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Old 05-02-2012, 05:59 PM   #1
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Default Cider aged 7 months, lacking taste. Would more ageing be beneficial?

Hi there,

Been reading quite a lot on this forum for the past year but never posted. But now I am in need of some advice.

I've made my first cider last October, with the apples I could find this late in the season (My grinder and press took longer to build than expected). It was mostly Cortland apples, some Spartans and a bit of Empires. I grinded and pressed the apples, sulphited the juice and the next day I pitched some EC-1118 yeast. No other additions to the juice.
Fermentation went well. Racked to secondary after 1 month and bottled with carbonation drops after an additional month and a half.

Now here's the problem, it is 7 months later now. I cracked open a bottle last weekend. The smell was great, colour is a clear golden yellow, carbonation was perfect, but it has very little taste ...and I mean VERY little.

So my question is, would ageing it longer actually bring back some of the apple flavours?
...or could there be something I could improve on for next fall's batch? Different yeast? Different apples? Bulk ageing longer?

Thanks for your help!
Max

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:22 PM   #2
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1118 is a great fermentor but it is known for blowing the flavor out of the airlock.

I like using Ale yeasts, Nottingham works well for me.

What is the SG? I've found that sometimes adding a little sweetness brings out more flavor. Try stirring a lil sweetness (honey or sugar) into your glass to see if the flavor changes.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:31 PM   #3
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Agree with sweetening a bit, say to 1008 or 1010. Seems to bring out the apple mouthfeel and flavor.

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Old 05-02-2012, 07:22 PM   #4
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Yeah I've read good things about Nottingham and other ale yeasts for cider, after the fact. I figured that might of been it. Before bottling my SG was at about 1.002 ...pretty dry but I wouldn't of minded if it had flavour.
Sweetening definitely sounds like something I should try, especially if it brings out the apple flavour. Thanks for the idea!

So, ageing it longer won't do it much good then, if the 1118 blew the flavor out?

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Old 05-02-2012, 09:24 PM   #5
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I've never used 1118 but aging can't hurt. I read all the time on here that people give up on their brews and go ahead and drink them. By the time they get to the last bottle it has matured and has become very tasty.

It's hard to do but develop a pipeline so you arn't rushing your brews before their pime.

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Old 05-02-2012, 11:35 PM   #6
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After 7 months I'm not sure _more_ aging will help any significant amount. I agree with everyone else though, my experience is that 1118 is a beast and when allowed to run rampant can really strip apple flavor. When properly controlled this is one of my faves yeast strains.

Most of the blame lies with the apples used in this case. Of the three you used all are sweet apples, lacking in depth and complexity when it comes to cidermaking. Even worse, the dominant parent in all three apples is the Mcintosh (popular eating apple, terrible cider apple) diminishing the 'variety' of your blend even more.

Since you now have a grinder and press I suggest next time trying a blend of sweet, tart, and base apples.

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Old 05-03-2012, 10:06 AM   #7
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I've read where people's apfelwein had almost zero flavour at 6 months, but at 1 year of aging that apple flavour came back. I've also heard that champagne yeasts (EC-1118 is a champagne yeast) can strip out the flavour of a cider. Even a non-champagne wine yeast strips a lot out; that's why I switched to an ale yeast.

I think LeBreton hit the nail on the head with the apple varieties. Since cider apples/juice are tough to come by for most of us, we have to make do with what we have, which is mostly juice from eating/cooking variety apples.

I think your best bet for this batch, since it's already bottled, is to just age it longer. You can always mix it with a bit of fresh juice or 7up when drinking it. Try to work around this in your next batch. I'd switch to an ale yeast, maybe add some acid blend and/or wine tannin, but go easy on both of those; it's easy to go overboard with them.
Regards, GF.

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Old 05-03-2012, 02:10 PM   #8
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The best cider I ever made used winesap ripened until they were ready to drop off of the tree. I added some Yellow Delicious and several other fall varities. Then about a quart of Crab Apples and a handfull of Hawthorne's.

It was my first batch made using the guidance of the old Readers Digest How To series of books.

The resulting cider had a great flavor.

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Old 05-04-2012, 07:09 AM   #9
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I second using ale yeasts. I have only made ciders with store juice, but notty stopped at 1.008 for me and tasted great. S-04 is another option. I have a batch of that going right now, and its almost done. The last sample I took the yeast has left a lot of really wonderful fruity flavors and a ton of apple taste.

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Old 05-16-2012, 12:16 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the tips guys!

It's almost 2 weeks later now and I tried another bottle last night. It seemed better, you could taste a bit more of the apple tartness. It's not fantastic but better. So I think I'll slowly pick at my batch this summer and see if it keeps getting better with time.

But I will definitely use ale yeast next fall and balance my apples better. I'm already experimenting with different yeasts, just bottled a small batch made from store bought juice using S-04 and will make another one with Notty shorlty.

Thanks again!

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