I’ve recently been introduced to beer making and wondered if any of you are into home brewing or distilling. I know that most fruits and their high sugar content would be more common to use when making spirits but I prefer to drink beer over the hard stuff. If so what fruits have you tried and would you be inclined to share the recipes? I’m in the processing of brewing a pumpkin ale but would also like to try making something with fruit that is common this time of year in zone 6. Like apples or even other wild edibles.
Hard apple cider is a wonderful fermented beverage to make with fruit. I don’t care for spirits myself, but I love beer, cider, and wine. Cider ends up being about the same ABV as beer, and I like it well carbonated and cold. These days good cider is getting marketed like wine, crap cider like beer. There was a local cider producer at my neighborhood farmer’s market the other week selling half liter bottles for $18! I tasted it and it was good stuff, but that is pretty steep.
For cider, you need some equipment to do it and access to at least some non-standard apples, but I think once that is squared away it is actually a little easier than doing all-grain beer. A friend of mine and I run a cider making weekend thing in Maine for our family and friends every year. Here is my writeup on last fall’s cider making:
From that one weekend I take home about 100L of cider to ferment (5-6 carboys). With some minor follow up work sessions, this sets me up to drink a glass of cider most every evening for the whole year, plus enough cider for some dinner parties, housewarming gifts, and the like.
I used to make all grain beer, and would like to get back to it at some point, but I haven’t made the time for it in the last 9 years (since I had kids). Doing one carboy (20L) of all grain beer start to finish took me about 6-8 hours on the day of brewing, plus follow up for racking and bottling. One time I supplemented my typical brown ale malt bill with some local acorns I gathered, shelled, roasted, and crushed. I letterpressed some labels for it, calling it “Bitter Nuts”. It was tasty; not sure how much the acorns contributed.
I’ve also been thinking about adding some tannic fall fruit to cider for fermenting, which seems like it could help people out who don’t have access to specialty cider apples. Tannins are the main thing present in cider apples that are mostly absent from apples sold for fresh eating. There are plenty of wild growing tannic fruits like autumn olives and some aronia around here, for instance. Haven’t yet acted on this idea though.
Thanks for the info. I like Cider but have never tried making it. My trees are too young to produce any apples but there are lots of opportunities around here at u-pick orchards and also some wild crab apples I can access.