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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > First timer questions on cider for Christmas
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Old 10-29-2012, 09:33 PM   #1
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Default First timer questions on cider for Christmas

I've got two 1 gallon jugs of local, fresh (but pasteurized) jonagold cider, a packet of champagne yeast, and a couple of bungs and airlocks.

I'd like to have hard cider come Christmastime. If I'm not satisfied with the OG of the juice, how/or should I go about adding sugar and/or spices given that the juice but not the sugar/spices will be sterile?

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Old 10-30-2012, 06:39 AM   #2
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I have never sterilized my sugar. If you are worried about it put just enough water in a pan and get it up to boiling then add the sugar to boil for a bit. If you are using honey to sweeten, many people say it kills the taste to boil it. In that case just add it to some boiled water to get it up to temp.

I would also cool whatever mixture you make so it doesn't heat the cider to much, otherwise it can set the pectins and make it much harder to clear.

I would also recommend s04, Nottingham, or some type of ale yeast as it doesn't completely dry out the cider. When I have used Champagne yeast it seems to take a lot of the apple flavor out and make it more 'white wine-y' then cider tasting.

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Old 10-30-2012, 07:23 AM   #3
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Next batch I'll try it with Nottingham. Does that get the FG down as well as champagne yeast?

I ended up skipping the sugar. My cider had a SG of 1.052, which seems acceptable to me.

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Old 10-30-2012, 07:26 AM   #4
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+1 on the ale yeast, champagne yeast tends to strip out a lot of flavour. I'm with TAPPAR on the sugar too, good advice there. I mostly use malt extract rather than sugar, I think it's far superior.

As far as spices, I'd avoid the powdered spices (unless you can make a sort of teabag for them) and go with whole, cracked or sliced spice. Ground or powdered makes quite a mess & cannot be removed without filtration unless you use a teabag & makeshift teabags can fail.

With whole or sliced spice, I just put them in a hop sack & pop it into the carbouy. You can add a couple sanitized marbles to the sack if you feel the need to weigh it down. That way, you can remove the spice when your cider reaches the desired flavour profile.

If you want hard cider by Christmas, you'd better get fermenting soon, especially if you want it sparkling. It takes 4-5 weeks for a cider to carb up, which leaves you very little time for fermentation & clearing.
Regards, GF.

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Old 10-31-2012, 01:36 AM   #5
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It's in my crawlspace happily bubbling away.

I'll keep malt extract in mind. My LHBS does sell it in small quantities.

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Old 10-31-2012, 04:50 PM   #6
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I usually stop the fermentation before it completely finishes (I like it a bit sweeter) but yes, it will ferment it out if you let it.

I definitely second using malts in the cider, search graff on the forums for more info on a more beer like cider. I just got done bottling two growlers worth of a pumpkin graff and it tastes wonderful especially for being so young, the family should be happy for thanksgiving

Also, my cider seems to carb up in under a week in my bottles, however it might be due to me keeping it sweeter so there is still pretty active fermentation when I bottle before I pasteurize.

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Old 11-01-2012, 12:10 AM   #7
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Not to hijack but how does dried malt extract affect SG compared to corn sugar?

Is a lb of extract comparable to lb of sugar?

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Old 11-01-2012, 12:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roadymi View Post
Not to hijack but how does dried malt extract affect SG compared to corn sugar?

Is a lb of extract comparable to lb of sugar?
Here is a calculator that will let you work that out for a wide variety of ingredients: http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebre...pe/calculator/
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