Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Discussions of interest about making wine, cider and other fermented beverages

Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby MrBoy » Tue May 16, 2017 22:47

I've made a couple of fruit cider kits - a blueberry one and a strawberry one - which have proved very popular with friends who like that kind of thing.

I was wondering about making one using a TC base instead of a kit, but not sure as I never did a TC before. Would I just find some fruit super-concentrated syrup and chuck it in? Since I want 5% I'd have to water the must down but then the syrup gives all the flavour & sweetness so a watery cider base would be OK? No idea which would work out better or cheaper.

One thing I was wondering about, people generally say TC needs months or a year to be ready, but cider kits use concentrate and are OK within a month. Is there something fundamentally different in the apple product, or do the flavourings mask the crappy nature of the cider? i.e. if I do a TC with fruit syrup, will that be ready equally fast?

No snobbery please... I'm not a big fan of these things but my friends have said my attempts are as nice or nicer than Old Mout/Koppaberg and that's what it's all about really ;)

So... is it worth it or might I as well just buy a kit for £16-22? Will a flavoured TC be any better, or any cheaper?
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby Rolfster » Wed May 17, 2017 07:43

I've only ever made appley turbo ciders and they take a long time to be ready. The fruity ones seem to be ready much quicker as the fruit flavours seem to make up the gaps in the flavour that are present early in an appley ciders development.
So I think a fruity syrupy tc will be ready as quickly as a kit...... I think!
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby jkp » Wed May 17, 2017 08:23

I've never used a cider kit. Does the cider end up being sweet and bottle carbonated?

The only issue I can see with fruit syrups/concentrates is that they might be fermentable, so you'll have extra work to do.
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby oldbloke » Wed May 17, 2017 11:33

A quick'n'dirty dry TC likes a bit of maturing time, but taking a little care over acidity, tannin, and sweetener will give something that's OK pretty much straight away, though it will still improve noticeably with age. All mine now use Suma concentrate as the base as it has great flavour and ideal acidity.

If you use cheapo AJ and a Lowicz syrup (or similar) you ought to get something like what you want, but it might be hard to keep it down to 5% and have a decent amount of apple in it
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby MrBoy » Wed May 17, 2017 11:38

jkp wrote:I've never used a cider kit. Does the cider end up being sweet and bottle carbonated?

The only issue I can see with fruit syrups/concentrates is that they might be fermentable, so you'll have extra work to do.


They vary - you get regular cider kits and fruity cider kits - but typically the ones I've seen are intended for bottle fermentation and 5-6%ABV.

Indeed, a fermentable syrup would not give the additional sweetness, would risk the flavours being lost, and would increase the ABV. I think some form of sweetener is essential so it might be easiest to simply find "diet fruit syrup"as I think that's what you get in the kits - though it's typically a small sachet for a 23L brew so it must be super-concentrated.
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby MrBoy » Wed May 17, 2017 12:02

oldbloke wrote:If you use cheapo AJ and a Lowicz syrup (or similar) you ought to get something like what you want, but it might be hard to keep it down to 5% and have a decent amount of apple in it
Yeah. Although since the kits I've used (even regular apple ones) aim for 5% or so, some of them 4%, they must be based on the concentrate supplied being diluted weaker than the original juice surely? Since the apple is really a base only I think it'd be fine.

The only Lowicz syrup I could see in Tesco was something like 2% concentrated juice:
Image
(https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product ... =275492116)
I looked at a cordial instead
Image
(https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product ... =286061339) which has 20% actual juice... but either way I'm getting a load of crap especially sugar I don't want. Although that cordial is I think 100g of sugar per bottle. No idea how many bottles one might need for a 23L batch, surely the 1:4 ratio for squash can be reduced somewhat. So 2 bottled perhaps? 200g sugar is not huge for ABV.
I wondered about something like sugar-free squash... what about something like this: https://www.tesco.com/groceries/product ... =263587052
Image


Now I know talk of watering it down gets people a little unhappy but... if I don't trust my ABV calculations based on sugars, is it safe to dilute once it's brewed or does that introduce risks of infection? Should I use bottled or boiled water instead of tap?
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby jkp » Wed May 17, 2017 12:43

The morewine website has fruit flavourings like this for wine or beer, it contains no sugars. Not sure if there is something in the UK that is similar. Maybe check out some homebrew wine shops.

