Episode 29 – Applejack

KevinApple Wine, Applejack, Apples, Cider, Cider Making, From the Cellar, From the Garden, Fruit from the Yard, Wine11 Comments

Applejack Made by Freezing Apple Cider/Wine

Applejack is a hard liquor of 20-30% abv that can only be made when it’s extremely cold out. For that, it is special to me. Its flavours and smells cannot be created in warmer climates – perhaps why the Normands don’t do applejack despite their apple-booze culture…they simply can’t. It’s extra special due to the fact that distilling booze to make spirits is illegal here – big time. But this isn’t. I spoke to 4 people at the AGLC [all strangely helpful and nice] before finding out if posting this would incriminate me. The guy at the top didn’t even know what applejack was, and had to look it up and get back to me. Apparently I am into the obscure. Clearly couldn’t be something they were enforcing if they didn’t even know what it was, no? Had to be sure though, and in the end, the authorities gave me the okay – but do check with the authorities in your jurisdiction prior to trying it, finding yourself in the slammer, and blaming it on me. Don’t do that.

You could try this with a full bodied white on the sweeter side if you want to give it a go and are short on cider [not a problem I have]. My one suggestion having done it is that you’d want to use as high quality an input as you can – use your good stuff, not your ‘this-sucks-but-maybe-if-I-Applejack-it-stuff’ – as it will concentrate the good, but also the bad. More, in the video.

11 Comments on “Episode 29 – Applejack”

  1. Marcus

    Way cool. I think you could mark this down as the most innovative use of a salad spinner ever! How much jack did you get from 5 gallons of wine?

  2. jeff

    ya curious as to the amount of finished product after using up a whole 23ltrs of apple wine.

    looks cold out there. and it was fantastic????

  3. Deb Krause

    @Marcus: I was wondering the same thing… I can’t imagine the yield was very high.

    That being said, if it tasted good enough then yield be damned! as long as it’s enough for you ;) lol

  4. Kevin

    Yield is inconclusive at this point, as I have the second bucket doing time for another month or two, and I added the slush back from the first bucket into that one to further release its goods. Thinking it through though, if you’re say trippling the ABV [10-30%], you’re reducing the volume by 3X. So say 12L for easy math, would have turned into 4L of jack.I only spun a couple bottles to give it a go, as it’s a time-eater compared to drilling into the core of booze when it’s frozen up properly, which it apparently does. That sounds a whole lot easier. And faster.

    Worth mentioning: I crushed about a half tonne of apples this fall [10 carboys], so donating a carboy to some applejack is no dent in the cellar stash, and some diversification of types of drinks to enjoy. It also gives me something to appreciate the nasty cold for, if nothing else.

  5. Judy Z

    I am questioning if you really need to do this in 30 below weather. Ultimately all you want to do is freeze the water, right? Water freezes at zero. It seems to me that 10 or 15 below would be perfectly adequate for the task. and would not risk frostbite quite as quickly. Granted this year that would have to be an over night task as it seems to have been above zero every day except for those two super cold days.

    I’m wondering how the greens in your cold frame fared on those two cold days. Did anything survive or are they completely toast?

  6. Andrew

    I would think the colder it is, the more the booze is separated from the water…so -30 would push out far more boos then -2.

    Looks like a superb way to spend a week’s worth of awful cold.

  7. jeff

    i would imagine that one could do the same process for any fruit wine no??? saskatoon jack?? or raspberry jack?

    if the harvest of sasktoons was in the same quantities as the apples, it would be easier to donate a carboy to the cause.

    We need to look further into this distillation thing. seems very promising.

  8. Judy Z

    I’m still not sure I understand why colder temperatures yield higher alcohol content. The only theory I can come up with has to do with the antifreeze effect of the alcohol as it becomes more concentrated. Imagine the content at 45 below as we sometimes get. In my search for answers one site indicated 30 below produces 33% alcohol.

    One bit of info I gleaned from my research was the suggestion that if you freeze your wine or cider in a milk jug or other narrow necked bottle, once it is frozen you can turn the bottle upside down suspended over a container. The concentrated apple jack drips out and the ice is left in the bottle. Voila, less work for you!! It seemed like a great idea to me.

  9. Andrew

    It would be like freezing saltwater — the cooling liquid starts to drive out the substances that don’t freeze (like salt) until the ice is basically fresh and the brine left is super concentrated. The alcohol can’t freeze but the water can, so the water molecules would squeeze out their booze and sugar content; the sugars would probably stay contained in the alcohol. The colder a liquid was, the more the freezing water would squeeze out the booze. The applejack straight from the bucket would have had an ambient temperature of about -35 or whatever it was that week — and it was still liquid.

  10. Deb Krause

    I just read a little blurb in Canadian Living (Feb issue) on Quebec’s Ice Cider. It’s like ice wine in that they let the apples freeze on the trees before they press them.
    might be something new to try for next year…

  11. Ashley

    hi Kevin,
    my hubby and I got a chance to sit down and watch a bunch of your videos last night- we really enjoyed them! If it gets cold enough here next year, we’ll have to try this, perhaps with some other home made wines too.
    I really enjoyed seeing how you make your apple wine in one of the other videos too. Goodness knows, there are enough apples that get wasted every year that maybe we’ll attempt to salvage some this year in addition to what comes off our own tree. I like that garbeurator thing you have rigged up for crushing the apples.

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