Black & Cran Cyser

Last year’s Blackberry Cyser (cyser means “apple mead” or mead made with apple cider rather than water) was really good, and I knew I’d be merging apples and blackberries most years moving forward. The apples here where I live in Maine are generally quite tart, in a good way, and the blackberries I pick in my yard give a nice earthy, smooth counterbalance to the tartness of the apples.

I also new that I wanted to use some cranberries we had in the freezer in a cyser this year, to play off the contrasts between 2 different “shades” of tart (apples and cranberries). Originally I thought I’d do them separately, but due to a similar situation as what happened during the Fox Pyment (basically I poured in too much honey), I had to split the batch into 2 smaller batches. There was also a slight mishap during the juicing process, but we were able to recover with some amount of grace.

This is a simple one, with no real herbal ingredients. I did add 3 cups of organic black tea to each batch to provide a bit of tannic acid, tweaking both the pH and the flavor.

It turns out that cranberry and blackberry juice mixed together are gorgeous:

Juice from 1qt of Cranberries and 1qt of Blackberries

I took this, mixed in some honey, and realized I way overshot the honey. I had forgotten that late-season cider is sweeter than normal, so I ended up with nearly 25% alcohol potential. So I split it into 2 batches and proceeded from there. Both batches have similar amounts of blackberry/cranberry juice, but one will likely be a sweet mead (19% initial alcohol potential) and one will likely be dry (16% initial alcohol potential):

One batch (pictured) came in at 19% initial alcohol potential, for a sweet cyser. The other batch (not pictured) came in at 16%, which should yield a dry cyser.

Color on the two is quite similar, as you can see below. First is the dry Black & Cran cyser:

Dry Black & Cran Cyser!

And this is the sweet (mislabeled, it is 19% not 18%):

… and the sweet Black & Cran Mead (mislabeled, it is actually 19% not 18%).

I look forward to seeing how these come out!

UPDATE: March 31

Finally got a round to racking these. The Dry Cyser is now 2%, so it is 14% ABV. The Sweet Cyser is now 4%, so it is 15% ABV. Both different flavors of delicious!