There are concentrates available that don't contain added sugar, like this. The sugar level of this Cranberry one is just 150g/L, so not much more than your apple juice (~120g/L). It's not cheap though! And obviously you'd still need to add an artificial sweetener too if you want it sweet.

Almost forgot... what about just adding some fruit to it? Raspberries would be good, lots of flavour and colour.

Last edited by jkp on Wed May 17, 2017 16:10, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby MrBoy » Wed May 17, 2017 14:03

I guess with proper concentrate you don't need that much - the kits you get a sachet a bit like you might get the dipping sauce in when you buy a frozen box of spring rolls or something... probably 30g or so.

Though as you say, then I have to add sweetener anyway so maybe a low-sugar cordial/syrup is my best bet. Test it with the juice to get a decent balance, then multiply up and see what happens.

Real fruit would be good, if I see some going cheap and soft in the shop I plan to grab it all and freeze, but I would need to experiment more to know how it compares to the fake stuff as I imagine the fermentation makes it more subtle and here I'm going for a full-flavoured Koppaberg style, not a nice cider with real fruit additions ;)
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby jkp » Wed May 17, 2017 14:14

30g isn't much at all. That makes me think it's all chemical flavourings and colours. Would flavourings used in baking be useful? :hmm:

Going for more natural flavours, something like the recipe in THIS thread might be useful. It basically just switches some of the AJ for Cherry juice in a standard TC. If you leave out the sugar you won't get any boost to the alc level either.
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby MrBoy » Wed May 17, 2017 15:29

Yeah it could well be flavourings, and some artificial sweetener - which can be super strong without needing much.

Raspberry, cherry and so on juices are readily available so not a bad shout as the balance of flavouring is done already. I saw an apple/raspberry juice in Tesco but it was only 1/3 the sugar of apple juice... so a "juice drink" not apple juice+raspberry. I could probably mix some with AJ... or even use just this stuff and add additional sugar.
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby Crastney » Tue May 23, 2017 13:06

to keep it really simple, just make cider in your normal way, and buy a bottle of squash, and add to the drink as it is served. You'll have to experiment with the cidering down ratio - but I guess a couple of table spoons of squash (30ml?) to a pint of cider. there might be some experimentation needed to find the ideal ratio, or start with 5ml, and add 5ml at a time till you hit the 'sweet spot'. much better than faffing around adding flavourings to the fermenting cider.
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby MrBoy » Tue May 23, 2017 21:24

Crastney wrote:to keep it really simple, just make cider in your normal way, and buy a bottle of squash, and add to the drink as it is served. You'll have to experiment with the cidering down ratio - but I guess a couple of table spoons of squash (30ml?) to a pint of cider. there might be some experimentation needed to find the ideal ratio, or start with 5ml, and add 5ml at a time till you hit the 'sweet spot'. much better than faffing around adding flavourings to the fermenting cider.

I don't know why but it doesn't seem the same to me. What I ended up doing was:

19l Tesco apple juice from concentrate
1.5l Tesco double strength no added sugar summer fruit squash
1l Belvoir ginger cordial
1.5l water

I tried the squash concentration in water as juice is sweet, and it seemed a nice balance.

OG 1.05, no idea if this might be a bit stronger than intended but we'll see. It smelled amazing for sure.

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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby Rolfster » Wed May 24, 2017 09:25

Based on my ciders from juice which finished about 1.005 - 1.002 I think your going to end up with about a 6% cider there.
Sounds good!
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby Crastney » Wed May 24, 2017 11:20

make sure that the squash/juice doesn't have preservatives in it - if so you'll have a really slow start (the AJ should be ok), but it should get going in the end. If you just use squash, you'd have to boil it first for a length of time to get rid of the preservatives, else the yeast you add wouldn't take hold.
hope that OG is 1.050 - best practice to use 3 decimal places in SG readings, to avoid confusion.
using a cider yeast (Lalvin 118?) - most of my ciders finish below 1.000 - normally around 0.996, so end up very dry.
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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby MrBoy » Wed May 24, 2017 11:49

It looks like there is some fermentation but I'd never considered that, fingers crossed.

I used regular ale yeast which should be a touch less dry, but then the squash has sweetener in anyway

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Re: Next fruit cider... kit or TurboCider base?

Postby Crastney » Thu May 25, 2017 14:53

yes indeed, ale yeast has a lower attenuation, so it should finish a bit sweeter anyway, and the squash has (artificial?) sweeteners, so it should hopefully end up fruity and a bit sweet. good luck!
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