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The Great TurboCider yeast test - oldbloke's mutterings
January 1st, 2014
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The Great TurboCider yeast test
8waytest1
The Great TurboCider yeast test 2013-12-28
6 tasters versus 8*1gallon batches of TurboCider
All made with the same juice mix but using 4 yeasts, each in both straight and slightly sweetened versions

The WINNER, for those who can't be bothered to read the whole thing, was:
630ml Suma AJ concentrate, 500ml Morrison's cranberry, tsp tannin, tsp nutrient, 4tsp Morrison's sweetener, Young's cider yeast, water to 1 gallon.

Juice choice:
The juice mix was the winner from the 6way test in the summer (where the yeast was always Young's cider)
This is a base of Suma AJ concentrate with cranberry (Morrison's) as an adjunct
Full report of that at: http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=43611

Juice acidity check:
I measured one of my demijohns at 4.8l which, using 500ml of cranberry, leaves 4.3l for Suma AJ concentrate and water.
After a wander round my spreadsheet, decided on 620ml of Suma to 3.68l of water per demi.
Took 31ml of Suma and diluted it to same ratio (184ml water) - roughly 1:6.
Tested with pH paper and titration kit: pH about 3.25 to 3.4, TTA 3.6%
This is bang in the middle of Andrew Lea's recommended range for cider so no acid adjustment to do after all.
It tastes less acid than many cheap supermarket AJs, too: great tasting juice.

Strength:
My refractometer has this juice at 12 Brix, implying 5.8%, but the adjunct juice will drop that slightly
This quantity of Suma should give 1.24 the apple of a standard juice TurboCider without pushing the ABV stupidly high.

The yeasts:
Young's cider, Young's all purpose red wine, Gervin D wine, and Munton's Gold ale
Each gallon got a half sachet

Brewing:
All 8 gallons were started together, so they'd get the same fermenting conditions and aging time.
2013-09-13
All dry ingredients went into the demis first, including yeasts except for the one that needed rehydrating, started that.
They were: A short tsp tannin, 1tsp nutrient, half the demis got 4tsp Morrison's sweetener (sucralose plus some maltodextrin)
Added 500ml Morrison's cranberry, 500ml water.
Did this first in case the yeast was unhappy with the concentrate's sugar level, not that it would have been in it more than a few minutes.
Next 620ml Suma AJ concentrate and 2l of water.
The yeast that had had to be rehydrated went in just before this water so it could be used to rinse out the rehydration vessel (a glass)
There was, mysteriously, about 100ml of Suma left over, so I diluted it with a litre of water and put 150ml of it into each demi.
So we're above 1.24 the apple and probably around 5.8%ABV.
2013-09-14
Had been very worried about the Gervin D - took a long time to get going and as I'd rehydrated it well below recommended temp and
the juices were cool thought I might have killed it, but 30 hours in it had the best krausen.
Then worried instead about the Munton's Gold - looked Ok at the start but had now sunk and looked poorly.
2013-09-17 500ml water into each. Except - Munton's Gold went mouldy: dumped, more Suma ordered... Re-started next day
2013-09-23 Topped up (MG partial)
2013-10-01 Bottled Young's Cider and Gervin D
2013-10-04 Bottled Young's Red wine
2013-10-09 Bottled Munton's Gold

Bottling:
As a fair quantity of them were going to get drunk in one session, I used a 2l PET for part of each gallon. The rest went into my usual 500ml glass bottles. They got 1tsp granulated sugar per 500ml for priming.

Conditioning:
Gave them all a fortnight in the boxroom, then put them all down in the garage for the 8 weeks before the tasting.
Hopefully starting them together and giving them the same conditioning, within a few days, makes it a fair test.

The Results:
All 6 of us had a 250ml plastic cup of each of the 8. Shame I don't have 48 glasses, but that's life.
I like them all... The flavour differences are small but definitely there.
In general, the sweetened versions were all preferred to the straight. As mentioned above, the amount used isn't enough to make it a sweet cider, or even really a medium - it's just enough to take the edge off. The sweetener used has some maltodextrin in it which even at such low dosage can only have helped with the body and mouthfeel.
I've previously said Gervin D maybe gives a slightly funkier cider (they claim it can process malic), and it maybe does but you wouldn't dream of calling this a farmyard cider at all, it's just maybe a bit more that way when compared to the others. And just 'different' in a way that wasn't particularly popular - but it got drunk, nobody left it. Only 1 person had in their top 2 though, and if we had loser votes it would have got at least 1 there. Somewhat idiosyncratic!
The Young's red wine yeast was fairly well received and while initially clean has a slightly fuller fruitier middle and finish. The boys liked this more than the girls did.
Munton's Gold I tried once before and thought it maybe gave a slightly softer fuller flavour. Everybody liked it, and Nick and Iain reckoned it tasted like champagne! This was their winner.
Which makes me think, double up the juice quantities, when the Munton's gives up add some white grape juice and a champagne yeast...
The Young's cider yeast was of course the default from the previous test. Everybody liked it and it was my wife's favourite, and since I make the stuff mainly for her, it's declared the overall winner. But the new default recipe has sweetener.

Afterparty:
And then Nick had never tried the coffee wine or the golden syrup notMead, and there was a quick Irish whiskey vs Bourbon vs rum thing, and ...

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From:nalsa
Date:January 2nd, 2014 11:02 am (UTC)
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Interesting stuff! The champagne analogy especially. Kudos to the taste testers for their dedication to the cause.
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