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Old 11-23-2009, 09:38 AM   #1
Professor
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Default First Cider

First thing, I'm in Central Asia (Dushanbe, Tajikistan) and have almost 0 access to any brewing additives etc. I picked up some Red Star Pasteur yeast and a few supplies (ferment locks, tubing, etc) last time I was in the States.

I've just started my first hard cider using apple juice from locally grown apples, the natural cider (about 4.8 gallons)was very sweet before I pitched the yeast, OG 1.070.

After 1 week in a primary fermentation brewing bucket with fermentation lock the gravity is now at 1.0000. I'm wondering how long I should keep it in the primary before I rack it to a glass carboy. And then how long to keep it in the glass carboy. At this point I imagine that the only thing I'm really waiting for is the cider to clarify before I bottle it.

I tasted it today when I measure the gravity and it is very dry, so I'm hoping for some advice on back sweetening and carbonating in the bottle. I heard that adding a back sweetener (splenda or lactose) will neutralize the yeast making it impossible to carbonate, might simply be a cruel rumor.

cheers and thanks in advance for any advice.

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Old 11-23-2009, 10:36 AM   #2
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I would leave it in the primary for a few more days, sometimes it can get as low as 0.998. After that you can let it sit in the secondary for as long as you want until you're ready to bottle. It mellows out and clears up if you let it sit. If you can wait, six months is a good number most people shoot for.

Yeast needs sugar to produce alcohol and CO2. Sweeteners like Splenda and lactose that don't contain sugar won't be eaten and the yeast will not cause carbonation (by producing CO2). Now, say you wanted a sweet cider that was naturally carbonated (carbonated using yeast). You could add sugar before bottling to add carbonation, and Splenda to increase the overall sweetness. Some people complain about the taste of lactose...I'm not sure...I don't use artificial sweeteners so I'm sure somebody will chime in and point you in the right direction of what artificial sweeteners taste best.

If you get into brewing more you can do kegging later on which makes carbonating sweet cider easier. You can filter out any yeast, add sugar, then carbonating using CO2 gas. Then if you wanted, you could even bottle the carbonated cider. I'm guessing that would be later on when you can get to a supplier in another country (or have it shipped).

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Old 11-23-2009, 11:11 AM   #3
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Kegging makes a lot of sense as its seems to give a lot more freedom for back sweetening and carbonating. I'll have to ask around to see if I could acquire some kind of kegging set up her in Dushanbe.

I'm not convinced that I will back sweeten it. I don't have a lot of experience with cider, drinking it or making it, but the few Ciders I have had commercially are all pretty sweet, most of them are too sweet. I'm wondering how a completely or nearly complete dry cider would taste.

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Old 11-23-2009, 12:41 PM   #4
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That's true, I know people who like sweet drinks but when they try a dry cider they actually like it. I think it might be because of the citrus and flower aroma left over after fermenting. Also there alternatives to just adding sugar. Additives like cinnamon and vanilla bean can also add a "sweetness" to the cider.

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Old 11-23-2009, 06:28 PM   #5
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If the og was 1.070 the apples were very ripe and should make a good cider. If you leave it in secondary a while it should go through a malolactic which will soften the flavour a lot. I would advise not sweetening till you give it some time to age and decide if you like the flavour, carbing will also improve it.

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