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Old 04-18-2011, 03:37 AM   #1
collegebrewer13
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Default First time brewing cider, need help/suggestions please!

Hi Everyone,

I am going to be fermenting my first batch of cider very soon. I just finished fermenting my first batch of wine. I just have some questions about the cider...

Right now I am planning on fermenting 3 one gallon carboys with pasteurized apple cider. I have different yeasts that I plan to use for each one (champagne, ale, lager). I am trying to decide if I want add sugar or anything else before hand. I want a sweet cider with decent alcohol content.

I was planning on using brown sugar, no sugar, and then honey to boost the abv. After fermentation I was going to add a little more sugar depending on taste and was thinking about adding some cinnamon sticks to one of the bottles.

Questions I have:
1) Should additives be added before or after fermentation?
2) I want to let it sit for 5 to 6 months after fermentation and racking, can I do this? Will it need to be refrigerated?
3) What are some good additives for ciders? Like I said, I am aiming for a sweet, very fall season type of drink.
4) How long will it take for fermentation?

Thats all I can think of now. Like I said I am brand new to this. I am a college student and this has become kind of an obsession. I am really interested in home brewing. Especially because I love ciders with a passion.

Any help or suggestions would greatly be appreciated! Thanks

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Old 04-18-2011, 03:54 AM   #3
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Sounds good. (+1 on what Pappers said.)

To answer your questions:
1. What do you mean by additives? If you mean cinnamon and other spices, you can add it at anytime you want! If you mean additives as in chemical stabilisers, then they are added post-fermentation to stop further fermentation upon backsweetening.

2. This is absolutely fine and will taste AMAZING if you are able to do it. Keep it under airlock and make sure you rack from your vessel when there is a 1/4" of lees. Lees is the term given to proteins/yeast sediment/other insoluble components settling on the bottom of the vessel. If the cider is left on it for too long then it will develop off-flavours. When racking or handling the cider in anyway be careful of oxidation, try not to splash it too much and always keep it under airlock.

3. Plain cider is the best. Yeast + apple juice. That's my opinion though, one of the greatest ciders I have made has been with caramelised sugar/honey. Other people add spices like nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla etc. The most important thing is to do or add to get something that YOU like.

4. Depending on the yeast strain, temperature, sugar and it can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month +. Your champagne yeast will most likely finish first followed by the other two. After it has finished fermenting I would suggest leaving it along for another week or two so the yeast has time to clean up after themselves.

Hope this helps.

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Old 04-18-2011, 01:50 PM   #4
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To make sweet cider you have three options...
1. End the fermentation early by killing the yeast and use a keg to force carb your cider.
2. Let it ferment dry (not sweet) and then back sweeten it with sugar substitutes (not fermentable), add a small amount of real sugar and bottle carb it (let the yeast ferment again).
3. End the fermentation early, do not kill the yeast, bottle carb and then bottle pasteurize it (excellent post by pappers in the sticky section "Easy Stove-Top Pasteurizing - With Pics").
Turns out sweet cider is much harder to make than dry cider...

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Old 04-21-2011, 04:22 AM   #5
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Tell me what you think of this:

I let it ferment completely, rack it, then use the wine stabilizer to kill whatever yeast is alive (or will it all dead from alcohol content?). Then, I add the sugar or natural sweetener of my choosing and let it age? Could this possibly work?

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Old 04-21-2011, 03:25 PM   #6
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I'm still a newbie but... the only problem with that is you need yeast to make it carbonated (or a keg will do the same). Your brew is probably not high enough in ABV to kill all the yeasties. There will be a few left over and if you introduce more sugar, it will take off and multiply again, producing more alcohol and more importantly, more CO2. That's why you add a very specific amount of priming sugar so the yeast stop fermenting and leaving your bottled brew carbonated but not so carbonated to produce bottle bombs. Priming sugar does not make it sweeter, just carbonated. You can always add too much sugar and follow option 3 in my previous post. I plan on doing this to try bottle pasteurizing for the first time. It seems the trick, however, is to bottle pasteurize it BEFORE they start exploding.
If you don't want carbonated cider, then your plan make perfect sense.

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Old 04-21-2011, 04:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by collegebrewer13 View Post
Tell me what you think of this:

I let it ferment completely, rack it, then use the wine stabilizer to kill whatever yeast is alive (or will it all dead from alcohol content?). Then, I add the sugar or natural sweetener of my choosing and let it age? Could this possibly work?
If you do this, and use camden tablets and/or Kmeta (potassium metabisulfite) to kill the yeast, then you will have a fine sweet STILL cider.

As sashurlow has said to have a carbonated, sweet (non-artificial) cider without force carbing, is the bane of most homebrewers.

Just to let you know, I have found (for me) that if I am planning on pasteurizing a sweet cider, I do everything I would normally do, prime in the bottling bucket, and bottle - but use one or two plastic soda bottles (16.9oz.) Then I have a measure for how carbonated it is getting, just by pushing on the sides. If it becomes rock hard, I know I have left it too long and I cold crash and don't pasteurize because it causes more pressure on the bottles (BOOOM.) I want the plastic bottle to have a little give, but not much. I know that is really subjective but I just open one when I think it's at a good level and check for fizz. Of course you can do this with beer bottles as well, I just think at that point you are more or less guessing at carb levels and I like to be as scientific as possible (Dammit Jim, I'm a Doctor not a liquor smith!)

If you are thinking about it make sure to read Pappers wonder full thread on Pasteurization with Pics.
Just don't forget about checking on the carbonation levels and take some obvious safety measures (lid on the pot) and you should be fine.

Cheers,
The Doctor
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:08 AM   #8
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So I started my fermentation on Sunday. I made 3 one gallon batches:
1) Ancient Orange Mead
2) Hard Apple Cider with 1 cup of brown sugar and a little molasses
3) Hard Apple Cider with 1 1/2 cup white sugar

#2 and #3 are not bubbling very vigorously as of tonight. The orange mead is going crazy. I used ale yeast and lager yeast for the two ciders. Should I be concerned? They are bubbling but not very much.

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Old 04-26-2011, 04:37 AM   #9
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You will be fine, just relax

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Old 04-26-2011, 04:51 AM   #10
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@dr who...love the bones ref!

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