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Enoch
03-21-2012, 20:16
I love Bourbon Infusions, so I made one with apples, cinnamon sticks, and bourbon. I used 80 proof bourbon (tested before and after). The final results was an infusion that was around 52 proof. The volume hadn't changed significantly, so I must conclude that the apples absorb the alcohol while the bourbon got apple juice from the apples.

What do you think?

sutton
03-22-2012, 12:19
This is a really interesting question.

If I understand you correctly, you added (sliced/diced?) apples, cinnamon sticks, and 80 proof bourbon, and after you strained it, you total volume didn't change much and you ended at 52 proof.

Generally speaking if it was pure dilution and assuming you started with 750ml bourbon, you would need 404ml water additional to go from 80 to 52 proof (35% diluted). But then your total volume would be over 1.1L.

If it was pure dilution, I read on the 'net that about 1 kg of apples has about 700ml of juice. So again assuming pure dilution, you'd need over a pound of apples to get 35% dilution (and again, your volume would have increased). I assume you didn't add that many apples, and given you weren't crushing them like in a cider press, your juice yield would be lower (requiring even more apples).

So...I think you are correct. It had to go somewhere, so a combination of the diluting effect of the apple juice and the absorption (or adsorption) of alcohol by apples, apple skin, pectin, cinnamon bark, etc ... I would assume the cells in the apples and cinnamon sticks would at least be semi-permeable to alcohol, and you would get transport across the cell membrane to a lower alcohol concentration region (inside the cells). We need a chemist ... or a biologist ... or both!

mosugoji64
03-22-2012, 20:13
Whatever the science behind it, the results sound delicious! I may have to copy that sometime. What quantities of each did you use?

Andre28
03-22-2012, 20:35
sounds good. What amount of apple and cinnamon did you use. How long would you recommend for the infusion?

gblick
03-23-2012, 07:17
What did you use to check the ABV, is there a kit you can buy?

Enoch
03-23-2012, 07:31
What did you use to check the ABV, is there a kit you can buy?

I use an alcohol hydrometer calibrated for liquor (higher proofs) and a graduated cylinder. Local abc agents use them in bars to check for watering. You can purchase them at most wine/beer making supply stores. Just make sure it is one for spirits and not beer or wine.

Enoch
03-23-2012, 07:42
This is a really interesting question.

If I understand you correctly, you added (sliced/diced?) apples, cinnamon sticks, and 80 proof bourbon, and after you strained it, you total volume didn't change much and you ended at 52 proof.

Generally speaking if it was pure dilution and assuming you started with 750ml bourbon, you would need 404ml water additional to go from 80 to 52 proof (35% diluted). But then your total volume would be over 1.1L.

If it was pure dilution, I read on the 'net that about 1 kg of apples has about 700ml of juice. So again assuming pure dilution, you'd need over a pound of apples to get 35% dilution (and again, your volume would have increased). I assume you didn't add that many apples, and given you weren't crushing them like in a cider press, your juice yield would be lower (requiring even more apples).

So...I think you are correct. It had to go somewhere, so a combination of the diluting effect of the apple juice and the absorption (or adsorption) of alcohol by apples, apple skin, pectin, cinnamon bark, etc ... I would assume the cells in the apples and cinnamon sticks would at least be semi-permeable to alcohol, and you would get transport across the cell membrane to a lower alcohol concentration region (inside the cells). We need a chemist ... or a biologist ... or both!

I agree, I think it is a combination of apple juice entering the bourbon at the same time alcohol entering the apple slices. The volume in the jar does not change (it shouldn't because the jar is sealed). It seems to me that if only apple juice left the apple slices then they would shrivel but they don't. I thought the slices would taste great but the don't. In fact quite strong and nasty.

I basically cut up a red delicious apple and place in a jar with one cinnamon stick, pour enough bourbon over it to completely cover apples, and let it sit for three days. Remove apples and drink. I think it taste wonderful.

My favorite for this is VOB 90 proof (the only VOB sold around here). It is inexpensive and strong enough not to be overwhelmed by the apples or cinnamon. I have used more expensive bourbons but the actually didn't taste as good to me.

At Christmas, I make several liters of it and use a Woodford Reserve (4.5 liter) infusion bottle I won at the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ festival. I leave the apples in and it is always a hit at my mother-in-laws Xmas weekend.

Brisko
03-23-2012, 07:44
What kind of bourbon did you use?

Enoch
03-23-2012, 08:04
What kind of bourbon did you use?

This time I used some cheap older (mid-1980s) Ezra Brooks Gold Label (80 proof) because I wanted to see if I could tell that much difference. It was good but I still like the VOB better. I have a lot of this old Ezra Brooks and don't really care for it that much. The later 80s black label EB (90 proof) is much better.

sutton
03-23-2012, 10:39
[quote=Enoch;280411]I agree, I think it is a combination of apple juice entering the bourbon at the same time alcohol entering the apple slices. The volume in the jar does not change (it shouldn't because the jar is sealed). It seems to me that if only apple juice left the apple slices then they would shrivel but they don't. I thought the slices would taste great but the don't. In fact quite strong and nasty.
quote]

It makes sense - it's probably the same mechanism as when you use a brine in cooking.

I think I'll give this a try - I can see this being a nice little sipper around the Holidays...

Enoch
03-23-2012, 12:03
I haven't thought about it before but it may pay to squeeze the apples after they are removed.

tommyj1986
03-25-2012, 13:58
Hey sounds like an interesting infusion. I did a much more basic one recently, using orange peels in some FR, I was real happy with it.

Disclaimer, I am not an expert, but my understanding is the way hydrometers work is by measuring density. Since alcohol is less dense than water the less dense a mixture the higher proof it would show. By adding solids, perhaps they increased the density in addition to some of the alcohol being absorbed into the fruit. The addition of sugars and such from the fruit would cause the hydrometer no longer to be accurate. I would guess that the proof went down, but probably not as much as the hydrometer indicates.

For proofing items with sugars typically you need a proofing still or an ebulliometer.

Enoch
03-25-2012, 16:04
Hey sounds like an interesting infusion. I did a much more basic one recently, using orange peels in some FR, I was real happy with it.

Disclaimer, I am not an expert, but my understanding is the way hydrometers work is by measuring density. Since alcohol is less dense than water the less dense a mixture the higher proof it would show. By adding solids, perhaps they increased the density in addition to some of the alcohol being absorbed into the fruit. The addition of sugars and such from the fruit would cause the hydrometer no longer to be accurate. I would guess that the proof went down, but probably not as much as the hydrometer indicates.

For proofing items with sugars typically you need a proofing still or an ebulliometer.

This could be true. The infusion is cloudy which may indicate the presence of solids.

Later: I decided to try this again with Early Times Mint Julip and it indicates that it is NON-ALCOHOLIC. Hmmmm.... Don't really remember what I measured before but my statement above (now erased) was wrong. The sugars and solids may prove my whole premise is wrong. It does taste weaker and the apples bitter. The next time I make one I'm going to see if the apples will burn.