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Old 12-29-2011, 06:55 PM   #1
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Default Couple of cyser questions (stabilization and carbonation)

I just tucked my first 3 gallon batch of cyser into some gallon jugs (w/ airlocks of course) for a long winter's nap. (it was started at the beginning of November)

Thinking ahead...

It's already bone dry.

That's okay, I figured I was going to end up backsweetening it anyway.

I have a couple of questions I haven't been able to find an exact answer on here -

1. Has anyone ever tried to create a sparkling cyser without kegging? I would suspect that one would use Champagne bottles w/cork & cage, but is there still a risk of an exploding bottle doing this? I'm also guessing I would need more yeast to accomplish this, but what yeast would I use (would a sweet wine yeast work for something like this).

2. Is there any merit to pasteurization of a cyser vs. using sulfites to kill the yeast? I generally don't have a problem with sulfites in red wine, but I know some folks are sensitive to them (I'm hoping to be able to share a bottle of this with friends).

3. Clarifying. Does additional aging take care of the clarification? I'm new to the whole wine making thing, and don't have any equipment for filtering.

I would hope that if I decide to backsweeten and kill the yeast with sulfites that an additional aging period would help with the clarification.

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Old 12-29-2011, 07:08 PM   #2
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I'm not quite sure what your meaning... you want to use sulfites to kill the yeast, but you also want to carbonate? I am going to be doing what you are trying to do in a month or so, I made 30 gallons of cider and turned 6 of it into cyser. Mine is brilliantly clear, but I made it in september. I have 10 cases of champagne bottles, belgian corks and cages. A word of advice on bottling, definitely add some yeast that's been rehydrated and then make a small starter with some apple juice. Also, use the same yeast you fermented with. I dont know how strong yours is, but mine came in at almost 15% abv. You can't backsweeten unless you want to pasturize the bottles, but you shouldn't need to - a well aged cyser doesn't need sweetening, the bright tartness of the apples and the honey flavor is what its all about.

Oh, and besides cold aging, a product called Sparkelloid will really clean it up.

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Old 12-29-2011, 07:42 PM   #3
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I'm only looking at 3 gallons. I was thinking of trying to bottle a couple for "sparkling" just for kicks, but only if it seemed worth the effort. I wouldn't be looking to kill the yeast for that effort.

For the majority of this batch, I was looking at back sweetening, kill the yeast, let it age. I was thinking of giving a bottle of the non-carbonated stuff to some friends of mine who are getting married at the end of May (telling them to hang on to it until their first anniversary).

I should mention that I fermented this stuff with champagne yeast (my bad) so it's really dry. I would only look to sweeten it to maybe 1.010 or 1.020, just a touch without making it cloying.

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Old 12-29-2011, 07:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mermaid View Post

1. I would suspect that one would use Champagne bottles w/cork & cage, but is there still a risk of an exploding bottle doing this?

2. Is there any merit to pasteurization of a cyser vs. using sulfites to kill the yeast?

3. Clarifying. Does additional aging take care of the clarification? I'm new to the whole wine making thing, and don't have any equipment for filtering.

I would hope that if I decide to backsweeten and kill the yeast with sulfites that an additional aging period would help with the clarification.
sulfites on their own do not kill the yeast. you need to add sorbate after adding sulfite. this simply stops the yeast from breeding.

if you want sparkling the mead will have to be dry unless you force carb it with co2 bottle.
roughly put you ad a mix of yeast (champagne yeast like ec1118) and priming sugar. sugar is better as it will take a fair bit of juice to get the required amount of sugar and juice has an unknown amount of sugars in it. hard to get an accurate amount, to little no fizz to much bottle bombs.
requires champagne bottles (as they are stronger). the yeast feeds on the suger making co2.
most home brewers just let the yeast in the bottle settle to the bottom and carefully pour the mead, otherwise you get yeast in your drink. makes it hard to transport. commercially they get rid of the yeast out of the bottle and recork it.

