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Old 09-03-2012, 03:50 PM   #1
hownowbrowncow
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Every year I harvest, as much as my arms can handle, the ten trees of crab apples at my disposal. This year I was able to grab roughly 100-120lbs of fresh, bright red, crab apples without using a ladder. I have two old recipes I found in an extremely old wine recipe book from my grand parents for making two types of crab apple wine and I thought I'd share them.

The first one is Crab Apple Wine, cut to a 1 gallon recipe:

6-8 lbs of Crab Apples, washed, sliced in two or crush (NO CUT SEEDS)
1 Gallon of Hot, Boiling water
2 campden tablets, crushed
Petic Enzyme as per directed
1 package of wine yeast, I suggest Champaign Yeast.
3lbs of corn sugar/(or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup honey

Put crab apples in a cheese cloth bag or any straining bag, tie tight and place in fermenter. Pour boiling hot water over the apples, let sit and add campden tablets and petic enzyme when cool, stir well. Leave for 24-48 hours, the apples should be broken down and turned to a fine pulp.

Add yeast and yeast nutrient, stir well, leave for 5-7 days. Stir each day.

On the 6th-8th day (I personally let it sit for the 7 days regardless) strain and discard the apples. Measure the amount of missing water and boil that with 1/2 cup of honey and then add it and the sugar, the SG should be 1.100-1.120. Transfer into secondary with airlock and let sit for three weeks then rack. If you want a sweeter crab apple wine add more honey/honey water every time you rack. Rack every 3 months after the first rack.

When the wine is 6-9 months old, bottle or when fermentation stops if you're adding in honey each rack. I'd give it a 6-12 month wait, open and enjoy.

--------------------------------------

Spiced Crab Apple Wine

6-8 lbs of Crab Apples, washed, sliced in two or crush (NO CUT SEEDS)
1 Gallon of Hot, Boiling water
2 campden tablets, crushed
Petic Enzyme as per directed
1 package of wine yeast, I suggest Champaign Yeast.
3lbs of corn sugar/(or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup honey
*1 table spoon of nutmeg
*1 table spoon of cinnamon/1 cinnamon stick
*1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Same directions as above, just add spices when you add in your sugar.


 
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:27 PM   #2
hownowbrowncow
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Here I am doing a large batch so the steps to the recipe above need to be altered a bit, mainly because of cheese cloth prices and convenience. But here is a quick summary of the steps and ingredients that I am currently doing:

50-56lbs of Crap Apples, Washed and Crushed
10-15 Campden Tablets
7 Grams of Petic Enzyme
Enough Water to Cover Apples in Primary
Leave 12-24 hours (depending on how it breaks down)
Extract 2-3 Litres of Liquid, Heat in Saucepan with desired amount of sugar for 1.100+
(we're looking for 1.100+ SG, natural sugars in the apples should give you about 27.6g/L (1.020) so for 1.105 SG - just over 14% - we'll need add 217.4g or .9 cups per Litre - crazy amount of sugar, I know.. but! Crab Apples are tart)
Once cool, add the sugar mixture back into the fermenter
Pitch yeast and nutrients, Stir Well!
Stir every day.
Strain out apple pulp, discard
Level your water, add 1/2 cup of Honey
Check SG, then transfer to secondary with airlock
Rack again in three weeks, taste - add honey mixture if tart
Rack every 3 months after
At 6-9 months, bottle.

Tonight I brought my apples down to the bathroom and tossed them in the tub, I wasn't quite sure the exact weight of what I had but my estimates were spot on.

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The ferementer weighs 3lbs so I have 53 lbs of Crab Apples sitting in my primary fermenter right now. Now because I am far too lazy to worry about de-stemming them I only worried about taking out the leaves and any debris. I took another picture of what was left in my bath tub, which ended up weighing in at 65lbs left over.
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Enough for me to make a second batch of crab apple wine but I think I'll do the spiced one this year. I just need to go and grab another primary in the morning, cannot seem to ever have enough of them. So for now they'll sit, dirty, in two 26 litre old wine kit tubs till then. (Yes, that is crayon on the wall there - my two year old loves her bath crayons just as much as her normal ones that she uses on all of the other walls)

My next step is to go out side, pour a fair sized portion of the apples into a double bagged plastic garbage bag and crush them with my trusty marble rolling pin, zero effort needed. Then repeat until the whole 53lbs are crushed.

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I'm pretty sure my neighbors think I'm crazy and are on some sort of meds; sitting at the bottom of the steps of my patio, beating a plastic bag with a marble rolling pin, talking to myself as I grunt and moan like a caveman. Yeah, That's right.
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I wasn't too precise with the mashing, oh well - another bag to go and then it is full. My next step is to put water into the primary to cover the apples; it dropped a few inches from where it was when it was full. I'll add 10-15 campden tablets, 7 grams of petic enzyme and call it a night.

