Originally Posted by bdub
I am new to the world of brewing, and want to try my hand at cider. But, of course, I have a few questions.
My goal is the common cider. I dont want something as dry or strong as Eds ApfelWein(i am making this as a 21st bday gift for a friend who prefers things more along the lines of magners, ill make me some apfelwein one of these days.)
that in mind,
1. What recipe should i use?
A. Should I add Sugar, and if so, which type?
B. What sort of yeast should i use?
2. How long should this process take? I dont need it until April, so i figure i can let it sit for quite a while, but i dont want it to sit in the primary too long.
3. Is there any other equipment that i need to make cider besides a single carboy and bottling equipment?
Thats all i have for now, but any other advice you have for me is greatly appreciated.
From everything I have read (and so far tried), I would recommend NOT adding any additional sugar, especially if you want something of a more moderate alcohol level.
Just get some preservative-free apple juice from the store shelf (I've used Mott's with good success), and add some yeast nutrient and pitch your yeast. Apple juice will completely ferment out (FG of 1.000 and often lower), but I've heard people say that using ale yeast, or wheat yeast in particular, leaves a more appley flavor to the cider. Wine yeast, particularly Montrachet, leaves the cider very tart and dry (tastey, but not what it seems like you're trying to make).
Let it sit in primary for at least 2 weeks (longer if you can), and then you can move it to secondary to clear up and condition a bit more. If the cider is not sweet enough when you want to bottle, you can backsweeten with some Splenda or lactose. If you use Splenda, add slowly and taste as you do it. It will take a bit of lactose to gain any noticeable sweetness, but I've used it for mine and it worked well.
Then, for carbonated cider, prime with the normal amount of dextrose that you'd use for 5 gallons of beer (3/4 cup).