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apple brandy

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  • John Vandermeulen
    Hello All, During time off from my main objectives (i.e. developing/producing dry gin, single malt whiskey) I have been playing with producing an apple brandy
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 22, 2002
      Hello All,
      During time off from my main objectives (i.e. developing/producing dry gin,
      single malt whiskey) I have been playing with producing an apple brandy
      (eaux de vie, Calvados). Herewith some results.

      Sofar I have made one 20L batch beginning with fresh apple juice, not whole
      apples as it is too early for this year's new apples. We have huge apple
      orchards in N.S., so I am running these juice batches as trials so as to be
      ready when the new apples come on the market.

      Fermentation: with juice:
      20L of fresh juice (NO preservatives).
      Measure S.G. - should be around 1.05 or higher
      Add yeast nutrient
      Pitch 2 small packets of yeast.
      Ferment.

      Distillation
      Normally I would distill twice in pot still. The first pot distillation
      takes you up to around 40%abv, the second raises that to around 70%abv. I
      used a medium cut, to get apple flavour.

      However, I substituted a freeze-concentration step for the first
      distillation. (Followed
      ups474 method). And then pot-distilled as the second step.

      The product is a crystal clear, Calvados-like brandy with that fiery taste
      typical of apple brandy. It compares well with a commercial product made
      by a fruit grower not far from here.

      I did try some ageing on charred oak, and that does impart an oaky flavour,
      but I am not happy with that part of the brew.

      At present I have a second 20L batch of apple brandy on the go. It
      fermented out nice and dry, and it is now in the deep-freeze in 10
      half-full 4L plastic bottles. It will take about a week for all the water
      to freeze solid. I will then drain off the apple-y alcoholic portion and
      go to the pot-still, as outlined above.

      All the best, John V
    • c2h5oh_x
      Cool. I am interested in eau de vie of various fruits. Your information answered a lot of questions that are currently on my mind. I really don t know much
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 22, 2002
        Cool. I am interested in eau de vie of various fruits. Your
        information answered a lot of questions that are currently on my
        mind. I really don't know much about pot distilling, cut-off points
        etc. Maybe the you can help me with some questions.

        Why double distill? The abv would be right on from the first run (35-
        40%). Is the first run still too harsh to drink? (I know this next
        question is a FAQ) What "cut off point" are you using? (what temp)


        And on an slightly different note: What are your feelings on the
        notion of increasing the sugar content in a berry based wash by
        adding sugar? I know the purists would have a problem with the idea,
        but as far as the quality of the product, would it hurt much? More
        sugar will = more alcohol. (in the case of certain berries, actually
        give you enough alcohol to even warrent distillation) But will it
        reduce the relative strength of the fruity "essence"? (or perhaps
        even HELP bring it out?)

        Thanks and cheers,
        -CX

        --- In new_distillers@y..., John Vandermeulen <vandermeulen@n...>
        wrote:
        > Hello All,
        > During time off from my main objectives (i.e. developing/producing
        dry gin,
        > single malt whiskey) I have been playing with producing an apple
        brandy
        > (eaux de vie, Calvados). Herewith some results.
        >
        > Sofar I have made one 20L batch beginning with fresh apple juice,
        not whole
        > apples as it is too early for this year's new apples. We have huge
        apple
        > orchards in N.S., so I am running these juice batches as trials so
        as to be
        > ready when the new apples come on the market.
        >
        > Fermentation: with juice:
        > 20L of fresh juice (NO preservatives).
        > Measure S.G. - should be around 1.05 or higher
        > Add yeast nutrient
        > Pitch 2 small packets of yeast.
        > Ferment.
        >
        > Distillation
        > Normally I would distill twice in pot still. The first pot
        distillation
        > takes you up to around 40%abv, the second raises that to around 70%
        abv. I
        > used a medium cut, to get apple flavour.
        >
        > However, I substituted a freeze-concentration step for the first
        > distillation. (Followed
        > ups474 method). And then pot-distilled as the second step.
        >
        > The product is a crystal clear, Calvados-like brandy with that
        fiery taste
        > typical of apple brandy. It compares well with a commercial
        product made
        > by a fruit grower not far from here.
        >
        > I did try some ageing on charred oak, and that does impart an oaky
        flavour,
        > but I am not happy with that part of the brew.
        >
        > At present I have a second 20L batch of apple brandy on the go. It
        > fermented out nice and dry, and it is now in the deep-freeze in 10
        > half-full 4L plastic bottles. It will take about a week for all
        the water
        > to freeze solid. I will then drain off the apple-y alcoholic
        portion and
        > go to the pot-still, as outlined above.
        >
        > All the best, John V
      • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
        John - thanks for the run down - its always interesting to hear what you re up to. Does anyone else have some recipes / techniques that they use & would like
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 24, 2002
          John - thanks for the run down - its always interesting to hear what you're up to. Does anyone else have some recipes / techniques that they use & would like to share with the rest of us ?

