray Vaughan Live at Carnegie Hall

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