Day 2
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This morning I sterilized my trusty big spoon and turned the apples, it is important to ensure that the floating on top be turned under. I noticed a 3 inch gap (sorry this next picture was after I stirred it, so everything mixed) between the apples and the sludge on the bottom that was created over night, good sign!
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As you can see they have broken down very nicely, there is a bit of foam that formed which is expected from the pectin breaking down.
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My next step this afternoon is to take a colander, press down in the middle to push away the apples and give me access to 2-3 litres of the juice liquid. Using a measuring cup I'll scoop out some juice and put it into a saucepan, I'll bring the juice up to 75-80 degrees (just below boiling or a nice slow boil - you don't want to rapid boil the juice, it will change the taste) and add in my sugar to dissolve and after the sugar I'll add in honey. Skim the foam. The water that evaporates, along with the removed foam and floating pulp, from this 2-3 hour process will be replaced with sugar; thus keeping my water level equal.
The juice turned a dark red color, it tasted amazing! I pitched my yeast and added my nutrients - gave it a nice long stir and sealed it up. Tomorrow I'll stir it once then check the temperature.

Day 3
The temperature is sitting at 38 degrees Celsius, huge decrease in the amount of whole apples that are visible from the outside of the tub - they are breaking down nicely. The aroma that came off when I stirred this morning was wonderful, it filled my house with the smell of sweet apples.

Day 4
The temperature is still sitting at 38 degrees - there was a height increase this morning but as soon as I gave it a nice long stir it had went back down. I can start to smell the ethyl alcohol, it's going along quite nicely. The color is beginning to change as well, although I am color blind, I can see a slight tint from the red of the apple skins starting to come out. This will weaken once I strain/add sugar water but I do really like the color it's turning - Maybe I'll look at a way of preserving it.

Day 5
The temperature is sitting at 39 degrees. The height increased so much last night that some liquid spilled out of the fermenter tub, but since then nothing has happened to the levels. The pulp is starting to become very fine, there isn't any chunks left (even from my terrible crush job) and you cannot even smell the yeast/fermenting process as it is masked by the aroma of fresh apples still... but you can sure see it. There is about three and a half inches of floating apple pulp left, by the seventh day I shouldn't have much of any left.

Day 6
The temperature is sitting a little lower today at 37 degrees, it is filling the fermenting room with a strong scent of yeast/fermenting apples. It's nearly ready to rack into my carboy, tomorrow will be the deciding day.

Day 7
The temperature today was 38 degrees and the SG was 1.030. I strained out the pulp, stems and seeds and transferred it to my carboy. I filled my carboy up, put a cloth on the top and waited for it to calm down and put my airlock on. Now this was a day early but my SG level was ready to go so I had to do it today - Now I will leave it for 21 days and rack it again. Sorry for not posting a picture, my wife had taken my tablet with her to a famdamly thing today but I will post a picture of the carboy when she returns.


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Old 09-03-2012, 06:28 PM   #3
Julie
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Hownowbrowncow, it is very rare that we delete a post, and if we do we always contact the poster first to let them.

Thanks for posting this, I know there will be a lot who will follow this thread.
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Old 09-03-2012, 08:21 PM   #4
hownowbrowncow
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Thank you for the reply, Julie. I've added some pictures from my Samsung Galaxy Tab2.

 
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:11 AM   #5
JoaniB
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Augh, the one year (in admittedly the two years I've been living there) that my crab apple tree doesn't produce! Anyway, I'll remember this for next year, thanks! Also, the photos are great, though der Mann would Not Be Happy if I filled a bathtub with apples... ;D
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
hownowbrowncow
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The crab apples I picked aren't even 1/16th of what was in the grass let alone what was in the tree. It was an amazing year for crab apples, honestly wish I had more uses for them - I've got canned spiced crab apples on the go as well as crab apple jelly. These crab apples are Zone 4 (Edmonton is zone 4) but I'm in Zone 3A, so they are really good for iced wines but I have to come up with a good recipe for that.


 
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:25 PM   #7
hownowbrowncow
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Day 7
The temperature today was 38 degrees and the SG was 1.030. I strained out the pulp, stems and seeds and transferred it to my carboy. I filled my carboy up, put a cloth on the top and waited for it to calm down and put my airlock on. Now this was a day early but my SG level was ready to go so I had to do it today - Now I will leave it for 21 days and rack it again. Sorry for not posting a picture, my wife had taken my tablet with her to a famdamly thing today but I will post a picture of the carboy when she returns.
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Old 08-24-2013, 12:22 PM   #8
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This is such an awesome documentation I am bringing this post back to light. This is very close as to what I do also. I just checked the brix on my crab apples and they are at 13.7 which means I'll be adding another 7.3% residue sugar to get it up to 21 brix.

 
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Old 08-24-2013, 05:07 PM   #9
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Looking at making a apple wine with crab apples. I have access to some, I don't believe that they have been sprayed or treated at all. Will they be ok to use. Also can get some Ida Red apples for free. Will mix them for the wine. Any thoughts ? Bakervinyard

 
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Old 08-24-2013, 08:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakervinyard View Post
Looking at making a apple wine with crab apples. I have access to some, I don't believe that they have been sprayed or treated at all. Will they be ok to use. Also can get some Ida Red apples for free. Will mix them for the wine. Any thoughts ? Bakervinyard
As long as the crabs are edible and not ornamental crab apples. You will need to identify what kind you have. I am using Dolgo Crab Apples.

 
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