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-   -   Hardly any flavor...help! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/hardly-any-flavor-help-198171/)

LadyJ171 09-29-2010 06:36 AM

Hardly any flavor...help!
I tried to make a batch of Apple/black cherry cider from a combo recipe found here and advice from guys at the supply shop.

Used Tree-Top Apple Juice and Organic 100% Black Cherry Juice (not from concentrate).

Was told that for a sweeter cider I should use a wine making yeast-which was supplied by the guys at the shop on their recommendation.

Then Bottling sugar after second fermentation.

I ended up with a clean taste-no residual yeast or anything, enough carbonation (wouldnt have minded a bit more) but NO FLAVOR!! Really, it tasted almost like very watered down Martinelli's Cider that you can buy in the store. It was not sweet at all, in fact it was pretty tart if you can make water tart. I didnt drink mine but a friend did and he said that there was enough alcohol in it and so that wasnt a problem.

Where did I go wrong? I'd really like to try again.

Kauai_Kahuna 09-29-2010 10:37 AM

How long since bottling? Did you add any sugars to the fermentation?
Usually cider is very stripped down and bland tasting for the first couple of months of conditioning. The flavor does come back after time depending on the ABV, lower means faster.
If using a wine yeast, I'm pretty sure you went down to a SG of 0.098 or lower. That can make a pretty dry cider that will take a good amount of time to let the flavor come out.
I usually use a beer yeast, let it ferment down, cold crash, then rack to a secondary and add one or two cans of AJ concentrate. Even then I try very hard to let it condition for six months or more.

CvilleKevin 09-29-2010 01:23 PM

Dont use wine or champange yeast if you want a sweet cider. Use ale or wheat

LadyJ171 09-29-2010 07:21 PM

We bottled in April and had our first try just this last Sunday, so about 5 months ago. And we only added bottling sugar, no other sugar was added.

Thanks for the tips, I am going to let this batch sit around for a while and I am going to try again for something that we can drink around Valentine's Day.

Hopefully round 2 will be much sweeter and more to my liking.

CvilleKevin 09-29-2010 08:03 PM

If you bottle pasteurize (or cold crash, if you have a kegging setup) you can have a sweet cider that is ready in much less time than that. I've got a keg in the fridge now that I pressed less than a month ago.

LadyJ171 09-29-2010 08:12 PM

Ok, I have no idea how to do that :) This was my very first attempt at anything. How do I make it quicker??

CvilleKevin 09-29-2010 11:54 PM

If you stop the fermentation before the yeast eats all of the apple sugar, then the sugars will balance the acids and you dont need to wait for the acids to mellow out as you do when you ferment it dry. For bottles, the most reliable way for home brewers is the bottle pasteurization method in the sticky. For kegs, its less effort to cold crash, but takes a little practice and the right yeast.

LadyJ171 09-30-2010 12:02 AM

Thank you for your help. Everyone on here is so kind. I am excited to try again this weekend!

wildman 09-30-2010 12:23 AM

ill second the apple juice concentrate in place of any other sugars. i wouldn't use anything else for priming.

Pappers_ 09-30-2010 12:40 AM

Julie, Kevin's advice is exactly on target, leaving some residual apple sweetness in the cider will not only increase the sweetness, but also the apple flavor. And it will be ready to drink much faster. Some people call this style a 'draft style' cider - its simple, not very complex or layered, light, crisp and a little sweet.

Earlier, I was visiting with MeadWitch about her efforts to make a cider and wrote out a recipe that might be helpful to you:


Here's a recipe version:

1. add 5 gallons of apple cider or juice (with no preservatives in it) to a sanitzed carboy - for quick and easy hard cider, I use store bought apple juice

2. add 3 teaspoons pectic enzyme to the cider

3. add one packet of dry ale yeast such as Nottingham

4. put on a stopper and airlock, or loosely cover with sanitized aluminum foil

5. let ferment for approximately 1 week or until the cider is at the balance of sweetness /dryness you desire; if you use a hydrometer, a reading of 1.010 will be semi-dry

6. prepare a priming solution of 2/3 cups white sugar boiled in 2 cups of water; cool to room temperature

7. add priming solution and cider to bottling bucket

8. bottle and cap, using bottles made for carbonated beverages such as beer or champagne bottles

9. allow bottles to conditioned and carbonate in an area at least 70 F

10. occasionally test bottles for carbonation process by opening one and tasting

11. when desired carbonation level is reached (but before bottles begin exploding), pasteurize the cider to kill the yeast and stop fermentation; prepare a hot water bath of 190 F water, carefully set the bottles in the bath for ten minutes and remove; repeat until all the bottles are pasteurized

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