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Old 05-04-2010, 08:48 PM   #1
George7845
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Default to carbonate , or not to carbonate-!

I always here people saying that the carbonation from Smirnoff and other carbonated drinks make them sick. So what do you guys think, should i carbonate my hard cider? Or should i just leave it as a refreshing easy to drink juice? Its hopefully going to be a sweet flavorful cider, adding no sugar.

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Old 05-04-2010, 09:44 PM   #2
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I have a strong preference for uncarbonated or slightly carbonated hard cider.

I rather doubt the carbonation is making those people sick. If that was the case, every fast-food place in the world would need to have a vomitorium.

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Old 05-05-2010, 12:09 AM   #3
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How would you carbonated it? If it is forced carbed, then no problems. If you want to bottle carb a sweet cider, then you run a high risk of bottle bombs.

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Old 05-05-2010, 12:43 AM   #4
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i did want to bottle carb it, didnt think it was that much of a risk, thought it was just like carbonating beer. If its a high risk ill just keep it uncarbed. after i bottle do i have to cold crash? or can i let the cider age and get better, or will it turn to vinegar?

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Old 05-05-2010, 01:06 AM   #5
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just when i thought i knew how to make hard cider i am unsure again haha

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Old 05-05-2010, 01:39 AM   #6
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Hi George, you can bottle carb it, but like beer, only when it's finished fermenting, so it won't be sweet anymore. I've tried sweetening with artificial sweetener and also lactose, but with varying results. More testing is upcoming.
I don't cold-crash my cider, but I do leave it in primary a long time (4-8 weeks).
You can let the cider age without any worries, it'll only turn to vinegar if it's infected. I've got some that's almost a year old and it's all good.

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Old 05-05-2010, 04:38 AM   #7
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Styles is right. Cider will go to 1.000 and lower, so trying to keep it sweet with a bottle carb is just a lot of yeast action.
If you cold crash, you cold crash before bottling.
Cider is like wine in that it gets better with age the longer it sits in bulk. The infection is a combination of bacteria and head space.

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Old 05-05-2010, 09:41 AM   #8
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can i cold crash, bottle, then age? w/o carbonation? cause i really want a sweet cider, but i think i have the wrong yeast, it is Redstar champagne yeast and it is a dry yeast, keep in mind im not adding any sugar.

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Old 05-05-2010, 10:05 AM   #9
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ok, so what if i just say nay to carbonation, i use red star champagne yeast, which is a dry yeast... No sugar, 2 weeks primary, 1 week secondary, and 4th week i bottle. I assume /hope i wont get bottle bombs after that period of time? I also do no cold crash/ or stop fermention, am i going to end up with a 5-6% cider that taste good after being in bottles for a couple of weeks? See im mainly trying to impress the fiancee (she likes sweet wines, rum and cokes lol) ill drink anything. When i see the word dry, i think bad tasting but maybe dry can be a good thing? Opinions please lol, getting my fresh cider today! So anxious! I think im going to have to get six more pimarys so i have something to do while im waiting on it to ferment lol.

Thanks, George

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Old 05-05-2010, 12:07 PM   #10
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One thing that is hard for new brewers to get their head around, I know, I'm one too, is that when dealing with simple sugars, (cider, honey, fruit juice, refined sugar), all yeasts are dry yeasts. So it doesn't matter whether you use ale, wine, champagne, cider or mead yeast they'll all continue eating sugar until the alcohol level kills them. For Ale yeast that's around 10-14% abv, wine/champagne can go to 18-20% abv.

There are a couple ways you can stop them before they've eaten all the sugars.

  1. Racking to a secondary and adding sulfate/sorbate will kill the yeast.
  2. Racking to a secondary, cold crashing in the refrigerator for several days, then racking again to separate out most of the viable yeast. This method is not 100% reliable because it can leave some yeast behind.
You can also wait till the yeasts have fermented dry and then backsweeten after using one of the above methods to eliminate the yeast.

None of the above will allow you to bottle condition since the yeast is no longer viable.

It is possible to make sweet bottle carbonated cider/mead/wine though.
  1. backsweetening with an unfermentable sugar such as lactose.
  2. Bottle before fermentation is complete, monitor carbonation of the bottles closely then pasteurize the bottles to kill the yeast. Some have luck with this method, but it's tricky.
  3. Bottle before fermentation is complete, monitor carbonation of the bottles closely then when carbonation is near the level you want, quickly refrigerate all the bottles and keep cold until you drink them. Again tricky because cold doesn't kill yeast, just slows them down/causes them to go inactive.
I haven't tried the last two on that list, but from what I understand they can be dangerous and require you to check carbonation levels at least daily. Pasteurizing the bottles can itself cause bottle bombs from the heating process.

You can do a non-carbed sweet cider/mead/wine by overwhelming the yeast with sugar so they die off before eating it all, this requires 3+ lbs of sugar equivalent per gallon and because of the high abv usually needs a few months of aging before it's drinkable.

Hope that helps, I'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I will chime in and correct me if I'm wrong.
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