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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > apple wine vs apple cider
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Old 01-27-2011, 02:14 AM   #1
sashurlow
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Default apple wine vs apple cider

It seems most recipes add sugar to the mix. I always thought that adding sugar increased the alcohol content enough to make it apple wine.
So what is the difference between apple wine and apple cider?
Another question would be, what purpose does adding sugar to the mix do? Does it add sweetness or just increase the alcohol content?
Scott

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Old 01-27-2011, 02:24 AM   #2
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The sugar just adds alcohol. Yeast will eat all the sugar. Try reading the recipe for Edwort's Apflewein and the recipe for Graff, which is apple juice with added malt and hops. Both are very popular.

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Old 01-27-2011, 02:27 AM   #3
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I believe the main difference is the ending amount of sugar - i.e, hard cider tends to finish sweeter than apple wine. The alcohol content of apple wine is, naturally, higher as more sugars are fermented out.

The adding of sugar can either add sweetness or alcohol, or both, depending on the amount, your methods, and the yeast used. If you add enough that the yeast will reach their maximum ABV before they can ferment it all, then the finished product will have more sweetness. If you add sugar below that amount, it will just increase the alcohol content, and not do anything to the sweetness.

Theres' also the variable that some people stop the fermentation before it's finished. This can make for a beverage that has a very flexible sweetness and ABV. The proportion is largely up to you. As such, the line between hard cider and apple wine can be a bit hazy.

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Old 01-27-2011, 01:00 PM   #4
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Hard cider/apfelwein is usually between 5% & 8% ABV, Wine is usually over 10% ABV. That's pretty much it, though the word usually is the disclaimer, there's a bit of grey area there. Regards, GF.

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Old 01-27-2011, 10:43 PM   #5
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Traditionally cider was made with juice, once a year when the apples were ripe. Nowadays you can buy juice all year round from a store. This juice has been concentrated, diluted, pasteurised, filtered, stabilised with chemicals and god knows what else. It won't make the same quality cider as fresh-pressed juice, so people have taken to using recipes to make a more interesting drink, often with extra sugar to make the cider more wine-like. Once you add significant quantities of sugar you need to age the cider for longer to settle the raw flavour from the sugar fermentation.

There's no right way or wrong way, you just have to find what suits you.

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Old 01-28-2011, 06:06 PM   #6
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I believe the techinical definition is an ABV% as per gratus' comment.

However there is a significant different in the tast of apple wine versus cider in my opinion. The wine tends to be harsher at first, needing more time to mellow, that I agree. From a flavor profile perspective it seems the apple wines take on a chardonay ish taste, especially if they undergo malolactic fermentation. If you use an ale yeast to make cider you should be left with some residual sugar, and likley the apple flavor profile is more prevalent.

If you are looking to make woodchuck type draft cider then that is a whole other animal, but can be accomplished with apple cider or apple wine.

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