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Mike T
10/29/09 09:28 AM  
Sour Cider?
On Saturday a few friends and I bottled ~55 gallons of Flanders Red that had been sitting in a red wine barrel for the last year. The flavor was fantastic (so before racking a Belgian pale/single based on Russian River Redemption in) we pumped out some of the dregs for personal use. I pitched 12 oz of said dregs into 5 gallons of cider, I followed the funk with ~ some hefeweizen slurry to make sure there were viable primary cells as well.

I remember Steve did a 100% Brett cider, and I know people have done “spontaneous” ciders, but has anyone else tried adding the full compliment of beer souring microbes into a cider? Results, prediction, suggestions… I figure I can always blend it if it is too thin/sour, but with such a fermentable base I expect that it won’t be as sour as a sour beer…

10/29/09 02:37 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
Mike, I think you'll find this is a surprisingly unexplored area. Every year I have attended Cider Days somebody has asked the cider panel about applying lambic-like fermentation conditions to cider, the answer is always a resounding NOOO!! This, of course, is why I made a 100% brett cider. I think the world of cider making has enormous potential for expansion in a few areas including this one. So far my experience is very limited (a couple weeks ago I blended the 'cider reduction' and 100% brett concepts though!), I could not really guess at what to expect. Lovelovelove to know how it works out though. Steve
10/29/09 03:06 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
I added the dregs of a sour beer to 5 gallons of cider last year that was fermenting "spontaneously," and it turned out to share a lot of common characteristics with lambics. I think yours is going to come out great! Definitely watch out for over-drying though, you'd be surprised how fast it goes.
10/29/09 05:09 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
Cider is very dry by its nature, you can only overcome that by taking measures like using sulfites or pasturizing. Extreme dryness is probably the #1 complaint of ameture cider makers.
10/29/09 09:29 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
I did something along these lines but with pineapple juice and lacto, surprisingly everyone preferred the "clean" version to the sour version

10/30/09 12:00 AM  
Re: Sour Cider?
To what Steve said, I'd add that cider is not only dry, but also already fairly acidic owing to the nature of the fruit, so the need to sour it further should be minimal (in general, and depending on your cider's titratable acidity). Additionally, since most of the fruit sugars in cider are 100% fermentable, you might find that the beer bugs have nothing much left to chew on, in the same way that Brett usually has only a minimal aromatic role in wines.

One of the unfortunate profiles brett tends to take in wine is the smell of, as one of my friends so eloquently puts it, "poo." In low amounts, this can be good "barnyard complexity". Overdone, it can be wet barnyard on a hot day when you'd rather stay indoors.

The idea is certainly interesting, and I'd be interested to see how apple juice responds over time.

Mike T
10/30/09 10:31 AM  
Re: Sour Cider?
Thanks for the encouragement. Glad to hear it won't definitely suck. I’ll post an update when I rack to secondary in a couple weeks (or is it not worth racking it?)
10/30/09 01:35 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?

A friend of mine, John Watson, made an excellent sour cider. He racked unfermented cider into a barrel which had recently had an apricot lambic in it. He left the fruit in and fermented the cider on all that. I'm not sure how long he let it sour, but it was absolutely delicious!

10/30/09 05:15 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
You mean he made like a sour apricot cider?
10/31/09 02:21 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
I brewed 750mL of sour cider that turned out ... er... sort of good. I was trying to grow lactobacillus in some apple juice over the course of a week, and it never got sour or showed any activity, it just tasted sweet like apple juice. It is possible that there was lactic acid hidden by the sweetness of the juice. Anyway, rather than throw the juice away, that had been sitting on the counter for a week. I poured it into a Cantillon bottle with a couple of different dregs and an airlock. A fermention kicked off in a day or so, then a pellicle formed which smelled great, then I accidentally let the airlock dry out and I smelled some acetic acid. Refilled the airlock and waited 6 months, then tried it. The flavor was nicely sour, but the aroma was earthy and moldy, probably from some mold contamination. Other than the moldy aroma it was good, but kind of thin and one dimensional. I'd do it again.
11/04/09 02:44 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
I have a "thing" going now, not sure if its mead or cider. its fermentables are slightly less than half apple juice and half honey with some cherry juice and whole cherries added.

i made about 6 gallons and siphoned off a gal and added brett b dregs. its been about a year and smells fantastic.

as a side note the other 5 gallons looked clear as can be as i was racking into a carboy from a bucket. it tasted awesome too. and as i went to set the carboy down it slipped an inch or so and hit the tile. 5 gallons of it all over. i wanted to cut my wrists with the shards from the carboy.

