Bottling Blueberry Apple Cider

This evening I bottled about 4 gallons of blueberry apple cider that I kegged last week.  I didn’t carbonate it, so I put it in wine bottles with synthetic corks (like most of my supplies, my bottles come from the Modern Brewer in Cambridge).  This was a highly experimental brew produced by adding a gallon of Trader Joe’s 100% blueberry juice to about 3.5 gallons of a late cider apple blend produced by Steve Wood and company at Poverty Lane/Farnum Hill up the road, fermented as usual with Red Star Pasteur champagne yeast.  Steve won’t hear of blending other fruit into cider “There’s not room in your liver for that stuff!” but I think it came out pretty well, pleasantly tart with a nice sprightly blueberry zing. and the deep red color of beet juice.  I’ve also got a keg full of straight cider from the same batch, and a funny thing happened – while the blueberry stuff came out quite dry, the straight cider that was pitched from the same starter and fermented side-by-side with the blueberry stuff finished out noticeably sweet, with a few points of sugar left in it – it’s the first time I’ve had a batch that stopped short of complete dryness.  Three years in to our cidering project I’ve developed a taste for the dry cider that’s our customary product, but it’s nice to have some sweet stuff for a change and I suspect it will prove popular among the less dedicated cider enthusiasts in our crowd.  Since the same cider with blueberry in it went much drier, I can only guess that the cider was short of some nutrient vital to the fermentation process.  Anyway, an interesting comparison.  My mom knows people who operate blueberry barrens Down East, so next year I might try pressing wild blueberries for more intense blueberry flavor.

As it happened I also baked a batch of multigrain bread while bottling, and I can report that little could be more satisfying on a snowy evening than sitting in a rocking chair by the wood stove with warm fresh-baked bread, Vermont butter,  a glass of homemade cider, and a laptop, blogging the evening away…

Here’s the bread and cider:


And here’s to give an idea of the color of the cider – the camera hasn’t got it quite right – it looks a bit more purple than this- but this is close:



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