So I'm working on starting a cider this next week and I think I have most of the procedural stuff down, but I've got 2 specific questions I'm having a harder time finding answers to and I'm hoping someone can help me out.
First is about the yeast. I'm wanting to brew a cider with a final alcohol content of about 4-5%. As I understand it sugars turn in to alcohol after the yeast has it's way with them. So a mixture going into fermentation with 4-5% sugars should yield roughly a 4-5% cider, correct? I'm wanting to try to replicate something with the sweetness of a woodchuck cider, which I think my hydrometer tells me is about 5% sugar after it's 5% alcohol. (bear with me on the specific gravity, SG, stuff. I don't quite get all of that yet). So my question is this.
Since I want a cider that is roughly 5% alcohol and 5% sugar at the end, do I want to boost my mixture going into the carboy to 10% and pull it at 5%? Or do I want to just bring it to 5% sugar, ferment that, and then sweeten to 5% on the back end? I hope that makes sense. I'm planning on using a safale us-05 yeast as that is what the local homebrew guys recommended. Also, is there any preference on what kinds of sugar I should use, and when I should add concentrate? (before or after 1st fermentation)
Second is carbonation. I would love to avoid exploding bottles, but I would also like to end up with a moderately carbonated cider. I'm thinking my only way of carbonating is to do it in the bottle with sugar added before capping. So my question is, is this the best way for me to carbonate in the beginning, and if so, how much sugar do I add and when?
Thanks for all the help. Looking forward to hearing back from yall.