Cabernet Sauvignon Cider - Adding Grape Skins to Cider

Cabernet Sauvignon Cider - Adding Grape Skins to Cider

Cider fermented with Red Wine yeast and Red grape skins - OMG its amazing! Using Cabernet Sauvignon grape skins to turn a John Bull Cider into something extra special.
Email - Sent on 29/05/2024 Reading Cabernet Sauvignon Cider - Adding Grape Skins to Cider 4 minutes Next Email - Sent on 20/06/2024

I was making a VineCo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon red wine kit that had grape skins and lots of oak as part of the brewing process.  You had to put them in a muslin bag and leave it to float in the wine during the fermentation. At the end of the fermentation, I had to remove the bag of grape skins and oak chips and I was meant to throw them away, but they had so much colour and so much aroma, I thought I would try something different.

I thought I would 2 cans of John Bull Cider kits, top them up to 23 litres and then add the skins and oak in an experiment to see what would happen.

After removing the grape skins from the wine, I syphoned the wine off the sediment into a carboy for the wine to condition, but enough about the wine - that's for a different blog - but that wine it good!

Anyway, back to the fruity cider, in the bottom of the wine bucket was all the yeast and lots of sediment, so as the yeast was still active, I decided to use that instead of the yeast in the kits.

The John Bull tins were opened and poured onto the old wine sediment, then for a good stir.

Oh, it smelt AMAZING already!

Then topped up to 23 litres with water.  The colour was a rich red and smelt like ribina.

Easy!  And then in went the bag of grape skins and oak chips.

I thought I would add the sachet of nutrient just to help the yeast get going on the cider.

The hydrometer showed a reading of 1.040. perfect. Not too strong.

I left it to ferment for 10 days and the colour had deepened to a dark burgundy. 

Once the fermentation was over, I removed the bag of skins and oak chips and gave them a good squeeze to get all the goodness out.

Then put 125g of priming sugar in the cider and then bottled it.

I've been testing a bottle every few weeks, and the longer it's been left the better it is getting.

I'm going to have to hide some somewhere to forget about for a couple of years.

So it was bottled in December 2023 and now in June 2024, this is tasting great.

It pours a gorgeous rose colour, clear and effervescent.

The aromas are already hitting the nose.  It's obviously cider as you can smell the apples, but there is a gorgeous accompaniment of fruits, blackcurrant, raspberry, a little spice, oak and vanilla, all culminating in that unmistakable red wine smell.

Taking a sip, you get the blackcurrant, the red berries, and the funky scrumpy cider and then a dryness hits your tongue, not too dry, but it gets your mouth watering with a little tartness too.

WOW, this worked really well.  The flavours of the red wine really shine through, but it's not like you have poured a dash of red wine into a cider, it's more than that.

Sweeten it slightly and you have a really refreshing summer drink.  Is it cider? is it wine? yes, it is!

This year I hope to be able to try this again, perhaps with some red grape skins and perhaps with some white skins and experiment some more.

Cheers for now and Happy Brewing



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