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!

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