Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sauerkraut Hard Cider

As will happen in fermenting at home, I seem to have accidentally stumbled on a new way to make hard cider - with leftover sauerkraut juice.

I had just finished eating a batch of sauerkraut - laced with beets in my usual style - and there was leftover juice in the jar. Kraut juice is a precious thing, and not to be wasted. I added some cider, towards the end of making a drink out of the whole thing. The cider would hopefully mellow the somewhat harsh kraut juice. So I poured cider into the crock, then this happened:
Fermentation bubbles in the crock
It bubbled up! Alcohol was being created by the sauerkraut bacteria. I'm not sure why I didn't expect this, but it hadn't crossed my mind at all that the kraut organisms would cross over to winemaking activities. Naturally, I became curious and added more cider - topped it up to about a half gallon. Then let the bacteria do their work. It has since gone into an airlocked jug.

Initial tasters were not excited with the results! A round of trials at Thanksgiving yielded no one clamoring for more kraut cider. Too much saltiness and too much sauerkraut smell. I'm standing by my little kraut bacteria, and I have a feeling it will get better. I racked it once into a clean jug, with lots of dead yeast cells left behind. Those go into my special wine dregs container in the fridge. Meanwhile, the cider continues to mellow and hopefully improve with time. Here's to more happy accidents!

Friday, December 6, 2013


Another updates post because of how many things are going on in my fermentation world

-Fresh sauerkraut in the crock - packed full of savoy cabbage and red cabbage. This is a pretty simple batch - no beets - and I'm hoping that will translate into a cleaner, better flavor in the final product.

-The all wild yeast maple wine is all gone! We drank it at Thanksgiving in Boston, with gusto. It was delicious - exactly what I had hoped. Dry but not too dry, strong maple nose, a little bit of effervescence. The aging definitely benefited the wine. Makes me want to dive into making another batch of wild yeast stuff and aging it good and long.

-Beet wine went over pretty well at Thanksgiving. No clear consensus on what it actually tastes like. Some people swore they were getting too much beet, some couldn't taste beet at all. Many people thought it was funky and not altogether great. Some hopeful signs though, even some requests for a bottle. Someone made a blended spritzer out of it too, which came out good.

-Sauerkraut cider was kind of a dud. Too much sauerkraut flavor for everyone who tried it. The process will need refining.

-Distributed some sourdough starter to my mom - interested to see how it develops separately from the mother culture.

Thanks for reading!