Farmbucha Cyser

 
Sourcing Specialist Brody McAllister removing the Farmbucha SCOBY for further barrel aging in oak. 

Sourcing Specialist Brody McAllister removing the Farmbucha SCOBY for further barrel aging in oak. 

Farmbucha Cyser is a unique blend of apple and honey wines initially fermented with a kombucha SCOBY culture.

Millstone cysers typically begin with raw apple juice and raw honey mixed with water. These barrel blends of juice and honey contain wild, airborne yeasts and bacteria that begin to ferment the sugars. We often add cultured yeasts in addition, including many white wine and Champagne yeast strains. Such a blending of microbes--multiple yeasts including many varieties of Saccharomyces and Brettanomyces alongside bacteria Lactobacillus--is considered a “mixed fermentation,” as opposed to a cider making process that involves just one yeast.

A SCOBY, or a “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast,” is a thin white circle that contains many different microbes that make up its own mixed culture. SCOBYs are used in kombucha fermentation, where a SCOBY is added to fresh sweet tea and left exposed to oxygen. In the presence of the open air, the mixed SCOBY culture will ferment sugars into a unique blend of acids that give kombucha its distinctive flavors. It can be used repeatedly to begin new batches with fresh sugars, somewhat like a reuseable sourdough bread starter.

We were curious how this mixed culture SCOBY could be used to further develop our own microbial melange. First, we diluted honey with water to make a mead base, and added a SCOBY to the honey mixture to ferment. After two months, the mixture was moved into barrels and topped up with fresh cider for a second refermentation for 18 months. We sealed the barrels to bar oxygen so that any residual SCOBY would continue to ferment some sugars but would not produce some of the more vinegar, acetic flavors that develop in an exposed kombucha fermentation.

Farmbucha was bottled in February, 2017, and conditioned to sparkle. Farmbucha is an effervescent dry cyser with notes of vanilla, honey, melons, and custard from a one of a kind mixed fermentation. Pairs well with cheddars, savory biscuits and pulled pork. Gluten free. Releasing Saturday, May 20th, 2017 at the Mill!