Oct 03 2007
For the past 2 months we have been on a sparkling wine-making frenzy. At first we just made a small 3 liter batch to see if it would work…and it did…so the next batch was 5 liters….and the one after that was 12 liters…ok, so we didn’t drink it all by ourselves…was served it at my birthday party and brought some to friends’ places when we were invited over. We’re making another batch again. This time it’s 5 liters.
There are only 3 ingredients required: apple juice, champagne yeast, and sugar (or fructose). (see recipe bellow)
We have tried different varieties of apple juice: “conventional” 100% apple juice and direct press (unfiltered) organic apple juice. There is actually a significant difference between the 2. The conventional apple juice will give you a clear, dry, and light flavor, while the direct press juice will give you a hardy, “typical” American cider (with fizz added). It is hard to chose which one I liked more. We did a taste test to compare them side by side, but still, they are really both excellent.
We also made a quick low alcohol version (see recipe bellow) that took 2 days to make. The fizzy-ness was really great (the same as with other champagnes/sparkling wines), but there was a much sweeter apple juice flavor there. We tried it with the direct press juice, and tonight I’ll try it with a conventional apple juice. I didn’t enjoy the sweetness of it b/c I’m generally not a big apple juice fan. That’s why I enjoy sparkling apple wine so much b/c it has the great apple flavor without the overwhelming sweetness of apple juice.
Sparkling Apple Wine (4%-6% alcohol content):
Equipment & Ingredients:
-any sized glass wine balloon or other “brewing” container from your local home-brewing store***
-a cork or plug with a water lock
-swing-top or flip-top beer bottles (the same amount as the amount of juice you use)
-granular sugar* or granular fructose
-100% “conventional” or “natural” (unfiltered) apple juice (any amount you want, just make sure you only fill up your container 3/4ths of the way!!)
-Champagne Yeast (won’t leave a bread flavor and will make really really tiny bubble – like in sparkling wine!)
Make sure the container you are using is really really clean (try a clorox/water solution).
Pour in your desired amount of apple juice and 1 packet of champagne yeast. Notice that I don’t tell you what size a packet is. In all actuality, it doesn’t matter since the amount of yeast will only determine the length of the process.
Place your water lock/stopper on the container and set it in a room-temperature/semi-warm location that is not in direct sun light.
It will start to bubble and you water lock will bob up and down. When the water lock sits flat and doesn’t move up any more, then the first stage is complete. But, don’t drink it just yet!
Using a funnel add 4-5 grams of sugar to each bottle. Then, siphon in the fermented apple juice into each bottle, making sure to leave about 4-5 centimeters of empty space at the top of each bottle.
Flip on the caps, turn a few times to mix the sugar, and then place the bottles on their sides in a dark room-temperature location (like in a cabinet or in your pantry). Depending on how cool or warm your home is the second stage of fermentation will take between 7-14 days (ie: the warmer it is, the faster it will go). You can let it sit longer to really work in. The best tasting one that we had sat for about 3 weeks before we drank it.
You can drink it at room temperature, but I find it tastes best really really cold, so store it in your refrigerator for a whole day before enjoying!
(did I miss any steps, husband??)
Quick Sparkling Apple Wine (1%-2% alcohol content):
Equipment & Ingredients:
-a 1,5 liter plastic bottle with lid (like a used water bottle that you can squeeze)
-1 liter of 100% apple juice (conventional or natural)
-1/8 teaspoon of Champagne yeast
Using a funnel, pour the apple juice into your plastic bottle. Pour in the champagne yeast, screw the lid on really tight, and twirl a bit to mix.
Place the bottle in a warm locations out of direct sun light. This should take about 6-12 hours to harden – squeeze the bottle and you will notice that it’s getting harder and harder to squeeze. Once it’s really hard (can’t squeeze anymore**), place it in your refrigerator. Let it cool – the rest of the day – and then drink!
It’s that simple!
***When we lived in the US, we got our equipment at Austin Homebrew – they ship in the US. Everytime we go back, we bring some of their Champagne yeast with us…it’s just great stuff!
**If you forget about your bottle, it may explode and gush apple wine all over the immediate area. So, make sure you remember, or leave it in your bathtub/shower just in case. This has never happened to us making the sparkling apple wine, but has happened to my husband when brewing beer.
*If you have a sugar intolerance, like I do, don’t worry, once the fermentation process is complete, the sugar will all be gone (the yeast eats it). However, if you are worried that you will drink it before the process is complete (as in you are making a batch in a 7-day hurry instead of a 14-day hurry), you may use granular fructose and achieve the same exact flavor and effect.
See comments #7 & 8 bellow for the straw explanation.