There are wild berry brambles in the hedgerows around my yard. I harvest tart blackberries and sweet black raspberries by the handful every day and stash them away in freezer bags. Once the season shifts toward the colder months, I can see what I’ve managed to save and decide how to use them!
This tart, dry cider is racked onto a pound (455 g) of foraged summer fruits—try blackberries, black raspberries, wineberries, blueberries or mulberries—to make something truly beautiful.
For the Cider
- 1 gal (3.8 L) apple juice, divided
- 1 cup (240 ml) strongly brewed black tea
- 1/2 cup (100 g) packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp (2.5 g) Safale S-04 dry ale yeast
- 1 lb (455 g) mixed berries, frozen and thawed
1.) Gather your ingredients and sanitize your supplies. For this recipe, you’ll need a 1- or 2-gallon (3.8- or 7.5-L) stockpot, a long spoon, a funnel, a strainer, a gallon (3.8-L) carboy, a straining bag, a 2-gallon (7.5-L) brew bucket, a racking cane and a bung and airlock.
2.) For the cider, warm 1/2 gallon (1.9 L) of the apple juice in the stockpot, but only to about 90°F (32°C). Don’t let the juice boil or you run the risk of creating a pectin haze from the apple juice. Add the tea and brown sugar, and stir until it is all mixed well.
3.) Using the funnel and strainer, pour the warmed apple juice mixture into the carboy and top it off with as much of the remaining 1/2 gallon (1.9 L) of the apple juice for the must to reach the neck of the jug. Pitch the yeast, cover the mouth of the jug and give it a few good shakes to aerate the must and wake up the yeast.
4.) Seal the jug with the bung and airlock. Label the jug with the brew name and date and let the wine ferment for 2 weeks.
5.) For racking, put the fruit in the straining bag. Place the bag in the brew bucket and press it with the spoon to release the juices. Rack the cider from the carboy into the brew bucket, avoiding the lees at the bottom of the jug.
6.) Give the berries a few days to infuse into the cider before bottling. Pick up the bucket and give it a swish daily to make sure that there is no mold growth on the surface of the cider. Bottle (page 84) when ready.
Recipe Note: Summer Berry Cider is delightful when bottled as is, but it excels when it is bottled with priming sugar so that it has some sparkle!
More from Artisanal Small-Batch Brewing
Reprinted with permission from Artisanal Small-Batch Brewing by Amber Shehan, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Jen CK Jacobs.