Anyone done a sour braggot? ive got one thats a little over a year old and am dying to bottle it.

02/05/10 02:15 AM  
Re: Sour Cider?
I've been toying with the idea of a sour braggot. A few of my normal meads are about 6 months in the carboy now and I figure it's time to add to the pipeline.

After reading through Mike T's blog a bit and noticing the Funky Flower brew he did, I was thinking of doing a lambic-like braggot by using a healthy portion of wheat in the grain bill, and either a pack of lambic blend or a bit of the cake from one of the batches of AlB's Bugfarm III. (It'd be on it's 3rd generation, so probably pretty sour. . .)

At any rate, honey and apple juice both have the ability to dry out pretty well, so a pLambic-braggot, or something done with apple juice might be interesting. Even if honey or apple juice don't end up containing the more complex nutrients necessary for sour/funk over the long term, something more braggot-like in makeup might do the trick.

Mike, how's your cider coming along?

02/05/10 05:45 AM  
Re: Sour Cider?
This thread is old I know but naturally fermented breton/normandy style ciders is something I'm interested in and to my mind are very similar in principle to lambics (wild yeast etc). The few cidre bouches that I've tried have been marvelously complex and I'm not sure they'd necessarily benefit from extra sourness as it may reduce the lovely layers of floury apple, rich cheese and musty winery that I've encountered with these styles. The ones I've had have so much going on (of which sourness is a part) and are rich and pungent but there's a delicacy there too.

Just some thoughts really: I'm not sure how much that contributes to anyone else.

Mike T
02/05/10 11:42 AM  
Re: Sour Cider?
The last time I tasted it I would say it didn't taste much different than a standard cider. Maybe a bit more earthy/rustic, but no real funk or sourness. My basement is pretty cold, so it may just take some warmer weather for the bugs to really take off, we shall see.

The honey/wheat sour is great, I'm amazed how much honey character just 1.5 lbs gave it.

02/05/10 12:36 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
I am actually sitting on my first cider with a fully formed pellicle. A 4th generation Anomolus slurry.
02/05/10 11:22 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
"This thread is old I know"

Yeah, sorry to resurrect a 4 month old one, but I was curious about the sour cider Mike mentioned in October. Plus, the sour braggot thing seemed to fit the discussion rather than starting a new thread.

Steve, is it a slurry from past beers, or do you tend to keep ciders using slurries from other ciders most of the time?

02/06/10 04:22 AM  
Re: Sour Cider?
Wasn't having a go at you Jaymo.

I'm new to the board and was posting something that didn't directly relate to the question that ressurected it so I was excusing my newbishness. I'm glad you resurrected it because it's something I'm interested in and might not have seen it otherwise.

02/06/10 07:41 AM  
Re: Sour Cider?
Hey man, in our world beers can take years to complete. Threads are here to be resurrected! Without that we get the beginning of the story but not the middle or end.

Anomolus was new for me.

There is a sizable cider event I attend every fall that draws a big slice of the cider making crowd, it is clear from spending a weekend with them that pitching is the popular route. But with the exception of occasional brett experiments I am a very firm believer of natural fermention with cider. Every time I've been convinced to try something more controlled I regret the results. With natural fermention, reusing yeast is not a great idea, it will go its own way a lot faster than something that's been isolated.

However, this anomolus beer is a bit of an exception.

I wanted to experiment with light sulfating, my understanding was if you hit the right level you kill only the wilder yeasts, the more desirable yeasts will survive. Well, in theory, my lower sulfiting level still killed everything. Sonofabitch. So there I was with a delightful must, no activity at all after weeks and a slurry of anomlous that had just gone through 3 beers. I pitched the anomlous out of necessity. But I will say that I was very impressed with its performance with all the beers. I am a real advocate of Clausinii, to my surprise I found I liked this better. Last note, the cider is the only carboy out of the batch that gave me a pellicle...

02/06/10 09:31 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
I know Anomolus has been a commercial limited-time release at various points. Did you start it that way, or was it cultured up from something?
02/08/10 02:17 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
More than cultured up from something...it was an AlB slurry.
02/14/13 03:29 PM  
Re: Sour Cider?
Resurrecting this from the dead again ;)

I'm thinking about doing a panel of 100% brett fermented ciders. A few single strains, a few multiple strains, and a few of both with lacto/pedio added.

I'm trying to research the results of other home brewers' experience with 100% brett fermented ciders.

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