Author Topic: zombie killer type of cyser  (Read 1581 times)

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
zombie killer type of cyser
« on: October 14, 2015, 03:04:32 PM »
Now that I'm on my way to kegging I'm thinking of picking up meadmaking again. Does anyone have a good recipe for making something similar to Zombie Killer? I love that stuff.
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6229
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2015, 05:22:04 AM »
I am working on that style of mead right now (sessionable, fruit-forward and fizzy - like a wine cooler, but better). What has worked for me with ciders in a similar style is to stabilize, backsweeten with juice, and force-carbonate. You want to have an idea what your target ABV is, and plan to dilute down to that level with your juice. Another option is to brew to your target ABV and backsweeten with honey. But that method may end up a bit more honey-forward than fruit-forward.

Side note - have you had any of their other meads in this line? They are all really solid, but Black Fang is the runaway winner for me. I could pound that by the case.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2015, 06:54:34 AM »
I am working on that style of mead right now (sessionable, fruit-forward and fizzy - like a wine cooler, but better). What has worked for me with ciders in a similar style is to stabilize, backsweeten with juice, and force-carbonate. You want to have an idea what your target ABV is, and plan to dilute down to that level with your juice. Another option is to brew to your target ABV and backsweeten with honey. But that method may end up a bit more honey-forward than fruit-forward.

Side note - have you had any of their other meads in this line? They are all really solid, but Black Fang is the runaway winner for me. I could pound that by the case.

Zombie Killer is the only mead of this style I've had. I bumped into 6 bottles in a Belgian beer shop and bought them all. Probably nobody knew what they were. It was a bit strange to drink them. You open the first bottle, and you are slightly disappointed: is that all there is? And then, before you know, the bottle is empty and you grasp for the next one.

So you stop fermentation by means of  potassium metabisulfite/potassium sorbate in order to backsweeten? I kind of shudder at the thought of using those chemicals, but I guess there's no alternative?

Zombie Killer's ABV is 5.5 ABV.

So first make a cyser with pasteurized apple juice and honey. Then add frozen tart cherries (can't find juice in Belgium) in secondary. Then kill yeast and backsweeten and dilute to 5.5 ABV with apple juice. And then force carbonate.

Any idea what the target ABV could be before diluting?

Any suggestions for a yeast?
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6229
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2015, 07:19:23 PM »
I use Lalvin 71B for all my meads, but only out of familiarity. Basically, I plan on letting the initial ferment go to completion, then sulfite/sorbate, then backsweeten. If you're sweetening with honey, then just target the FG you want from the initial fermentation and add honey to taste.

If you're planning on backsweetening with fruit, then a little math planning is needed. You need to know your target FG and the gravity of the juice you're using. Then you can calculate how much juice you're going to use as a ratio of the final mead. Your initial ferment will be diluted by the same amount, and the ABV will be diluted as well.

It may be easier to talk through an example

Say you're making a Zombie Killer style mead and will be using a 1.056 OG apple juice to backsweeten. You've decided to target an FG of ~1.012 and assume that the initial fermentation will finish at 0.998. That means you want to add 14 gravity points to the finished mead. So 14/56=0.25 - you will want a quarter of your finished volume to be juice, and 3/4 to be your initial ferment. If you're targeting 6% ABV, then the initial ferment should end up at about 8% (4/3 * 6). That's about 1.060 for your OG, if you plan on stopping at 0.998

Now all those details will need to be dialed in, or adjusted on the fly. But basically, plan on the fermentation finishing just under 1.000. The target backsweetening level will vary depending on your tastes and the recipe, but figure 1.012-1.020 to be a good starting range. Use your palate as a guide, but take notes to be able to refine your process for future batches.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3123
  • Barre, Ma
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2015, 07:51:32 PM »
I recommend D-47 for cyser. I find it leaves more flavor in mead made with low acidic fruits like apple, pear, and peach. It also makes super compact lees that are easy to rack off of and a crystal clear result especially if you bulk age in a cellar. 71-b is great for more acidic fruits like berries.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015, 08:07:55 PM »
I use Lalvin 71B for all my meads, but only out of familiarity. Basically, I plan on letting the initial ferment go to completion, then sulfite/sorbate, then backsweeten. If you're sweetening with honey, then just target the FG you want from the initial fermentation and add honey to taste.

