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Old 01-17-2010, 06:57 PM   #1
solidgrue
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Default Did I just make... wine?

I just bottled a batch of cider that I've been afraid I'd screwed up badly. I started out with two gallons of unpasteurized, unsweetened apple cider, and a half gallon of unpasteurized, unsweetened "tart" apple cider. I added 2 cups XLDME and a packet of rehydrated Nottingham yeast from "that" batch. That was it-- no pectin, no campden, no nutrient, no nuthin'. It sat 4 weeks in the primary fermenter doing its thing until I accidentally froze the whole thing solid for probably two or three days. (Long story for a different day.) I allowed the primary to thaw, and several days later I racked it over to secondary. I figured I had just killed all my yeast and was looking to get the liquid off the yeast cake.

The cider sat in secondary for about 10 weeks while it cleared. Today I bottled it. The sample I tried was quite dry and smooth, with a strong apple character. It reminds me of a Chardonnay or an off-dry Pino Grigio with strong apple notes. On a lark, I added 1/2 cup table sugar (boiled, sterilized, etc.) to either back-sweeten or prime. It's bottled in green 12 oz beer bottles.

Whatever it is I've ended up with, it's really good! But what is it? Is this a cider? Is it a wine? Is there a risk of this going 'bad' and should I drink it quickly, or should I let it sit and mellow? Is there any chance there is any yeast left active and this batch will carbonate?

I also wanted to add, "Cheers" to Revy and the rest of you sages for all those threads advising us to wait our mistakes out! Otherwise I might have dumped the whole thing when it froze.

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Old 01-17-2010, 08:40 PM   #2
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What was your starting SG? Craft ciders won't put any sugar in to ferment, but I think the 6 pack ciders do to an extent. My personal definition is that if it is lower than 8.5%, it is a cider. If it is higher than 10%, it is a wine. And that middle range is the twilight zone.

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Old 01-17-2010, 08:43 PM   #3
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PS - you didn't kill the yeast when it froze, but only made it go dormant. I have recently been schooled in cold crashing, because I was claiming you couldn't do it with cider. UK cider makers allow their stuff to ferment outside, which freezes, thaws, and starts ferementing again. Thing about cold crashing is that it has to be racked off of the lees when it is at the low temps to get it to work.

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:13 PM   #4
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quote: "really good! But what is it? Is this a cider? Is it a wine? Is there a risk of this going 'bad' and should I drink it quickly, or should I let it sit and mellow?"

It's not going to go bad, but you should drink it quickly!

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Old 01-17-2010, 09:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CandleWineProject View Post
What was your starting SG? ... My personal definition is that if it is lower than 8.5%, it is a cider. If it is higher than 10%, it is a wine. And that middle range is the twilight zone.
If I recall correctly, it was around 1.055. I'm estimating it finished up around 6.5 or 7%, so sounds like it might still be a 'cider.'

That's good to hear about the freezing only making the yeasties go dormant. I have some hope this batch will still pick up a little fizz! I'll follow up with how it works out.
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