Siberian crabapple is a small-fruited variety of apple that yields a huge amount of tiny sweet fruits not bigger than 15 grams each. They are very common in the Ural, Altay and Russian Far East. In the vernacular, they are simply called Chinese apples. Thanks to the huge amount of dry substances Siberian Crabapple Moonshine is very flavorful and fruity with beautiful color (its shade depends on the variety of apples). But it also requires a strict adherence to the technology. You can adjust the sweetness at your discretion.
- Siberian crabapples – 25 kilos
- Sugar – 100-450 grams per 1 liter of juice
- Water – 10-100 ml (optional)
- Wine yeast or raisin fart – following the instructions or 2-3% of the juice volume (optional)
The sugar proportions depend on the desired sweetness and ABV of the beverage. The sugar content of Siberian crabapples rarely exceeds 10%, and this means that in order to make 11-12% ABV dry wine (that’s the max amount of alcohol with natural fermentation) you’ll have to add 100 grams of sugar per 1 liter of juice. Adding more (120-450 grams) will yield semi-dry, semi-sweet, sweet or dessert wine. Adding sugar in parts allows controlling the properties of the beverage. You can increase the ABV with alcohol or vodka afterward.
Water decreases the amount of dry substances in the must, and this makes the Siberian crabapple wine a little less tasty and aromatic. Just like with pure juice. Adding water makes sense only to lower the acidity when apples are very sour—their juice bites the tongue and makes you squint your eyes. You’ll have to take into account that sugar itself also decreases the acidity.
Wine yeast (optimal option) or raisin ferment will launch the fermentation process if Siberian crabapples have no wild yeast on their surface. Adding dry or pressed baker’s yeast is a no go or you’ll end with apple wash instead of wine!
In order to avoid infecting the wine with pathogenic microorganisms, you should sterilize all of the vessels with boiling water and handle raw materials only with clean hands.
Siberian Crabapple Wine Recipe
- Remove leaves and fruit-stems. Study the fruits carefully, remove any moldy or spoilt parts of pulp which can spoil the taste of wine. Cut each apple in half and remove the core as well as seeds.
Warning! If you don’t have any ferment or wine yeast it’s better to leave the apples unwashed. There’s wild yeast on their surface. Just wipe the unwashed fruits with a clean, dry towel. Seeds and core give out bitterness, that’s why they have to be removed.
- Juice the prepared apples. It’s better to use an ordinary juicer. Siberian crabapple juice is cloudy and contains a lot of pulp. That’s okay, as even liquid puree works well.
There’s also another way: you can also grate apple pieces or use a meat grinder and then squeeze the juice through a few layers of cheesecloth or fabric. The process is very time-consuming and the outcome is noticeably worse (more pulp) then when using a juicer.
- Pour the obtained juice (or liquid puree) into an enamel or plastic vessel with a wide neck. Taste it and dilute with water in order to lower acidity. Add the ferment or wine yeast (optional) and stir.
- Tie the neck of the vessel with cheesecloth to protect from flies and leave it in a dark place with a room temperature for 3 days. After 6-14 hours you should notice a sour scent and foam on surface and bubbling. This means that the fermentation process has started.
In order to prevent the must from going sour, you should stir it with clean hands or a wooden stick every 8-10 hours after processing apples. You should drown the pulp on the surface.
- Strain the must through cheesecloth or thick fabric. Squeeze the pulp well. You no longer require the husks.
- Add 50 grams of sugar per 1 liter of the filtered must. Stir it until fully dissolved.
- Pour the juice into a fermentation vessel. Fill it up to a maximum of 75% of the volume so that there is enough space left for foam. Install an air lock of any design on the neck of the container. You can also use a medical glove with a needle-pierced hole in one finger.
A simple air lock
Is glove inflated? This means the wine is fermenting
- Leave the filled container in a dark place with a room temperature until the fermentation process is finished.
- 5 days after the water seal has been installed, add the remaining portion of sugar (25 grams per 1 liter of juice). To do this, separately drain 0.5 liters of must per each kilo of sugar added, dilute the sugar with juice, and pour the obtained syrup back into the fermenting wine. Then close the container with an air lock once again.
- After 5 days add the third portion of sugar (25 grams per liter of juice), using the previously described method. Depending on the temperature and initial sweetness of apples, the fermentation process of homemade Siberian crabapple wine lasts 30-50 days. You can tell that the fermentation process has stopped when the air lock has ceased emitting gas for at least 12 hours (or the glove deflated), there’s no more foam, there’s a layer of sediment at the bottom, and the wine is lighter.
If the fermentation process lasts for more than 50 days, the wine should be drained through a tube into another container without hitting the sediment at the bottom and then put under the air lock again to ferment at the same temperature in order to avoid letting it become bitter.
- After the fermentation is over, gently decant the fermented wine into another container. Taste it and add more sugar to sweeten the taste if needed (optional). You can also increase ABV by adding vodka or alcohol in amounts of 2-15% of the wine volume. Increasing the ABV prolongs storage life but makes the taste harsher.
- Fill the aging vessels with wine to the brim, so that there is no contact with oxygen. Seal them tightly (if you added sugar keep the vessels under air locks for the first 7-10 days).
- Transfer the vessels for aging to a cool place with a temperature of 5-15°C. Leave them for at least 3-4 months. If you see a 2-5 cm layer of sediment appearing, filter the wine by pouring it through a tube from one container to another (first every 10-15 days, then you can do it less often).
- Siberian crabapple wine is considered ready when there’s no more sediment build-up. The beverage can be bottled and sealed now.
The variety of apples might change the shade of the wine. During aging, it becomes clearer.
10-12% ABV. If stored in a refrigerator or basement the shelf life is up to 5 years.