This is by far one of my favorite wacky historical brews so far. What a powerhouse of flavors, and THAT COLOR!
As the brew started to ferment, it tasted smelled healthy and earthy, like beets fresh-pulled from the ground, and apples fallen from the tree. I would recommend just that juice, if the finished wine weren’t as good as it is. The finished wine is the vivid dark pink you see above. The color leached out of the beets and into the cider, just like that.
The initial taste is powerfully fruity, with a burst of sour tingle from the tartar. After that comes the very best of beet flavor, followed by the herbs. The flavors linger on the palate, and are so quirky and unusual that I found myself taking sip after sip. You know, for science.
Red Apple Wine Recipe
Take of cold soft water, 2 gallons, apples, well bruised, 3 bushels. Ferment. Mix, raw sugar, 15 lbs., beet root, sliced, 4 lbs., red tartar, in fine powder, 3 oz. then add ginger, in powder, 3 oz., rosemary and lavender leaves, of each two handsful, British spirits, 2 quarts. This will make 18 gallons. –MacKenzie’s Five Thousand Receipts, 1829
Brewer’s Notes: Instead of mashing my own apples, I chose to use pre-pressed apple cider.
OG: 1.08 FG: 1.042 ABV: 5% Total Time: ~3 months
- 1 gallon raw apple cider
- .83 lb. sugar
- .4 lb. diced raw beetroot
- .16 oz. powdered tartar (available in most homebrew stores)
- .16 oz. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. each rosemary and lavender leaves
- 1 packet yeast (I used Vintners Harvest VR21)
- .2 quarts British spirits, such as brandy (200 ml.)
Pour off about 2 cups of the cider in order to make room for the other ingredients. Combine everything except the spirits, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pitch yeast, let ferment. Rack off the sediment, beets, etc. after 2 weeks, and let ferment until finished.
Add the spirits. Rack into bottles, and allow to sit at least a week before enjoying.