Applejack

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MrHerbington

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So I made some Applejack a year ago, it has been aging in the fridge since. I am using self toasted Alder chips (sold for smoking originally) with 4 levels of toast from untoasted to heavy, untoasted apple, untoasted Sorbus aucuparia (mountain-ash) and finally some medium toasted american oak. Has mellowed out very nicely. I've been filtering the wood out few times and added another wood to not over age it. Also spent some months without any wood. Month or so per a type of wood, and lesser amounts of heavy toasted alder. So 4 types of different woods

The project began with 8 types of apple juice and one bottle of maple syrup to get as much complexity I can. Brewed with hard cider pack and cider yeast, fermented to dryness, cleared it, froze it and concentrated it until it no longer froze. IDK the alcohol percentage nor do I care but originally I had some 9 liters of the stuff and now I have just a bit over 1 liter. Sweetened it with some more mapple syrup and saved a bit of unsweetened to dial the sweetness, originally I over sweetened it a bit so very helpful decision. Also had multiple times a very fine layer of sediment during fridge aging, and it has gotten very clear and nice eventually.
 

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MrHerbington

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The alder chips, have a plenty of them for some future projects.

Final stage of mountain-ash and oak, pictures taken today.
 

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MrHerbington

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Control bottle with zero wood and no sweetening (as far as I can remember), even has some sediment left. 30cl or so. Poured the clear part to another bottle after taking a pic, need to move to a smaller bottle to salvage the rest.

Smells heavily of apple, maple and some alcohol. Very sweet odor, brandy/liqueur like. Hint of fresh apple but mostly very dank.

Taste is sweet-ish but also dry, might be some unfermentable sugars in the mapple syrup? It has this spicy/harsh taste which has mellowed out considerably compared to what it was in the first weeks, it was almost undrinkably harsh/spicy/tart but now it's enjoyable, spicy winter apple bewerage which will warm your mouth nicely. Lingering dryness in the mouth after you finish drinking it and the sweetness has subsided. I think maybe the sour/tart/harsh taste is from malic acid? It does balance the sweetness though, and kind of belongs to the product. Some of the spicy could also be some other concentrated lesser alcohols. I've read that applejack will produce hell of a hangover because of the concentration of other alcohols than ethanol. Still, can't be worse than loads of hard cider, just lesser amount needed.

It had also this yeast-kind of flavor in the beginning which has disappeared fortunately (sediment?)

Weird but enjoyable dry tannin like apple aroma will linger in the mouth for a good while after. At the same time massive, dank and deep sweetness will stay in your nose and won't leave.
 

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MrHerbington

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The main bottle

Definitely darker, obviously more red. There is no alcohol smell, and far less sweeter aroma. There is subtle apple and maple aroma. No fresh apple in this one. The control bottle had overpowering aromas of everything, this has been obviously tamed, still has the same character/soul, but much less attacking. I would say this one is far more enjoyable. If I inhale it very deeply there's the alcohol odor, but very mellow. Taste is way better than the control. It tastes sweeter (obviously, as it has added sugar), less spicy, less tart, more complex, moutfeel is more lubricating than dry. Has the same warming effect but milder. Hints of vanilla, the apple taste is more round and deeper. Ever so slight smokiness which is not readily apparent, and some rum like attributes. Very subtle and light wood taste, probably due cold aging. I can imagine this having way more wood if aged at room temp. It could use a bit more wood, so I won't filter it yet.

Surprisingly great even though this is the first time ever making this kind of product. Almost all of the spicy/tart/harsh aroma/taste is gone, but just a bit left to give it a bite which it needs. I'll probably blend a tiny amount from the control bottle to this to keep it from going too mellow.
 

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MrHerbington

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Yes, interesting!
I've thought of doing AJ. I'll be doing some wine, some apple cider vinegar, maybe I'll add this to the list.
I will do more of this from actual apples at some point as I have steady supply of free apple. Also vinegar.

Some kind of apple pie cinnamon Applejack could be great. Aging with vanilla pod could also work nicely.
 
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