This naturally fermented cider was bicycle-foraged using apples picked from the tree growing in front of Hannaford Supermarket and grapes picked from the Clifton Gardens wild grape vine. The cider includes no added sulfites, yeast, or sugar. Thanks Hannaford!
I fetched grapes from the big hybrid grape vine in my neighborhood on 9/18/22. These grapes are larger than typical small wild grapes. They are the size of concord grapes but they have the color of wild grapes. They might be something like a hybrid between a wild grape and a concord grape. I pulled off the good looking grapes, and squeezed a little less than a half gallon of pure juice. I didn’t measure the specific gravity.
Then I headed to Hannaford and got a nice crop of apples, filling both panniers on the bike.
I brought the apples home. I didn’t rinse them, but I loosely cleaned and sterilized containers and other tools. I crushed the apples with the grinder and hand strained them through a mesh strainer bag. The apples juiced SUPER easily, the liquid just falling out of the apple, leaving behind dry apple pieces. This made for very quick work. The cider was light-colored. I took a specific gravity reading which came out to around 7% potential, wow that's a bigger number than usual!
(See here - https://jstookey.com/cider-12/ - for the batch of cider I made last year from apples from the Hannaford tree. It seems it was similarly lightly colored, and had a similarly high sugar content).
I combined the grape juice and cider. They half-filled a 6-gallon carboy. I didn’t add any yeast, and put it in the closet upstairs to ferment.
There was a half-inch thick layer of foamy funky looking stuff at the top several days ago, I gave it a bit of a swirl and then a day or two later it had all dropped back to the bottom, so that the surface was clear of any foam or anything. Just some active bubbling.
The cider with grape was still actively fermenting, but I decided to transfer it into the 3-gallon carboy to get it off the sediment.
The cider is fizzing audibly:
Still actively fizzing.
Tiny bubbles are forming very slowly. About 90 seconds between airlock bubbling. It’s looking pretty clear.
It is still bubbling a tiny bit. A bubble comes out of the airlock every 100 seconds or so. I decided to transfer it off of the ½ inch of sediment it is resting on, and into two 1.5 gallon mini kegs. I made sure to add co2 and gas off the air from the kegs. I managed to sneak a little into 2 small tasting glasses, and also there was some leftover which got siphoned a bit haphazardly into 3 12-ounce flip-top bottles. One was reasonably sanitized, one I left some sanitizer in the bottle, and the third probably wasn’t particularly sanitized. Oh well.
The cider tastes almost decent. It has some of the taste I have gotten from fermented wild grapes in the past. I’m not sure I can quite place it, something tart, and something a little beyond tart. I should let it age some and see how it develops. It is pretty common for it to taste a little off at this stage and improve with time.
The cider with grape is tasting delicious. A little funky and sour, but very enjoyable.
I bottled 12.5 bottles from the mini keg in the fridge.