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11-02-00

New Glarus Apple Ale Beer Review

I don’t often get a chance to drink a New Glarus Brewing Company beer but when I do, I have found them interesting and enjoyable. My buddy Mike views out that way and usually tries to bring me back a bottle or two of their stuff when he comes home. On his last trip back he brought be a bottle of their Apple Ale.

Apple Ale looks exactly like an apple cider that has been carbonated. It has a thin white head and has a cloudy appearance. The nose is not like any type of beer that I have ever had. It smells like fresh apple cider. There is not hint that there is alcohol in this beer or anything else to let you know that it is an adult beverage. There are no hops, spices, heat, or anything else. It is purely apple cider, and it does a wonderful job of it.

New Glarus Apple AleOn the first taste you get a great fresh squeezed apple flavor. The sweetness is there and then a nice tartness comes in. It is just like biting into a hybrid red macintosh and green granny smith apple. It has a nice balance and flows perfectly. There carbonation that is present helps lighten up the drink a bit and elevates the flavors.

This is a nice “beer” that is easy drinking and refreshing. I really enjoyed this on the other night with a fire going. It fits the fall season perfectly. It’s a different style drink from what I usually have and it was a nice change of pace.

Hard Cider experiment

09-05-15-02Back in October I was really getting going with homebrewing. I was making a new batch a week. Something sparked my interest and I wanted to try and do a hard cider. It didn’t sound too hard, there was no boiling, just combining ingredents and waiting for awhile. I read around and found a few ideas on what to use and the kinds of cider to look for.

When you are making a cider the most important thing to do, if you are buying your cider, is to make sure that it has no preseratives. If it does, it is not going to ferment and in a few months you will have spoiled cider. Some people go through the trouble of mashing their own apples, collecting the jucies and all of that. For a first try, and possibly only try, I was not going to attempt that. I went with the following recipe:

  • 5 gallons apple cider from local orchard
  • 2 lbs honey
  • 2.5 lbs brown sugar
  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • Champagne yeast (homebrew store was out of cider yeast and I had read champagne yeast would be fine)

09-05-15-01I went with the sugars to add a little flavor and alochol. The powdered sugar wasn’t something I was going to the store to get, but it was a buck for two pounds, so I figured why not? I got home and put two gallons in my boil pot. I wanted to raise the temp to around 120 degrees so that the sugars would disolve more easily into the soultion. The remain liquid I put into a sanitized bucket. Once disolved, I combined everything and let it sit for a day as was recomended by some research.

A day later I added the yeast and waited for things to happen. Another day passed and fermenation had clearly begun. The smell of rotten eggs is apparently pretty common, and I got to expericene the smell for myself. It was very strong and stayed for about two weeks. My original plan was to have this ready for Thanksgiving (heck I gave myself two months), but I quickly learned this stuff takes forever. After two and a half months it was ready for transfer to a secondary. It sat there until the end of April when I finally bottled it. It had fully cleared as you can tell by the pictures and it smelled pretty wonderful.

09-05-15-03I might of made a mistake when bottling, I put it into 22 oz bottles. I never got a good gravity reading on this with my hydrometer but I’m guessing it is in the 12-15% range, if not a little higher. I did not carbonate the bottles for fear of putting the wrong amount of sugar in there and the yeast has been dormant for a few months. I believe there are still some unfermented sugars anyway becasue it tastes a bit sweet and the cold weather came early this year, mean my closet with the access to the crawl space was pretty chilly. I’m waiting a little longer before I try a bottle for myself but I enjoyed what I tasted when I was bottling. I don’t know how good it is compared to other ciders but I enjoyed it and I think I would try it again given the chance.