The plan looked nice and simple. A little too simple.
I started to do some extra reading and discussed it a bit with some people who know lots of things about this kind of stuff. I started to notice that pectinase was getting mentioned. A lot.
For those playing at home: Pectinase is an enzyme that breaks down pectin. Pectin is a polysaccharide (big sugar) that is undigested naturally by yeast. There is also a lot of pectin in sour plums. I was using sour plums.
It was becoming pretty obvious that I was going to need some to achieve my goal of crystal clear plum cider.
Then came the roadblocks when looking around for some ready before the pressing day.
It was only a couple of days before Christmas and online suppliers were not going to be able to get any to me in time.
My local home brew store was able to order me some and it would arrive in time, but it would have to be in bulk and not the tiny portion I actually needed. I wasn’t keen buying a scale of magnitude more than what I needed, so I had to pass on that.
I contacted anyone I knew working in a winery or a brewery that has done cider and they were either all out or not around on the holidays so I was left with no choice but to go without.
It couldn’t be that important. Right? So my cider would just be a bit cloudier than I originally wanted. That’s not a deal breaker.
So I gathered up everything that wasn’t pectinase and got to work.
The plums were pitted and fed into the sausage mincer.
The minced plum was wrapped up and put in the cider press.
The cider press was wound down and the plum mince was compressed.
No juice came out. This wasn’t like juicing apples at all.
It turns out that the juice was bound pretty well in the minced plum flesh.
This was an eleventh hour problem. I was out of help options. I had one choice.
All of the pulp in the mincer was scraped out into a fermenter and all further minced plums went in with it. Along with a helpful dosing of potassium metabisulphite. What could go wrong?
What am I doing?
I am making some delicious, crystal clear, sparkling plum cider.
Why am I doing it?
I don’t remember ever having Plum Cider, so why not make some?
Plus, I don’t make much cider. The stuff I do make is nearly always apple cider and it is nearly always working with other people and not as a solo effort.
What am I making it with?
There is a Chinese Plum tree in my yard that produces a modest amount of fruit each year. Sometimes I get to harvest those fruit before the hoards of birds and bats consume them all.
Last year was one of the years that I managed to get a harvest in.
I ended up with about six shopping bags of fruit and a desire to make something from them.
I picked up some cider yeast and borrowed a sausage mincer and cider press. My old glass fermenters were pulled out of storage for their first use and I began wistfully looking at my calendar for a free afternoon.
How am I making it?
The outline was simple (long, but simple):
- Remove the pits from the fruit.
- Put the flesh through the sausage mincer.
- Put the mince in the cider press and make some delicious plum juice in a plastic fermenter.
- Maybe dilute the juice down a bit.
- Add some potassium metabisulfite (precaution after the great lemonade explosion of 2017).
- Wait two days.
- Pitch some yeast.
- Primary ferment until completion.
- Crash chill.
- Transfer into glass fermenters (with some more K-meta).
- Wait 50 days.
- Rack into another glass fermenter (with more K-meta).
- Wait another 50 days.
- Rack into another glass fermenter (with even more K-meta).
- Wait ANOTHER 50 days.
- Package it.
- Drink some delicious, crystal clear, sparkling plum cider in the sun shine.
When am I doing it?
It is already underway. Step 14 of this initial plan has already happened. And so many things have gone different to plan. Stay tuned for what the hell happened.
Hi. I’m Tyrone.
I am a founder and the current President of the Grog Cobras.
I thought I would run a small blog series on this site. Partly to generate some content and partly to provide a creative outlet via writing which has sat dormant for way too long.
I have been home brewing for quite a few years. I started making kit beers in the kitchen with my dad in my late teens and eventually moved on to acquiring my own equipment and setting out on my own.
It took me a while to step out from the safety of kit brewing but once I did I never looked back.
Since stepping up my brewing game I have managed to move into brewing professionally, which has been an incredibly rewarding decision.
I tend to spend way more time than necessary refining recipes and tinkering with the never ending home brewery build slowly taking up my entire workshop.
That being said, in the coming posts I hope to share with you some of the activity going on when I’m brewing out back.
The final major event for the year is done & dusted.
The weather was fantastic as was the crowd, food & beer.
