Author Topic: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider  (Read 2135 times)

Rossa

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[Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« on: August 29, 2014, 11:36:23 AM »
Many thanks to http://www.homebrewwest.ie/ for putting these kits up for raffle and LordEoin for organising it.

FULL DISCLOSURE - It's been over 14 years since my last kit and I really thought I would never return. Delighted to say my head has been turned.

Firstly the box and graphics impressed me. No tin of extract and yeast sachet stuck to the lid as of 14 years ago. Instead a  foil pouche holds the extract and all the ingredients are well labelled.



Whats in the Box?



Easy to follow instructions
2.4kg concentrate (apple and cherry)
1kg Dextrose
Cherry Flavour sachet
Sweetener sachet
Yeast and nutrient.



GETTING STARTED

Like other products in the craft range the instructions are quite similar-

1 - Thoroughly clean and sterilise all equipment with cleaner and sanitiser.
2 - Stand the pouches in warm water for 15 minutes to soften the extract.
3 - Carefully cut the pouches open and pour the malt extract into your bucket.  Rinse out any remains by rolling and squeezing the pouch remains into the bucket.
4 - Boil 3 litres of water, add to bucket and stir ensuring the malt and water are well mixed.
5 - Top up to 23 litres using tap water and again stir well.
6 - Check that the temperature is below 24 oC then add the contents of The Beer Yeast sachet and stir.
7 - Fit an airlock and grommet to the fermenter lid then secure the lid to the fermenter, ensuring that the seal is air-tight.  One third fill the airlock 'U' with water to protect the beer during fermentation.

Very straightforward. 



I took the added the step of measuring my water the night before and let it sit overnight to remove any chlorine.

I did find it difficult to get the wort down much below 24 as the ambient temperature was about 25c but it took off like an express train with a beautiful sulphur aroma meeting me every morning when I entered the kitchen.  As advertised in the instructions the cider stopped at a final gravity of 1004. Not too dry but the beauty of this kit if you get to decide how much cherry flavour you want to add and how sweet you want the finished cider to be.
They suggest you add half the sweetener initially and continue to taste and add sweetener until you have the cider you want. I think this is a great approach. It may be a kit but you are not constrained by the finished product.

I kegged 19l and put the rest in a demijohn with the idea of bottling it and having a taste off. I added most of the sweetener to the keg and the cherry flavour sachet was split  with most going in the keg. On kegging the cider was crystal clear and I could even see the indentation in the yeast where the auto-siphon sat. The yeast cake was extremely compact and even took a bit of effort to get it out of the fv when cleaning.

It is recommended to have the cider 'over ice' but mine was well chilled in the kegerator. Within two days we were drinking the cider from the keg and were delighted with it. The only problem was that is was a little sweet (for me but not for my wife). I brought some of this to  a Capital Brewers meet up and most in attendance seemed to think it was more than drinkable and some even mentioned that it was a little like drinking  cherry lemonade.

Over the next two weeks I came to the conclusion it was too  sweet, although very drinkable,  and decided to add some of the cider from the demijohn to the keg to dry it out a little and dilute the sweetness. This worked very well and now the cider has more complexity with a little bite and  is certainly more refreshing.

Conclusion
I would recommend this kit and I can imagine a beginner brewer being extremely happy with the results. It has turned my head. It won't be another 14 years until I do my next kit. The best thing about the results is that my wife has really taken to it. She never really likes the beer I brew apart from the odd weiss or saison so it is nice to have something on tap she can enjoy and acts as a little pay back for living in a house full of brewing gear.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2014, 11:54:40 AM by Rossa »

HomeBrewWest

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2014, 11:44:26 AM »
Thanks Rossa. This is really great feedback.

We need to change the instructions to:
- add only HALF the sweetener sachet.

Also, this cider needs to be poured over ice . . . makes a huge difference.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” Abraham Lincoln. www.homebrewwest.ie

Rossa

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2014, 11:55:03 AM »
Thanks Rossa. This is really great feedback.

We need to change the instructions to:
- add only HALF the sweetener sachet.

Also, this cider needs to be poured over ice . . . makes a huge difference.

How's that now?

HomeBrewWest

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2014, 12:26:30 PM »
We have found that these kits are:
- too dry/bitter with no sweetener,
- too sweet with all the sweetener, and
- just perfect with about half the sweetener.

I think you would agree?
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.” Abraham Lincoln. www.homebrewwest.ie

Rossa

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2014, 12:35:26 PM »
We have found that these kits are:
- too dry/bitter with no sweetener,
- too sweet with all the sweetener, and
- just perfect with about half the sweetener.

I think you would agree?

The beauty is you can have all 3 options. I used most of the sweetener in a concentrated manner then diluted it by adding more unsweetened cider. If someone was unsure they can add it bit by bit (granted it is easier when kegging) but for those with a sweet tooth or looking for something to please the Kopparberg lover in your life it covers all bases!

irish_goat

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2014, 12:46:57 PM »
Does your wife normally drink Koppaberg? Have a few friends who would drink away at the stuff so I was thinking of doing a batch of something similar for Christmas.

Rossa

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2014, 12:59:50 PM »
She has been known to. I just don't want the rumour to stick. She has her career to think about.

LordEoin

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2014, 01:53:08 PM »
Great job. glad the first kit in 14 years has swayed you! :D
Come back to the kit side Rossa...

Will_D

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2014, 11:20:48 PM »
Rossa, What was your OG?

Mine is about 1.055 which is a bit higher than I reckon for a 5.2% but we shall see
Remember: The Nationals are just round the corner - time to get brewing

Rossa

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Re: [Review] Craft Range Cherry Cider
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2014, 07:27:24 PM »
I can't find the sheet I wrote it on but I think it was 1045/47. 4.7%abv I think.

Tonight I'm blending it with the cider group buy from the first year (I've a few litres left) and it is great. Great match for the last day of summer.