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Old 06-04-2011, 05:15 PM   #1
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Default Backsweetening my very tart raspberry cider

If I backsweeten an incredibly tart raspberry cider with lactose so I can bottle condition it, what type of flavors should I expect the lactose to contribute aside from sweetness? Creamy or milky? Are there other unfermentable sugars I can backsweeten with?
Any help is appreciated. Cider brewing is very new to me. Thanks.

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Old 06-04-2011, 06:52 PM   #2
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Hi. To my tastes, lactose, while a sugar, doesn't taste very sweet. To test it, you can dissolve it in some water and taste it, see what you think.

Take a look at www.makinghardcider.com - its a great resource for beginning cider makers. She tells you about backsweetening and lots of helpful things.

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Old 06-07-2011, 02:41 PM   #3
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Thanks. I read that. I was hoping to get some input on the best way to sweeten an overly tart cider. I know that site talks about things like that but after reading it and a few other things, I was still left with a question. Thus the post....

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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:23 PM   #4
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I hear you. You have three options (at least those that occur to me now) if you want to sweeten it and bottle condition/carbonate it:

1. Backsweeten with a nonfermentable sweetener, using the methods and sweeteners suggested on the makinghardcider website. Lactose wouldn't do it for me, it adds fullness and in a beer, a suggestion of sweetness, but not the actual taste of sweetness - at least to my taste buds.

2. Backsweeten with a fermentable sugar, like apple juice. Bottle immediately, let carb, and put into the fridge. The cold will stop most yeasts in their tracks, make them go dormant. One of our cider makers here, though, uses a yeast where that method doesn't work, so you can't say always. You will need to leave them chilled - if the bottles warm up, the yeast will wake back up and boom.

3. Backsweeten with a fermentable sugar, like apple juice, bottle immediately. When carbed, bottle pasteurize as described in the sticky thread at the top of this subforum.

Good luck!

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Old 06-09-2011, 05:41 PM   #5
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Awesome, thanks. I was kinda thinkin lactose wouldnt be good, by itself, it doesn't taste very sweet. I'll read up on using apple juice, it sounds like a good idea especially for this cider because there's not alot of apple to it, just tart raspberry flavor

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can i drink this? I mean. Im gunna. But is it fine?
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it's not a barley wine. it's an ale.
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Have you seen the price of ketchup lately? And I'm not talking Heinz.
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Old 06-09-2011, 08:44 PM   #6
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3. Backsweeten with a fermentable sugar, like apple juice, bottle immediately. When carbed, bottle pasteurize as described in the sticky thread at the top of this subforum.

Good luck!
+1 on option #3.

Nothing cuts into a tart beverage like honey, which pairs very well with raspberry. I'd back-sweeten with honey then carb and bottle pasteurize. MMMMM...that sounds yummy.

How bout' posting your recipe.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:49 AM   #7
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I agree...lactose is a negative! Bottle condition and pasteurize.

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Old 06-10-2011, 03:57 AM   #8
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Afterthought: I know that who were discussing "bottle conditioning" but if you keg there is another option similar to #2. I have used this a couple of times. I backsweeten with sugar and put the pressure on it and throw it in the fridge. It is very similar to #2 except you have a pressure relief valve on your keg. If the cold does not shut your yeast down you won't get the big unwanted surprise! Good Luck

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Old 06-10-2011, 02:58 PM   #9
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Afterthought: I know that who were discussing "bottle conditioning" but if you keg there is another option similar to #2. I have used this a couple of times. I backsweeten with sugar and put the pressure on it and throw it in the fridge. It is very similar to #2 except you have a pressure relief valve on your keg. If the cold does not shut your yeast down you won't get the big unwanted surprise! Good Luck
I played with the idea of kegging it. But I only have two five gal cornys, ones full, the others claimed by whoever wins the IPA race in my primaries (the English IPA is almost at FG, the American is still churning away). It'll take the rest of the year for swmbo and I to finish three gal of cider. Long story not so long, I think I'll bottle.
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Old 06-10-2011, 03:24 PM   #10
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If your cider is overly tart, is that because:
1. it is young
2. just a tart cider (aged at least 4-6 months)

In the case of #2 you can always add a little water, and I mean a little (little goes a long way). This will knock down the acidity quickly. However, you should sweeten first because that will compete with the acidity.

If you backsweeten and you don't want to bottle pasturize, or keep it cool, etc you can do so through the use of sorbate and sulphite and a kegging system. I do this often with my draft ciders.

1. Chill your cider to below ~50F or less if possible (your fermentation must be fully complete). Your cider should be clear indicating that there is no yeast in suspension (unless you heated your cider).
2. Put your cider into a bottling bucket (rack it onto sorbate).
3. Sweeten with sugar, apple juice, etc. to taste
4. Now rack your cider into a keg (toss in crushed camden tablets) and force carb.

this will be a stable cider that can be left at room temp once in bottles.

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