11/18/18: Some Crazy Homebrew Ciders (a Semi-Sponsored Post)

12:23 PM

This is a post that, unbeknownst to you, can trace its roots back to February. See, during my bachelor party, my guys and I decided to brew some ciders that we'd crack into the night before the wedding. We all got our own ingredients and concocted some of the coolest cider's I've ever had. I was charged with keeping the stuff as it fermented and bottling it once it was all done.

My groomsmen all made rad ciders--with berries and teas and rose hips--but, since I'm me, I went with something out of left field. My cider had peanut butter and anaheim peppers. The final ABV of it clocked in over 8%.

I took it upon myself to sample my cider while bottling it. I was astounded by it--it was good! Who would've thought it? I posted about it on social media and one of my buddies from high school shot me a message. At the time, he worked for Probar, a food company that makes organic, non-GMO bars and nut butters. Having seen my post about the crazy cider I'd made, he wondered if I'd be interested in making some other crazy ciders with Probar goods. I agreed in an instant.

I came home from work a short time later to find a package from Probar waiting for me. It contained peanut butter, sriracha peanut butter, coconut almond butter, coconut almond bites, and chocolate coconut meal bars. A few days later I ran out to get some peppers, yeast, and pasteurized organic apple juice. Now, months later, I'm finally able to break into these ciders to see how they turned out. And you, lucky you!, get to follow along with me.

First up is Hell of a Wedding, the remaking of the peanut butter and anaheim cider I made for my wedding. I used the peanut butter Probar sent for this.

Dicing peppers for the cider.
The bouquet of the second batch of the stuff is exactly like that of the first--all peanut butter with a hint of that good pepper spice.

The flavor, however, is dryer. While the original had a sweet quality about it, the organic peanut butter employed here gives a heavier unsalted peanut flavor. The spice from the peppers, noted in the aroma, is here in the finish but it's not as hot as I'd like it to be.

Overall, this is an okay reworking of my wedding classic. It's a little too watery for my liking (possibly because it used organic peanut butter as opposed to the processed stuff the first batch used) and the ABV shrank from the original's 8.97% to 5.91%. On a seven-point rating scale, which is what I'll be using for this post, it gets a 4/7. Peanutty, with a hint of heat.

Next up is Peanut, Sweet and Hot. This cider was brewed with the sriracha peanut butter from Probar. After primary fermentation, I added a jar of honey to it, figuring the sweetness of it would play well with the spice. The end result clocks in at 5.25% ABV.

The aroma of the cider is indistinguishable from the one preceding it: all peanut butter with a tad bit of spice from the sriracha. 

However, the heat I expected Hell of a Wedding in here, in Peanut, Sweet and Hot's flavor. It packs a wallop and pairs perfectly with the sweetness given to the cider from the added honey.

This turned out exactly like I'd expected. It isn't going to knock anyone's socks off, but it is a good recipe to have in my repertoire. Next time, I'll play with the ingredients a little more to see about bringing out the actual honey flavor a little more--all the honey serves to do in this bottle is add residual sweetness. Regardless, the cider gets a 6/7.

Last up is the most experimental of the ciders I made with the Probar goods: For When You Feel Like a Nut. This 4.99% ABV brew was made with the coconut almond butter, the chocolate coconut meal bar, and the coconut almond bites. I also threw some melted milk chocolate candy bars into its secondary fermentation.

The coconut is strong on the cider's nose, although it is a little dry. A deep whiff also yields some chocolate and there's a wisp of almond here, too.

The chocolate, the coconut, and the almost all mix swimmingly within the cider's flavor. The coconut overpowers the others by a slight margin, but it's still incredibly subtle. The apple quality here is front and center, and I'm amazed at how the other aspects of the cider fit so well around it.

For When You Feel Like a Nut is the best of the ciders I brewed with Probar's supplies. It's intriguing and something wholly unlike any other cider I've ever had. It nets an easy 7/7 for itself.

You know, this was a really fun experiment. Thank you to Probar for sending me all the rad ingredients needed for this. I guess, in closing, I want to say that oddball ciders are great stuff and they're things you'll never really find on the market. If you feel inspired, it's easy to make your own crazy ciders and share them with your friends. If you do, be sure to let me know how they turn out in the comments!

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