          Tony
        • John Vandermeulen
          Hello C2H5OH Sorry about not replying before this. But here goes, ... A potstill is a direct descendant from the medieval alembic still favored by alchemists,
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 25, 2002
            Hello C2H5OH
            Sorry about not replying before this. But here goes,

            > Cool. I am interested in eau de vie of various fruits. Your
            > information answered a lot of questions that are currently on my
            > mind. I really don't know much about pot distilling, cut-off points
            > etc. Maybe the you can help me with some questions.
            >

            A potstill is a direct descendant from the medieval alembic still favored by
            alchemists, and often shown in old woodcuts. The alembic still was a cooker
            or boiler with a small conical lid with a sideways protruding tube. Its
            curving form causes it to be named "swan's neck". The latter led into the
            cooling coil which sat in a waterfilled vat. The modern potstill has a
            column (variable length) inserted between the cooker and the swan's neck.

            In terms of the modern reflux column which, even in our amateur hands, can
            consistently deliver 95-96% pure spirit, the pot still is very inefficient.
            It delivers only impure mixtures of ethanol, water, and congeners. For that
            reason one usually double-distills (redistill) the wash - the first time
            delivering a distillate at ca. 30-40% abv, and when re-distilled raises this
            to 70-80%abv. Even then the product still contains congeners in addition to
            the ethanol. However, it are the congeners that impart the flavour of the
            grain or fruit. And most of these come from the 'tails'. As Ian Smiley puts
            it, the tails 'bleed' into the middle cut. While the reflux still can
            produce mind-stomping purity, the pot still must be run with a sense of art.

            > Why double distill? The abv would be right on from the first run (35-
            > 40%). Is the first run still too harsh to drink?

            One double distils to increase the alcohol content, but more so to
            concentrate the congeners. Note that in pot stilling the focus is on the
            'also-rans', the congeners, and not on the alcohol!! The pot still is all
            about flavour. The first distillate from say a malt / barley run is insipid,
            but better than the wash was. However, when that distillate is run through
            again, and more water is discarded, the congeners are further concentrated.
            The final taste of a single malt whisky is likely about 70% congeners from
            the wash, and 30% from the cask wood.

            The art lies in knowing how much of the congeners to allow into the middle
            cut.

            > (I know this next
            > question is a FAQ) What "cut off point" are you using? (what temp)

            Cut-off point? That depends on one's sense of taste, and on what sort of
            whisky or brandy one wants - highly flavourful, just right, or overwhelming.
            Ian Smiley devotes several fine pages on this point - viz. pp. 72-74.
            (Making Pure Corn Whiskey. 1999. ISBN 0-9686292-0-2;
            http://www.magma.ca/~smiley/main.htm). It is a matter of deciding how much
            of the tails one collects into that middle run.

            > And on an slightly different note: What are your feelings on the
            > notion of increasing the sugar content in a berry based wash by
            > adding sugar? I know the purists would have a problem with the idea,
            > but as far as the quality of the product, would it hurt much? More
            > sugar will = more alcohol. (in the case of certain berries, actually
            > give you enough alcohol to even warrent distillation) But will it
            > reduce the relative strength of the fruity "essence"? (or perhaps
            > even HELP bring it out?)

            I suppose that depends on which is desired - fruit flavour or ethanol
            strength. One could argue that blended scotch whisky is in fact sugar based,
            as a blended whisky is a mix of single malt whisky and grain alcohol, where
            the latter is highly purified grain distillate, devoid of grain taste. Just
            the opposite, in eastern Europe slivovitz (plum eau de vie) is double
            distilled from soft ripened plums, often weeks old, left to ferment in tubs
            with natural yeasts. Now, that distillate should be plenty flavourfull but
            in some regions more ripened plums are added to the distillate to further
            enhance the plum flavour.

