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Old 09-21-2008, 05:29 PM   #1
Winesburg Ale
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Default Cider/Cyser Advice

I tried making hard cider a few years back with limited sucess. I think I added too much sugar and then used a yeast that gave an overly-dry finished product - there was very little apple character. So, I've come up with the following recipe for this batch, let me know what you think:

3 Gallons apple cider
1/2 pound honey
1/2 stick of cinnamon
Munton's ale yeast (dry yeast)

I'd like to have a cider that doesn't require a ton of aging, so I'm shooting for an alcohol content of 6% by volume. I'm sure the alcohol level will depend a lot on the cider I start with, so I'll adjust the honey accordingly. I'm planning to use the Munton's yeast because I think that will leave a little residual sweetness.

My plan is to simmer the cider and honey at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or so to kill off pesky microbes. I'd throw the cinnamon stick in with about 10 minutes to go.

I'd like to do a single stage fermentation in my ale pale, if that will give me a sufficiently clear cider, then prime the bottles with corn sugar.

Does anyone see any flaws in my plan? Any suggestions for improvement?

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Old 09-21-2008, 05:49 PM   #2
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Stop!
Don't heat that honey! And sinnering the apple juice isn't the best idea Either

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Old 09-21-2008, 05:50 PM   #3
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The only flaw I see is the 30 minute thing. If your apple juice is coming from the store, it's free of nasties. Honey is natural antimicrobial. No need for a 30 minute simmer. If you're more comfortable heating it, just do it for a few minutes.

I've not used Munton's for cider before so please post back how it comes out.

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Old 09-21-2008, 06:42 PM   #4
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Windsor might be a better ale yeast choice (ie, might be even less dry, from what I read), but if you have the Munton's on hand, fine as well.

OTOH, cider tends to ferment fairly dry with most any yeast, IMPE. I don't recall what (probably either munton's or fosters) ale yeast I made the last batch of cider with (poor notes, sorry) but it fermented down below 1.000 anyway. That was with no added sugar or spice, and was dry in a nice way, not dry in a nasty way.

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Old 09-21-2008, 07:10 PM   #5
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I'm just a newbie, still, but I'm fairly confident that most yeasts are going to take a sugar boosted cider down to 10% ABV (assuming a sugar boost ratio equal to 2# per 5 gallon batch).

I don't call 10% 'bone-dry', but most of my friends do!

If you don't already have a known, tried and true, target gravity to aim for, then I recommend letting it go to below 1.000, where you will have options.

Such as back-sweetening to your taste, either in the bottle, the keg, or even the glass.

Killing the fermentation too early risks leaving yourself with something too sweet, and no desirable options.

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Old 09-22-2008, 12:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winesburg Ale View Post

3 Gallons apple cider
1/2 pound honey
1/2 stick of cinnamon
Munton's ale yeast (dry yeast)

I'd like to have a cider that doesn't require a ton of aging, so I'm shooting for an alcohol content of 6% by volume.

My plan is to simmer the cider and honey at 180 degrees for 30 minutes or so to kill off pesky microbes. I'd throw the cinnamon stick in with about 10 minutes to go.

Does anyone see any flaws in my plan? Any suggestions for improvement?
I doubt you'll be able to taste that 1/2 lb of honey in 3 gallons at all when the fermentation is done. Honey takes a while to ferment & will likely add to your aging time, though with such a small amount this may be negligible. I think ANY commercial yeast will easily ferment this dry. If you heat the juice to the boiling/simmering point, you run the risk of setting the pectins which will cause a hazy end product. Simmering honey will drive off much of the flavour. I'd use pectic enzyme & mix the honey into the juice with a sanitized blender. I've only added spice to secondary, so I don't know just how the spice flavour will change in primary, but I do know that it will change. Instead of honey, maybe use plain old white cane sugar. I'd add some yeast nutrient too. If you want this sweeter, you'll have to stabilize & backsweeten, which will make it impossible to bottle condition. If you want it sweet & carbed at 6% ABV, you'll have to force carb in a keg. Hope you find some of this useful. Regards, GF.
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