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-   -   Sweeter wine/cider (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/sweeter-wine-cider-94554/)

brianmp 12-26-2008 01:06 AM

Sweeter wine/cider
First of all, Merry Christmas for those of you still in the 25th. Well, I just bottled my first batch of hard cider today after fermenting for a little over 4 weeks.
I used Indian Summer Apple Cider (a lot like regular apple juice, just less ingredients), cane sugar, and Lalvin KV-1116 cider yeast. I tried some and it was, like many people say who have made something similar, very dry and tart and a bit watery, but I did try it straight out of the primary and warm. I was looking for something a little sweeter.
If I were to make another hard cider, does anyone have any tips for me that would help me make it a little sweeter? I think it's too late to back-sweeten because I already bottled and corked, but I'm thinking of adding some Sprite or something to sweeten it when I drink it. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to add more sugar or if that would only give me more alcohol - any help is much-appreciated!:)

brianmp 12-26-2008 01:07 AM

Also, I'd like to add that I'm planning on making a wine in a few days with some red grape juice from the store (not fresh, just regular old Welch's or something) and any help on how I would make that sweet would be great. I'm going to use Lalvin RC 212 yeast and I'm not sure about the brand of juice. Thanks!

Yooper 12-26-2008 01:22 AM

It's easy to sweeten a batch of wine or cider. After fermentation is complete, you use potassium sorbate and campden tablets (potassium metabisulfite) and crushed the tablets and dissolve both chemicals into some boiling water. ( I like to put 1/4 cup of water in the microwave, then dissolve the crushed tablets and the sorbate, and still well). Put the solution into a new sanitized carboy and rack the finished wine into it. Wait a couple of days, then sweeten to taste.
The easy way to do that is to pull out a large sample with a wine thief or turkey baster and sweeten it to taste. Take the SG of the sample, and then sweeten the whole batch to just a tad bit less than the SG reading you like. The reason for that is that it seems like the cider or wine gets a bit sweeter in the bottle. So, if you like it at 1.012 for example, sweeten it to 1.010. It's easier if you use a program like winecalc (free online program) to figure out how much sugar to add to get you to that SG. You can use juice concentrate, honey, sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, etc, whatever you want to sweeten the wine after you stabilize.

brianmp 12-26-2008 01:43 AM

Sweet (pun intended)! Thanks a lot Yooper! I think it's too late for this first batch because I don't have a LHBS nearby and won't get to one until a week into January. I probably won't be able to do it with this next batch of wine either but I guess I'll have a dry wine - oh well. I will try these things the next opportunity I get, so thanks a lot!

pulpfiction32 12-26-2008 02:05 AM

next time you make your cider let it sit more than 4 weeks.. After 6-8

weeks the flavor will improve ten fold. I like to back sweeetin with apple

juice concentrate. You could also skip the campden tabs and bottle

prime with the concentrate Just use beer bottles or swing tops or el

chepo plastic bottles

Yooper 12-26-2008 02:09 AM

Yes, even my Welch's recipe sits for about 6-8 weeks before bottling. You can't really rush wine or cider- the longer it sits, the clearer it is.

brianmp 12-26-2008 02:20 AM

Hey - thanks a lot for the tips. Mine was surprisingly clear after less than 3 weeks but I waited the extra week and a half to make sure and nothing changed. I didn't use a hydrometer or proper airlocks with this batch because they weren't available and this was my first batch ever, but I have both now and plan on using them for the next batch. I'm going to drink some of this one now because I have a lot of friends and family anxious to try this stuff now with new year's and the rest of Christmas, but I'm going to let the far majority of it sit for at least 4 months, probably 6. I'll see what happens with time I guess. Thanks for the help, both of you, I really appreciate it - I'll try some of this stuff in the future.

Pogo 12-26-2008 12:05 PM

If you can live without the extra alcohol boost that adding the sugar gives, then simply leave the sugar out of the recipe.

I, also, found Ed's original recipe too dry for my taste, so I did another batch with the juice and yeast only.

At this point in my journey through this craft, it's perfect for my taste.


brianmp 12-26-2008 04:19 PM

Hey thanks Pogo - I think I'll give that a try.

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