you can't stabilize it otherwise the yeast won't ferment and you can't backsweeten as the yeast just eats it.

for a still mead, you can use finings to help clear it, need to rack off as much yeast as possible. then stabilize with sulfite/sorbate. then you can backsweeten. just note you will require fining/settling/racking after backsweetening as extra honey/juice tends to put more proteins etc back into the mead, which can settle out in the bottle later on.
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Old 12-29-2011, 07:52 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I think I'll go with just sweetening a touch (not carbed), use the sorbate and sulfites to kill the yeast, and add some Sparkelloid.

Not planning on bottling this until I get a round-tuit or March.. something like that.

Definitely want to give this a nice long aging (which is why I just set up another batch of cider so I'll have some yummyness to drink in the Spring).

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Old 12-29-2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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use the sorbate and sulfites to kill the yeast,
it doesn't kill the yeast. it only stops them. sorry bits important to know the difference.

just make sure you get the order right.

remove yeast....sulfite....sorbate....backsweeten.....cle ar......let it age!
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Old 12-29-2011, 08:44 PM   #7
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Good, cider is meant for aging. Im not sure how your was, but I pressed about 300 lbs of apples including a high proportion of tart french cider apples, and my cider tasted like farty lemon juice right after fermenting. Only now, months later, is it starting to taste good. I figure 6 months from the day I pressed it it will taste good.

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Old 12-29-2011, 08:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
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it doesn't kill the yeast. it only stops them. sorry bits important to know the difference.

just make sure you get the order right.

remove yeast....sulfite....sorbate....backsweeten.....cle ar......let it age!
Right. It may seem nitpicky to someone who doesn't deal with this often, but it's not. Realizing the difference between "stabilizing" and "killing the yeast" is huge!

Sorbate doesn't kill yeast, and neither does sulfite. (That's why winemakers use sulfites). Well, I guess it could kill yeast, if you used enough- but then the mead would be undrinkable.

Anyway, remember that sorbate only inhibits reproduction of yeast, and it works better in the presence of sulfites. That means that in order to stabilize, the mead/wine/cider must be clear and no longer throwing any lees. It must be racked off of the lees (spent yeast) to reduce the yeast population. Once the mead is clear, and no longer throwing lees, you can assume that the yeast population is reduced. Then it's racked into the campden/sorbate. After waiting a few days, then it can be sweetened. I still wouldn't bottle right away, but instead wait a few days. Some minor fermentation may occur from the little bit of yeast remaining but it should stop. At that point, you may bottle. Sometimes stabilizing clouds the mead for a bit. That's ok, it'll clear again. But wait until it's clear, and you're sure it isn't restarting fermentation before bottling.
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Old 12-29-2011, 10:13 PM   #9
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Good, cider is meant for aging. Im not sure how your was, but I pressed about 300 lbs of apples including a high proportion of tart french cider apples, and my cider tasted like farty lemon juice right after fermenting. Only now, months later, is it starting to taste good. I figure 6 months from the day I pressed it it will taste good.
I did my first cider in October, and shared the first few bottles at Thanksgiving. It actually was pretty good, only brought a couple bottles to share with my foodie friend who said it tasted like a good French cider she's tried and pronounced it a success.

The only 2 mistakes I made with the first batch of cider was bottling in flip tops which never carbed up. (only half the flip-top bottle seals held, the rest weren't a good seal so never carbed) The second mistake was to not make enough

So yeah, this next batch of cider (now happily fermenting) will sit around a bit longer - want to see the magic of letting them age a bit.

Anyway, the cyser is already clear. It started out in a 5 gallon carboy, then racked to a 3 gallon carboy on some frozen apples for a month, let that clear. It was clear when I transferred it to the 3 1 gallon glass jugs.

As I said, they're sitting in a nice cool spot until sometime in March. I have to make sure everything is bottled and able to be transported since I'm planning a move in May.
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