Thursday, October 14, 2010
Inspired by Brew Bakers in Huntington Beach, I decided to try my hand at making hooch. This formerly child friendly apple juice from Trader Joe's will hopefully transform to a non-child friendly dry hard cider through the power of fermentation.
Brew Bakers has a unique setup where you can pick your beer recipe and make it with a beer making guru guiding you through the steps. No shortcuts here: you start with grains to make your mash. It was fascinating watching the entire process, and since all the beer for sale here is made by them, it instills confidence that I, too, can make this stuff. I had an excellent sour cherry beer while I watched the process, and I got to talk to the person who made it. Since I was a fan, he cracked open and shared another sour beer he brewed which somehow was even better than the sour cherry beer. The boy is in full support of this new interest (surprise, surprise).
The whole setup hard cider was pretty cheap. I paid less than $3 for the rubber stopper and the airlock, both from Oak Barrel Winecraft. The half gallon jug was free with a purchase of cherry sour beer (so, so good - much better than the Flemish brown ales commercially available) from Brew Bakers. The apple juice may have been the most expensive item, and it was around $4.
The picture shows day 3 of fermentation. Initially, I covered the mouth of the jug with cheesecloth and a rubber band, which gave the whole project an illicit feel. Woot, we're making moonshine! Once the fermentation really got going and it was bubbling, I fixed the airlock and stopper into place. Now, more waiting.... I'll taste it periodically until it is quite dry.