We had 8 beers along for tasting ranging from a Strawberry & Lemon Stout to a Lime & Papya IPA, but the crowd favourite by far was the Cranberry & Blueberry Wheat which saw Joel S & Joel R take the (joint) crown as the latest club champions.
The third annual Grog Cobras Oktoberfest is this weekend.
There is also a last minute location change. Chris M is no longer able to host so we will be moving a few blocks over to Tyrone M’s home. Other than that, all is the same.
coming gone, Oktoberfest 2017 is nearly here.
The Grog Cobras are gearing up to bring you the third annual Oktoberfest celebration.
It’s nearly time to join our Germanic brethren, don some stylish leather shorts and enjoy some hand crafted beers and delicious smoked pig.
On October 28th Chris M’s home will once again transform into the hub for food, friends and frothy beverages.
For just $15 you can purchase a perfect pulled pork poboy and there may just be a home brew or two to wash it down.
Chris M put on a (yet another) tasty spread of food.
The pulled pork wraps (with crackling) were only enhanced by his new range of home made chilli sauces. The crowd in attendance was routinely heading back to the kitchen for seconds (and even thirds).
We saw possibly our strongest display of competition beers for the <3.5% ABV theme.
In the end Chris T’s Chocolate Mocha Porter beat out Jimbo G’s prickly pear cider, making Chris T our new club champion.
Taco Festa is back!
Chris M has stepped up to the plate for a second time after hosting last year’s inaugural fund raiser. The food will be flowing from his garden and kitchen to feed the hungry masses.
The Grog Cobras will also be hosting the next round of their competition series on the night and the event attendees get to be the judges. The club will have entries for the under 3.5% ABV competition ready for tasting on the night.
Champion home brewer
Dominic Tyley-Miller (126)
Champion Wheat Beer
John Fraser (121)
Champion Pale Ale
Timothy Ivan Ward (102)
Grant Smith (127)
Champion Dark Beer
Timothy Ivan Ward (112.5)
Champion Specialty Beer
Deon Smit (107)
2nd Jordan Elwell (96)
3rd John Fraser (93)
2nd Dominic Tyley-Miller (111)
2nd Adrian de Leiros (111)
2nd Sam Harvey (97)
3rd Dominic Tyley Miller (84)
2nd Scott Hunt (123)
3rd Adam C North
4th Aaron Whitehand
2nd James Rimmer (112)
3rd John Fraser (73)
2nd Dominic Tyley-Miller (98)
3rd Roddy Nash (96)
4th Sam Harvey (119)
5th Timothy Ivan Ward (100.5)
6th Gerald Gierer (96)
7th James Rimmer (73.5)
4th Dean Pierce (95.25)
5th Robert Green (92.5)
6th Grant Smith (91.5)
7th Aaron Whitehand (90.75)
8th Damien Mark Carroll (87.75)
9th Grant Cadwallander (78)
10th John Fraser (75.75)
11th Sean Keneally (53.25)
5th Damien Mark Carroll (115)
6th Sam Harvey (107)
7th Dan Koorey (105)
8th Dominic Tyley-Miller (100)
9th Adrian de Leiros (91)
10th Deon Smit (85.5)
11th John Fraser (70)
12th Sean Keneally (31)
4th Aaron Whitehand (100.5)
5th Clayton Morrison (99)
4th Sean Keneally (126)
5th Grant Smith (117)
6th James Rimmer (115.5)
7th Damien Mark Carroll (110.25)
8th Clayton Morrison (107.25)
9th Grant Cadwallander (96.75)
10th Leon Douglass (94.5)
11th Adrian de Leiros (82.5)
12th John Fraser (78)
Please note that the beers were judged in two rounds. In the first round the beers were judged and the top three beers in each category were selected to proceed to the final round.
In the final round the beers were judged to a stricter criteria by a panel of three brewery professionals. The scores reported for the finalists are for the second round of judging. This may have resulted in a finalist having a lower score than a non-finalist. All finalists have placed higher than non-finalists regardless of score.
Full results will be up tomorrow.
For now, the winners address are…
Best Pale Ale:
Timothy Ivan Ward
Timothy Ivan Ward
Champion Home Brewer:
Congratulations guys. Well deserved.