Wednesday, March 9, 2011


A couple of years ago, we got some apples pressed into cider, and I decided to try brewing hard cider.  We loved it!  Well, I pretty much always prefer a good beer, but this is much cheaper for us.  So last fall, I again made hard cider and we've been enjoying it all winter, with more still aging in the basement.  But I also decided to try another experiment-- cyser.  Cyser is also called "apple mead".  Mead is a fermented drink made with honey, and cyser is made with apple cider and honey.  It takes a  good long time to ferment, and then there's the fact that I am lazy and tend to procrastinate, so I just got around to bottling it today.

I made one batch with just apple juice and honey from our Amish neighbor just over the field.  To the other batch, I added some fox grape juice I had made with wild grapes I had the good fortune of finding (and beating the birds to!) near the compost pile.

We tasted a little before bottling.  Nathan likes it quite well, but I think it is lacking a bit in flavor.  It fermented quite dry, and is pretty strong.  It has a winey flavor, especially the grape version, and a slight taste of honey and apple.  But there's more of an alcohol kick than there is flavor, I think.  But it's still good and drinkable and I call it a successful first try!  (And lets face it, I'm just partial to dark beer and Italian wine...)  When I bottled it, I added some fresh ginger to one of the apple bottles, and a cinnamon stick and a few whole cloves to another.  Perhaps that will provide the flavor I'm looking for.    In one of the grape bottles, I also added a bit more honey to see if I can come up with a sparkling version.

I guess I have a bit of an addiction to fermentation.  The surprise of the results is always so fun (or not... one of my vinegar bottles developed some mold, and one from a couple years ago smells like vomit...) and usually delicious.  Hey speaking of that, I think I have some beer ingredients around... I should go start a batch.


  1. You are a hoot! I should go back to the Lutheran church! You are the coolest pastor's wife I know, and really I mean that as a compliment. A few denominations get into the tea totaling thing. I have always enjoyed a little wine and beer my self. But you MAKE it! That is great. So how about a little still in the yard? I'd love to taste the mead. Do you like to warm it up?

  2. ps and serve with fresh warm sourdough bread and cheese. Also some slices of fruit....devine.

  3. Karen, Katie's former Lutheran pastor (our current one) also makes beer and such. (And has a large quirky collection of brandies and liquers). He would be interested in your experiments, Katie.

  4. I'm not sure how I came across your blog, but I am just getting interested in fermenting. Where do I go for info? Help!

  5. Many people have learned a lot from the book /Nourishing Traditions/ by Sally Fallon. Another good one is /Wild Fermentation/ by Sandor Katz. You might check out The Weston A Price Foundation, as well as the yahoo group called DiscussingNT which is all about Nourishing Traditions, with tons of great fermentation info! Happy fermenting! Thanks for checking out my blog!