Apple juice and beer are pretty good together if the sales numbers are to be believed.
Quite a few things have happened since the experiments I’ve been conducting and I think it’s safe to say that I really enjoy the interaction between the acids in apple juice and the base malts that are used in the house lager we produce. It provides, in a very real way, an alternative to the approach to brut-style brewing, and the fermentability of the fructose makes for a very interesting body with the lager.
A few things have become fairly clear based on the experiments, however:
- The presence of malic acid in the juice gives the “lift” and tartness of apples that works so well with the lager, but appears to be consumed by the lager yeast we use as our house strain.
- The flavor profile of the fully fermented cider is even more delicate, or naked, than the lager we typically brew. Any faults are even more pronounced, with perceived presence of diAc or sulfides/sulfites from the juice, even more apparent – even at threshold levels (tested and quantified) at 2ppm or lower.
- The combination is incredibly drinkable – which raises the question of whether it is best to experiment in a realm above 4% ABV, or if this is best utilized as a “session” style beverage lower than 4%.
I’m incredibly glad the reception to the experimental beers has been positive, and hopefully once the brew is tested against a larger market, I’ll know if there’s potential beyond the tap house.