Making Fall Harvest Cyser

With a recent honey harvest and fall upon us what a more appropriate thing to do than make a fall harvest cyser mead?

This cyser should ferment out with a distinct apple nose, supported with lots of honey and a hint of spiciness from the dates and raisins, and be quite alcoholic.

I based this recipe on Ken Schramm's "Fall Bounty Cyser" from his "The Compleat Meadmaker" book and modified it slightly.

Having learned a couple of lessons from my last batch of Blackberry mead, I decided to do a couple of things different: do primary fermentation in a larger bucket and start the batch slightly larger than the desired outcome to account for loss due to sediment.

I used the following recipe for a 2.5 gallon batch.

2 gallons cider (Louisburg Pure Cider)
5 3/4 cups honey (4.3 pounds)
1.5 tsp nutrient
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped dates
3/4 cup raisins
5g (one packet) Lalvin D47 yeast

Original Gravity: 1.115
Original Brix: 27
Alcohol Potential: 15%

Finding fresh, raw cider was harder than I thought. I even went to a small family farm who sold cider, but they used preservatives in their cider.

Any type of preservative will prevent the cider from fermenting, and the mead will never work (pasteurized cider is OK though).

I settled for Louisburg's old fashion, pasteurized, no preservative cider. It's complete with pulp, cloudiness and other goodies that yeast love.

Adding Cider

To the cider, I added in the honey and other ingredients.

Adding Honey

Then using a whisk I stirred, and stirred and stirred until I got as much air and foam into the must as possible.

Before pitching the yeast, I drew a sample and measure the original gravity, brix and potential alcohol.

OG Reading

Original Gravity: 1.115
Original Brix: 27
Alcohol Potential: 15%

For later comparison of color and clarity, here's how the mead looked right before I put the lid on.

With the air lock in place, I carried it down to the workshop where it will spend several months turning into great mead.

 Fall Harvest Mead

After the initial primary fermentation is over, I'll rack them into the glass jugs like the Blackberry and Traditional meads are in for secondary fermentation and bulk aging.

I can't wait to see how this one is going to turn out.

Update: Feb 16 2013 Bottling the Fall Harvest Cyser

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