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Old 03-03-2012, 05:28 PM   #1
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So I think I have a bit of a mess going. I decided to make 2 gallons from juice we pressed and canned last fall and ended up getting input from too many sources. I'm after an apple cider that tastes like apple cider. I don't really care about alcohol content other than enough to preserve itself. On 2-14 I got input from the local brew company to put in 2 pounds of sugar in each of the gallons. That didn't feel right so I put about 2 cups in each dissolved in water and air cooled. Dumped in a half pack or red star champagne yeast in each jug along with a couple air locks. After 4 days of bubbling my friend asked if I had tasted it yet. No, I thought it was supposed to sit a few weeks...
So I tasted it and it was pure alcohol, quite harsh, he said that it went too long and I should have stopped the ferment with potassium metabisulphite. So I went and got some and put it in each jug, the next day I racked it off into new jugs. and it still bubbled slowly.
Monday the 27th I pulled my first sample to use for the hydrometer I bought and it read (if I read correctly) 1.020, I drank the sample which had mellowed a bit, drinkable but still not enjoyable. So now it is March 3rd and I am wondering if I should sample the other jug to see where it is and when I should think about bottling.
Also, I wasn't wanting to back sweeten this time but think I will need to now. Also would like to try to carbonate a couple bottles. Then if I have researched correctly I really should just leave it alone for a few months. Any feed back would be appreciated

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Old 03-03-2012, 07:26 PM   #2
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2 cups of sugar per gallon is a lot, and is why your cider has a harsh alcohol flavor. It will take several months to mellow. As for back sweetening, that's up to your personal taste.

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Old 03-04-2012, 05:32 AM   #3
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Thanks. Any thoughts on wether or not I should have used the potassium metabisulphite?

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Old 03-04-2012, 10:08 AM   #4
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It depends on what you are doing. However, I'm pretty sure that potassium metabisulphite is the same as sodium metabisulphate, and you want potassium sorbate. But don't quote me on that because I always get confused. 4 days is not a long time for it to ferment, and 1.020 will give a pretty sweet cider. If that was your aim, then stopping it at that point is fine but the alcohol content will be lower than intended.

2 cups of sugar is a fair bit to add to the cider. A lot of ciders are just left to ferment with their natural sugars which doesn't give a huge ABV but in my opinion gives the best flavour.

Ciders are supposed to be left for several months to age to get back the apple flavour. It is quite important for a decent tasting cider.

The next time you do it, I suggest using a mix of apples (approx half bitter, half sweet and a few crab), juice them and throw in 1 campden tablet per gallon. Leave for 24 hours and then pitch your yeast. Leave it to ferment with an airlock until the bubbles have slowed right down and then rack to secondary (this is where airlocks become vital). Leave the cider for a while so it can start to clear. It will continue to ferment slightly, but getting it away from excessive amounts of lees will stop any off flavours. Then leave and rack every 60 days or every time you have 1/4 inch of lees or more. Do this until it is clear and then add campden. If you wish to back sweeten, add stabiliser.
Bottle and leave for around 3-6 months.

This is by no means the greatest cider recipe ever but it's a good base. And took me ages to write on this iPod.

Dicky

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:31 PM   #5
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That hydrometer reads 1.002, not 1.020. Big difference there, you have a rather dry cider on your hands.

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Old 03-04-2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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Haha, thanks for the help reading jk, glad I posted the picture.

Dicky, thanks so much for your input, I have a pretty good bit of lees in my bottles now so I better rack this afternoon again. Just to clarify, I need to drop a campden tablet 24 hours before I bottle and back sweeten? I will look up stabilizers as this is the first I have heard about that, glad I found this forum. I may use the last of my juice to make another batch here soon

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Old 03-04-2012, 11:07 PM   #7
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If you are goof to backsweeten, add a campden tablet and and a teaspoon of sorbate (per gallon) to stabilise it. Wait a couple of days and then back sweeten.
If you're just going to bottle, add a campden, wait a couple of hours then bottle. It's an antioxidant and helps with the exposure. It also helps stop yeasts which is why it is added to freshly pressed cider to kill off any wild yeast that were on the apples - a lot of wild yeast will give some pretty bad results.

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Old 03-05-2012, 01:09 AM   #8
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I make bone dry cider by adding 2 cups of sugar and using raisins. Sometimes have to wait 6-8 months before it is good. I have some bottles of cider I made in 2011 that are simply the nectar of the gods right now.

Unless you are in a rush, I would wait. You've essentially made something akin to a mead. Many meads don't peak until 3 years on. The best wine isn't drinkable until at least a year has past.

Don't up the gravity unless you can wait for the alcohol to mellow and the flavors to meld a bit.

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Old 03-11-2012, 10:00 PM   #9
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So I am finding a confusing amount of information on bottling, back sweetening and carbing. I think I would like to back sweeten most of this batch and carb a few bottles. I have a gallon of canned must left and wondered if I could back sweeten with this? I would be ok with the stove top pasteurization if that is going to be necessary. Any advice would be appreciated.

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