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Old 06-19-2009, 02:24 AM   #1
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Default Hefeweizen Cider: Tasting Notes from Friends

I brought a case of my Wyeast 3068 fermented hard cider over to a friend's place one night before a party for the group to try out. The bulk of the cider (16L) is being reserved for my 21st birthday party, so these are the thoughts from my friends while tasting a "young" cider.

Legal drinking age in Canada is 18/19 FYI.

The cider started at 1.056 and finished at 1.004, give or take a few gravity points based on temperature variations. That's about 5.5% ABV if I'm doing my calculations correctly (SG-FGx131). After 2 weeks in the bottle there wasn't any carbonation, much to my dismay. Although I believe the process might be beginning because I detected a very faint peanut butter after-taste, which was much stronger during the original primary fermentation.

The comments were generally positive. The apple flavour came through, and although my friends are used to sweetened commercial hard ciders they still enjoyed it. It tasted to many of them like weak white wine with apple juice. This is where the comments started to take a turn for the worst. The most profound comment was that it tasted very "strong", which in my mind means hoochy. Perhaps it was just the lack of carbonation that reduced the appeal of the cider, although I'm not sure how much more a Hefeweizen-inspired cider can mellow after having spent a total of 3 months aging in primary, secondary and bottle...

I hope that the cider will carbonate fully by my birthday in September and that the carbonation will offer some opposition to the alcoholic burn, which I quite enjoyed...

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Old 06-19-2009, 04:42 AM   #2
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Seamus,

How long was it in the bottle? As much as I hate to hear it, I have to say it... let it age. I have read other folks' words (they have vastly more experience that I do... LOL, I am noob) -- let it age. A cider out of the secondary can be tolerable, and still taste harsh, watery, skunky, beery... but put it in a bottle for a month, and it might be "ok"... after three months, it might be "pretty good"... after 6 months, it might be good enough to kick yourself for not having thought it was going to be THIS good, and starting another batch 5 months previous. After 6 months, it just keeps getting better, until you brag on HBT. ;-)

Personally, I haven't even reached the 4 month stage w/ any of my stuff.... I get impatient and try it young, and I wind up dribbling it away. I guess I'm going to have to make enough that I get tired of the young stuff and shelf the rest for several months. Just a thought.

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Oh my gosh, but cider's neat.
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Good in the cold or in the heat.
Oh my gosh, but cider's neat!

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Old 06-19-2009, 06:14 PM   #3
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If your batch finished at 1.004 and tastes OK, a few months of aging should smooth it it nicely.

I did two keg batches with Wyeast 3068 this season. The first was with a mix of Staymans and Winesaps, second was Yorks and Fujis. On both I bumped the sg to 1.060. The first I cold crashed at 1.030 and the second at 1.020. That sounds ridiculously sweet, and with an ale yeast it would be, but for some reason with the 3068 it comes out fairly light and fruity and not cloying. Not only did my girlfriend love it - even my wine drinking friends who dont like anything over 1.002 liked it.

Out of curiosity, from the last 3068 batch, I poured off a gallon and let it ferment all the way out before crashing it. It went all the way down to 1.000 and tasted like getting punched in the head with a lemon. GF hated it - said it tasted vile and made me promise to write in my notes never to give her anything like that again. I didnt think it was THAT bad, but it definitely wasnt good. I gave it to a friend for making vinegar.

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Old 06-19-2009, 06:23 PM   #4
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i'm not much for plain sugar, yeast, and apple juice.

simple recipe, simple results.

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Old 06-19-2009, 07:01 PM   #5
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My guess is that is because you are not using fresh juice. Making cider with store bought juice or concentrate is like making wine with Welch's or grape concentrate. I'm sure it will ferment out and you might even be able to tweak it to get something drinkable, but its not going to compare to using vine ripened, fresh pressed grapes. Same goes for apples.

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Old 06-19-2009, 07:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
My guess is that is because you are not using fresh juice. Making cider with store bought juice or concentrate is like making wine with Welch's or grape concentrate. I'm sure it will ferment out and you might even be able to tweak it to get something drinkable, but its not going to compare to using vine ripened, fresh pressed grapes. Same goes for apples.
This is misleading. The type of grapes used for juice and the type used for wine are two VERY different things.

The type of apples used for fresh juice, and the stuff you buy at the store are pretty much the same thing.

bit of a disconnect comparing wine grapes to grape juice and drawing a parallel for fresh pressed and bottles at the store.

I have used fresh pressed and fromt concentrate 1 gallon jugs. After fermentation there are only slight differences which the average person couldn't tell, assuming the juicing apples are the same. Obviously green apples or crabapples don't come in a concentrate.
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:33 PM   #7
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Apple varieties are just as different as grape varieties.

Maybe I should have been more specific - The types of apples used to make sweet apple juice, including concentrate, most store bought juice and even a lot of the roadside fresh stuff - are high sugar, low acid, low tannin varieties, such as Red and Yellow Delicious. They are the apple equivalent of a Concord grape. They taste good fresh, but when you ferment off the sugar, there isnt much taste left.

If you want something that will taste good without a lot of additives, you need to start with a little research to find out what varieties are grown in your area that will give you some acid and tannin. Then call around to the local presses to see what they will sell you. Most presses use some sort of 'flavor' apples to give some zip to whatever cheap bulk apples they are using. Those are usually the ones you want. Staymans, Winesaps, Jonathans, Yorks, Granny Smiths, etc. Some presses can get apples that are specifically cultivated for hard cider. Pippens, Russets, Black Twig, etc. Those are even better but usually more expensive.

In Virginia, unpasteurized juice can only be sold at the press. If you go with pasteurized, make sure it is UV and not heat treated. UV sets the pectin a bit but doesnt affect the taste. Heat treating knocks a lot of the flavor out.

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Old 06-19-2009, 10:17 PM   #8
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I always just add tannin and acid blend.

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Old 06-19-2009, 10:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post

Out of curiosity, from the last 3068 batch, I poured off a gallon and let it ferment all the way out before crashing it. It went all the way down to 1.000 and tasted like getting punched in the head with a lemon. GF hated it - said it tasted vile and made me promise to write in my notes never to give her anything like that again. I didnt think it was THAT bad, but it definitely wasnt good. I gave it to a friend for making vinegar.
This is why I do a malolactic fermentation straight after primary. That sour taste is the malic acid, the acid used in sour candy, and a malo gets rid of that sourness. I don't know for sure but I assume all commercial cider goes through a malo. The difference with a malo is amazing, much softer and less sour and it doesn't take away that apple flavour though some say it does. Next time you ferment dry do a malo as well, if you can get the lactic acid bacteria. It makes the cider much more drinkable.
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