            For me, it is all about flavour, so I go for the fruit or grain.

            > Thanks and cheers,
            > -CX

            Good luck, John V
          • Zeke Jones
            http://www.magma.ca/~smiley/main.htm ... _________________________________________________________________ Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger:
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 1, 2002
              http://www.magma.ca/~smiley/main.htm


              >From: ivanva@...
              >Reply-To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
              >To: new_distillers@yahoogroups.com
              >Subject: [new_distillers] Re: apple brandy
              >Date: 1 Sep 2002 16:30:37 -0700
              >
              >vandermeulen@... wrote us a very nice brief
              >
              >about a potstill, the direct descendant from the old alembics.
              >
              >Thanks John V !http://www.magma.ca/~smiley/main.htm
              >
              > >It delivers only impure mixtures of ethanol, water, and congeners.
              >
              >That�s the trick, handling impurities !
              >
              > >one usually double-distills (redistill) the wash - the first time
              > >delivering a distillate at ca. 30-40% abv,
              >
              >and if the first run tastes good, you may get it to be super
              >
              > >when re-distilled raises this to 70-80%abv,
              >
              >and you may blend some extra taste collecting tails,
              >or with your own secret recipe.
              >
              > >Note that in pot stilling the focus is on the 'also-rans',
              >the congeners, and not on the alcohol!!
              >
              > >The pot still is all about flavour.
              >
              >I agree with this !
              >
              > >http://www.magma.ca/~smiley/main.htm). It is a matter of deciding how
              >much
              > >of the tails one collects into that middle run.
              >
              >Yes, and you may also collect tails to mix them in the final product.
              >
              > >in eastern Europe slivovitz (plum eau de vie) is double distilled from
              >soft
              >ripened plums, often weeks old, left to ferment in tubs with natural
              >yeasts.
              >
              > >Now, that distillate should be plenty flavourfull but in some regions
              >more
              > >ripened plums are added to the distillate to further enhance the plum
              >flavour.
              >
              >These are the ways for taste, and all these flavored high ETOH should be
              >carefully consumed, as taste is cogeners, and this main mean not feeling
              >too well after drinking too much, if you want taste, you have to "pay
              >for it".
              >
              >Also the good aperitives are high ETOH content, with plenty of taste but
              >they are disolved in water/ETOH mixtures and not just only destilated
              >cogeners.
              >
              >Have you tasted the dry red Becherovka aperitif ?
              >
              >Regards,
              >
              >Ivan
              >
              >




              _________________________________________________________________
              Chat with friends online, try MSN Messenger: http://messenger.msn.com
            • ivanva@cvtci.com.ar
              vandermeulen@ns.sympatico.ca wrote us a very nice brief about a potstill, the direct descendant from the old alembics. Thanks John V ! ... That´s the trick,
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 1, 2002
                vandermeulen@... wrote us a very nice brief

                about a potstill, the direct descendant from the old alembics.

                Thanks John V !

                >It delivers only impure mixtures of ethanol, water, and congeners.

                That´s the trick, handling impurities !

                >one usually double-distills (redistill) the wash - the first time
                >delivering a distillate at ca. 30-40% abv,

                and if the first run tastes good, you may get it to be super

                >when re-distilled raises this to 70-80%abv,

                and you may blend some extra taste collecting tails,
                or with your own secret recipe.

                >Note that in pot stilling the focus is on the 'also-rans',
                the congeners, and not on the alcohol!!

                >The pot still is all about flavour.

                I agree with this !

                >http://www.magma.ca/~smiley/main.htm). It is a matter of deciding how much
                >of the tails one collects into that middle run.

                Yes, and you may also collect tails to mix them in the final product.

                >in eastern Europe slivovitz (plum eau de vie) is double distilled from soft
                ripened plums, often weeks old, left to ferment in tubs with natural yeasts.

                >Now, that distillate should be plenty flavourfull but in some regions more
                >ripened plums are added to the distillate to further enhance the plum flavour.

                These are the ways for taste, and all these flavored high ETOH should be
                carefully consumed, as taste is cogeners, and this main mean not feeling
                too well after drinking too much, if you want taste, you have to "pay
                for it".

                Also the good aperitives are high ETOH content, with plenty of taste but
                they are disolved in water/ETOH mixtures and not just only destilated
                cogeners.

                Have you tasted the dry red Becherovka aperitif ?

                Regards,

                Ivan
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