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Old 09-21-2009, 06:39 PM   #1
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Default To back sweeten or not

I am attempting my first Cider and have some questions about how to sweeten without creating bottle bombs. My recipe is pretty simple: 6 gallons of Fresh pressed apple juice, 6 cups of sugar, Fresh squeezed lemon juice, and White Labs English Cider Yeast. Yesterday I squeezed the apples and added Campden tablets. Tonight I planned to add the yeast, but am having second thoughts on what type of yeast to add. The recipe called for the English Cider yeast, but everything I read says that the yeast will yield a dry cider. My problem is that I really wanted something with some sweetness. My question is: would it be better to switch to an ale yeast (Sa-04, or Sa-05) so my FG is higher, or would it be better to use the Cider yeast and fully ferment to 1.00 ( or close to it) and then back sweeten with an unfermentable sugar when I prime? I have never used it before, but was thinking that I could sweeten with some of the LD Carlson fruit flavoring: http://www.homebrewhq.com/ProductDet...productID=1416 or some other type of unfermentable sweetener.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:08 PM   #2
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i vote for adding unfermentable sugar.

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Old 09-21-2009, 09:58 PM   #3
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Ale yeasts will ferment a cider to 100% actual attenuation, just like a cider yeast. The limited attenuation we see in beer is due to the unfermentable sugars in the malt. Your only choice is an unfermentable sugar/sweetener, if you want a sparkling cider and use bottles.

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Old 09-21-2009, 10:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by david_42 View Post
Ale yeasts will ferment a cider to 100% actual attenuation, just like a cider yeast. The limited attenuation we see in beer is due to the unfermentable sugars in the malt. Your only choice is an unfermentable sugar/sweetener, if you want a sparkling cider and use bottles.
I guess unfermentable sugar it is.. What are your thoughts on the product in the link I sent? Have you had any experience with that apple flavoring? I guess It may only be the apple flavor and not be meant for sweetening, but I thought it might work. What type of sweetener is normally used to backsweeten? Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-21-2009, 10:39 PM   #5
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Also, how do you gauge the amount of sweetener to use? My guess is that you just sweeten to taste? If that is the case, can you give me an estimate of how much is a normal amount to add? (ie, 1tbsp/gallon of stevia)

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Old 09-22-2009, 01:55 AM   #6
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This is just my experience, so your mileage may vary, but I *highly* recommend you do a careful taste test before putting stevia into your cider. I had a really nice batch of strawberry/apple cider that I wanted to sweeten up for the wife. The stevia just ruined it. The first swallow is perfect, but it's got an aftertaste that won't go away and is just terrible. I tried being very careful, but it went from too dry to this harsh aftertaste with seemingly no middle ground. I've tried keeping it around to see if it will age out but so far no luck. Hope your luck is better.

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Old 09-22-2009, 12:18 PM   #7
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This is just my experience, so your mileage may vary, but I *highly* recommend you do a careful taste test before putting stevia into your cider. I had a really nice batch of strawberry/apple cider that I wanted to sweeten up for the wife. The stevia just ruined it. The first swallow is perfect, but it's got an aftertaste that won't go away and is just terrible. I tried being very careful, but it went from too dry to this harsh aftertaste with seemingly no middle ground. I've tried keeping it around to see if it will age out but so far no luck. Hope your luck is better.
Thanks for the advice. I was thinking that I might split the 6 gallons into separate batches to experiment with the sweetener. I thought I would try stevia, the LD Carlson fruit extract and have another that is unsweetened. My father in law has about 400 apple trees and has a pretty awesome cider mill/press, so I plan to be doing this every year. The apple crop in Lima Ohio wasn't very good this year, but we were able to find enough apples to make 20 gallons of cider this weekend.
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Old 09-22-2009, 01:01 PM   #8
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Ale yeasts will eventually ferment cider to dryness, but they will leave more residual apple taste - at least compared to the Wyeast cider yeast. They are also easier to stop before terminal sg with repeated racking or cold crashing

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