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Cranberry Hemp Apple Cider
The purpose of this BrewSummary was to find out if using cider and fruit puree instead of water with Vintner’s Best Hemp Wine would yield a better, more alcoholic product than just following the instructions on the wine base. We used about 4.5 gallons of fresh, not from concentrate apple juice instead of water along with the Hemp Wine Base to create a fermentation that was (in theory) not only healthy, but delicious.
First, we added Star San to the fermentation bucket to sanitize it, then moved the Star San solution over to another bucket to hold the sanitizer and all of our fermentation components, like the airlock, to sanitize them and have them ready to go. We poured in 2 gallons of apple juice, then the entire gallon of Vintner’s Harvest Hemp Wine Base. We used another gallon of apple juice to rinse out the Hemp Wine Base container.
From there, we sanitized the top of the Vintner’s Harvest Cranberry Puree and a can opener. We opened the can and dumped the entire contents into the fermentation bucket. We added 2 teaspoons of Pectic Enzyme.
Using the rest of the apple juice, we topped the whole thing off until we had 5.5 gallons of must. Sprinkling on the entire package of Red Star Premier Cuvee, which is a champagne strain, we locked it all up and allowed 2 weeks for fermentation to happen at room temperature. Original Gravity was perfect at 1.112.
After 2 weeks, final gravity was 1.010, putting this Cranberry Hemp Holiday Cider at nice, easy drinking 13.4%. We transferred into a ball lock keg using our auto siphon, transfer tubing and gravity, and sealed it. We attached CO2 and purged out any extra oxygen, then ramped the pressure up to 25 psi for 3 days, then purged the excess pressure out and lowered down the psi to 15 for slightly higher carbonation level in the finished cider.
A big part of this idea was to have a nice, easy drinking cider to share at Thanksgiving dinner and test out the Vintner’s Harvest Hemp Wine to see how it tasted. This wine base boasts 0.5 mg of CBD isolate per 8 oz, so we wanted to see how it tasted and performed in the fermenter.
We were pleasantly surprised by the dry, crisp finish, even with ten gravity points left, and the flavor and aroma is fruit forward, with no dank or hemp seed characteristics in the flavor or the aroma. The wine base, and usually cider as well, is generally a little more acidic, which always gives more of a perception of dryness. The champagne strain accentuated this, giving us a cider that was pleasantly acidic without being too overbearing.
The cranberry aspect was a little bit more subdued than we really wanted, adding just a hint of color and a very light cranberry aroma. Next time we make this holiday cider, we’ll definitely use 2 full cans of cranberry puree, and maybe even supplement a little bit with cranberry flavoring to round out the character and make it more forward.
All in all, the cider was a hit with it’s slightly higher, Sauvignon Blanc like acidity and fruit forward flavor and aroma. The CBD content is a bonus for muscle aches and a wide variety of positive health benefits, and it would have been fun to sit it down for a month or two of aging to see how the flavors matured. Unfortunately, it didn’t last that long!