If you're planning on backsweetening with fruit, then a little math planning is needed. You need to know your target FG and the gravity of the juice you're using. Then you can calculate how much juice you're going to use as a ratio of the final mead. Your initial ferment will be diluted by the same amount, and the ABV will be diluted as well.

It may be easier to talk through an example

Say you're making a Zombie Killer style mead and will be using a 1.056 OG apple juice to backsweeten. You've decided to target an FG of ~1.012 and assume that the initial fermentation will finish at 0.998. That means you want to add 14 gravity points to the finished mead. So 14/56=0.25 - you will want a quarter of your finished volume to be juice, and 3/4 to be your initial ferment. If you're targeting 6% ABV, then the initial ferment should end up at about 8% (4/3 * 6). That's about 1.060 for your OG, if you plan on stopping at 0.998

Now all those details will need to be dialed in, or adjusted on the fly. But basically, plan on the fermentation finishing just under 1.000. The target backsweetening level will vary depending on your tastes and the recipe, but figure 1.012-1.020 to be a good starting range. Use your palate as a guide, but take notes to be able to refine your process for future batches.

OK, thanks for the calculation. I think I can do that too now  :) Didn't realize that I would have to add that much juice... There's no risk of early spoilage?
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2015, 08:13:05 PM »
I recommend D-47 for cyser. I find it leaves more flavor in mead made with low acidic fruits like apple, pear, and peach. It also makes super compact lees that are easy to rack off of and a crystal clear result especially if you bulk age in a cellar. 71-b is great for more acidic fruits like berries.

OK, I'll have a look at D-47. The meads I've made so far had WYeast 1388 (Belgian Golden Strong Ale), and always bone-dry. The result was ok but not fantastic. The only one I really liked was a pear melomel with pepper that I eisbocked...
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline hopfenundmalz

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 8977
  • Milford, MI
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2015, 08:19:34 PM »
E-Mail Brad at B'Nectar, he is an old homebrewer. He medaled at NHC with mead before he went pro.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild
AHA Governing Committee
BJCP National
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2015, 09:59:11 PM »
Sorry for the derail - just tried this stuff recently and I loved it. I could buy this semi-regularly. Derail over.
Jon H.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6229
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2015, 12:19:33 AM »
I recommend D-47 for cyser. I find it leaves more flavor in mead made with low acidic fruits like apple, pear, and peach. It also makes super compact lees that are easy to rack off of and a crystal clear result especially if you bulk age in a cellar. 71-b is great for more acidic fruits like berries.
Thanks for the tip, Pete. I've been using 71B for my ciders lately. I think I'll try out D47 for my next batch.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2015, 02:33:56 PM »
E-Mail Brad at B'Nectar, he is an old homebrewer. He medaled at NHC with mead before he went pro.

Mail has been sent!
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6229
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2015, 02:42:31 PM »
One other thing, if you keg and can keep it cold, you should be able to get by without sulfite/sorbate. The yeast will be largely dormant at fridge temps and won't ferment the backsweetening significantly.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2015, 02:37:00 PM »
There's a thread over on homebrewtalk on Zombie Killer. This is a possible recipe: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost.php?p=6232321&postcount=63

Many people seem to backsweeten with the tart cherry juice + additional honey and, indeed, just keep the keg cold to avoid refermentation.
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2015, 02:38:36 PM »
Ah, and many people seem to use Nottingham yeast.
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.

Offline homoeccentricus

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2008
  • A twerp from Antwerp
    • View Profile
Re: zombie killer type of cyser
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2015, 05:18:47 PM »
OK ready to try something. I have 8 liters flash pasteurized apple juice, OG 1.044. I will use Nottingham yeast. Add frozen sour cherries in secondary. Back sweeten with honey and juice (not sure yet which, the original has sour cherry juice, but can't find that here) to 1.02, then carbonate. Not sure yet whether I will use sulfite or use cold.

Do I need to add yeast nutrients? Adjust pH? Any salts that would enhance the flavor?
My guess is no, no and no, except to check pH before adding sulfite. Correct?
Frank P.

Staggering on the shoulders of giant dwarfs.