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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Looking to Try New Yeasts other than Nottingham
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Old 04-25-2011, 11:15 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone, lot's of great suggestions here! I am definitely going to have to do plenty of experimenting!

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Definitely try wyeasts cider yeast. I also have consitently good results with L-1118.

I am a big fan of malolactic ciders when they go well. Then again, I love backsweetening with cider and making draft ciders (like woodchuck) too. Variety is the spice of life.
If I had to describe one type of commercial cider that I am trying to emulate, it would be woodchuck. My past batches I have liked a lot, and are obviously sweeter, but they taste much more like a Hardcore than Woodchuck. Sweet, but beery. You mention draft ciders, what makes it a draft cider? I haven't heard anything about it in any of my research. What can you tell me about that? Or should I just search the forum and see what I can find?
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Old 04-26-2011, 12:00 AM   #12
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In draft style the fermentation is stopped before it is completed leaving residual sugars and flavors. Then it is kegged and force carbonated.

My girlfriend picked up some woodchuck last night and I actually thought it was good, much better than when I tried it some 5 years ago. But it is much much to sweet for my tastes and stomach. I couldn't do any hard drinking with it because all that sugar would make me puke sooner than later. It also seems to have (not kidding) less than half the flavor of my dry cider. It makes me suspect that I might still use crabs even if I had access to true cider apples.

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Old 04-26-2011, 01:13 PM   #13
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Thanks everyone, lot's of great suggestions here! I am definitely going to have to do plenty of experimenting!



If I had to describe one type of commercial cider that I am trying to emulate, it would be woodchuck. My past batches I have liked a lot, and are obviously sweeter, but they taste much more like a Hardcore than Woodchuck. Sweet, but beery. You mention draft ciders, what makes it a draft cider? I haven't heard anything about it in any of my research. What can you tell me about that? Or should I just search the forum and see what I can find?
I never get beery flavor from my ciders. Though when I started making ciders that is how I thought they all would turn out Recently I have been experimenting with a semi-sweet cider with wheat malt extract, think I am going to switch to a concentrated wheat from mash. I call it "farmhand" and it is a 9.6% cider that has a malt character, geared towards a man's palate. Stronger and a dry tasting cider, but semi-sweet. Still haven't worked the recipe fully out but it is getting there. That one gets bottled, 9.6 on a draft can be deadly

Draft cider being as wildman described it below, or any cider that gets carbonated and would be served from a draft (tastes like a woodchuck or similar). These ciders are often put on a draft, and you can consume copious amounts of them if you are a cider drinker. Easy to make these ciders, and with middle of the road cider, you can make a very good woodchuck clone.

At my house we usually always have a draft cider of some variety that I made on one of my two taps. My wife loves them. That is her after work go to drink. My my middle of the road ciders are destined for back sweetening and force carbing.
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Old 04-26-2011, 04:31 PM   #14
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Hmmmm those all sound good! I guess I have been stopping my fermentations before they complete, but I don't have a keg or anyway to force carb yet

And as for the "beery" taste I describe, in all honesty, I don't think it tastes beery but everyone that tastes it does. Its not grainy or hopsy or anything, I think it is just the taste of yeast. Not strong or anything, but the flavors that the yeast leave I think is what makes people say that. Either way, my ciders have it and so do ciders like Hardcore, while ciders like woodchuck do not.

Also one last thought... I drank a cider the other day called hornsby's, and I noticed that the number one ingredient was carbonated water. Are they cheating the system and just adding carbonated water before bottling? Could I do this, and just make a real strong cider, then add some concentrate and carbed water before bottling? Might be easier than any other method of getting sweet, carbonated cider

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Old 04-26-2011, 04:44 PM   #15
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If you want to carb your cider, and have tremendous flexibility a keg set up is the way to go hands down. You can ferment dry, back sweeten with apple/cider concentrate, etc., and get a phenomal still cider. However you need to sulfite and sorbate it so it won't start eating the sugars again. Once you sulfite and sorbate you can't bottle carb... if you have a kegging set up you simply force carbonate.

Ciders like woodchuck hornsby, etc. They all basically add sugar to an apple juice concentrate and get high ABV cider that doesn't taste so great. Then they back sweeten with cider/juice and add water to get the ABV to 5%. You can do a very similar thing at home as I described above. However, your cider will likely have more character (if you use fresh pressed apples) - I know my ciders taste way better than woodchuck.

Keep in mind you can back sweeten with anything, so you could use pear juice, lemon juice, raspberries etc. One of my favorite draft ciders is my rasp. where I steep 24 oz of raspberries, add a touch of malic acid and sweeten with apple juice.

