I made my first batch of alcohol, also known as hard cider! I did it without all the modern equipment and stuff, so it was a simple process and it worked! Thanks to a guy online by the name of Genius who encouraged me.
Here is what I did:
In a 2 gallon glass jar with a loose glass lid, add 1 gallon Treetop Fresh Pressed Honeycrisp Apple Juice.
Heat 1/2 gallon bottled water to dissolve 6 cups sugar, then add to juice.
Add 1/2 packet yeast to 1 cup warm water plus 1 Tablespoon sugar. When proofed, add to juice.
Cover loosely, and stir lightly every other day. Keep under 70°F, I kept mine between 60 and 70°F. Leave for 3 to 5 weeks until it stops bubbling.
Siphon into jar two through 4 layers of muslin, leaving residue in jar one. At this point you can add more dissolved sugar. I do not have a test meter yet, so I did a taste test. I think it has plenty of alcohol and did not add more sugar. Leave in jar two for 2 more weeks. Carefully bottle leaving residue behind. The cider will clear. After a few days, test bottles for continued fermentation and relieve pressure.
I have just decanted to jar two. I did taste the hard cider and it is pleasantly mild with an alcohol bite. I am growing apple trees and one day will blend sweet, sharp, and bitter apples for a complex flavor. But for now I am proving to myself that I can make alcohol. When my food forest comes online I will be ready.
I have several alcohol recipes I want to try, one is Elderflower Wine, and the other is Prickly Pear Mead. Yum.
The Green D’Anjou Pears I bought for experiment two are not quite as ripe as I would have them. I will give them a day or two before I start a pear concoction. Recipes and suggestions are welcome.
As for the inch or so of liquid and residue I left in the bottom of jar one, I added a tablespoon of pure cane sugar to check for yeast activity. It bubbled quickly so I still have yeast. I wonder if you can keep it alive like a sourdough starter and make more hooch?
Tomorrow I will use some of this residual hard cider to bake bread. It should taste good, I will let you know. Could it become a new sourdough starter if I feed it flour and sugar, or instant potato flakes? I will find out, comments welcome.
I am pleased to find out that in winemaking, like breadmaking, like compost making… the little guys do all the heavy lifting.
Now that I have tried the process, I feel confident that I can keep studying and practicing and improve my product. I have always wanted to make wine, which is odd for a non drinker! My son is documenting our family history and found a string of French vintners back there. Must be in my DNA… does that mean I will have a drinkable wine one day? That would be sweet. Or dry.