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Old 04-26-2011, 05:10 PM   #16
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Ciders like woodchuck hornsby, etc. They all basically add sugar to an apple juice concentrate and get high ABV cider that doesn't taste so great. Then they back sweeten with cider/juice and add water to get the ABV to 5%. You can do a very similar thing at home as I described above. However, your cider will likely have more character (if you use fresh pressed apples) - I know my ciders taste way better than woodchuck.
I know you probably didn't mention this as a good way to go, but I just might! It actually sounds like it would probably work pretty well. I have lots of nottingham left over, do you think it will work fine for this process?

Also, I obviously hear a lot of people mentioning using fresh apples in their ciders. Do almost all of them grow their own apples? Or do they have an orchard where they can get them super cheap? Because If I go to the store and buy apples, I have heard I need 20lbs of apples for 1 gallon of juice. I will be lucky to get apples for $1 a pound, so thats $20+ a gallon. If I buy apple cider, its only $4 a gallon. It just isn't economical for me to purchase apples, even if it is better. I was just wondering if anyone is actually going to a Target or Walmart or grocery store and buying full priced apples for cider making
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:46 PM   #17
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I've been working through different yeasts refining the taste of my ciders as well. I started with EC-1118 and let it go dry. I didn't like the flavor much, and I'm not really a dry type of person so I attempted to back sweeten but that just seemed to accentuate the funky flavors. I had let the wine sit on the lees for over two months as some of my friends do before transfer.

I next tried Nottingham and got a better tasting result, but at the same time I chose to be stupid and put in too much sugar (in this case honey). The result was a sweet wine that tastes quite good, but is very sweet, almost like a port wine to me. The FG was 1.022 when I transferred off the lees, having started somewhere north of 1.10 apparently. The wine was very drinkable directly after transfer, and has only gotten better. It will get you stupid real quick and goes down way too easy. I have to watch the consumption rate carefully. I serve it as a desert drink and it work well for that. I had a couple of batches that were variations on this theme that essentially had the same result.

My latest brews have been with Safale S-04 and about half the sugars. So far I am happy with the results. Both of the batches I have made along these lines had an FG of 1.004 to 1.006 and were nice after initial transfer. They are continuing to improve in the days since and I think this is more what I am looking for, a semi-sweet that is easy to drink without being overly sweet. The flavors really come through well without being buried by the sweetness. I know some people can taste the flavors in a dry wine but I can't. A little bit of sweetness brings the out for me, sort of like a little bit of salt brings out hidden flavors in some foods.

My only concern is I don't think the S-04 is up to fermenting a high OG must down to the semi-sweet level. From what I have read it doesn't ferment as dry as Nottingham in general. I have added yeast nutrients in the latest batches and that may be part of the success, but I am also concerned about oxygenation. With an ale yeast I think it is going to have to have a strong, vigorous fermentation to have any chance on a high ABV cider of getting it down to an FG of 1.005 or so.

Those are my wandering thoughts on the topic at hand. I encourage rebuttal so I can learn more. My ciders have improved from bilge water to enjoyable evening drink from my studies of the posts here on HBT.

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Old 04-26-2011, 05:57 PM   #18
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I know you probably didn't mention this as a good way to go, but I just might! It actually sounds like it would probably work pretty well. I have lots of nottingham left over, do you think it will work fine for this process?

Also, I obviously hear a lot of people mentioning using fresh apples in their ciders. Do almost all of them grow their own apples? Or do they have an orchard where they can get them super cheap? Because If I go to the store and buy apples, I have heard I need 20lbs of apples for 1 gallon of juice. I will be lucky to get apples for $1 a pound, so thats $20+ a gallon. If I buy apple cider, its only $4 a gallon. It just isn't economical for me to purchase apples, even if it is better. I was just wondering if anyone is actually going to a Target or Walmart or grocery store and buying full priced apples for cider making
Actually i think you can make great draft cider this way - I would recc it. It is nice to have a complex cider, but it is nice to have a drinkable hot day out draft cider too. I probably drink way more draft cider than wine, and I don't mind it that way.

I grow my own and for my big pressing I buy them. Only 5 of my ~35apple trees are fully mature, so I got like 7-8 gallons of "estate" cider from my trees last year. I buy my apples wholesale from a local orchard (80 bushels, 20 of each variety). The apple pressing is a family and friends event for us, lots of fun. We fry up cider donuts freshly homemade, etc. Good times. People head home with lots of cider too.

I would skip walmart apples - the price just isn't worth it. Woudl you should do is go apple picking sometime, get some friends in on it this fall, and try to get a local orchard to cut you a deal per lb. However, doing your own pressing is something that takes equipment and time, just like any hobby

the orchard gets about 70 gallons per 20 bushel bin, but they have high tech equipment. I probably get about 40-50 gallons per bin. i.e. 2.5 gallons per bushel for me; 3.5 gallons per bushel for the commercial press. One bushel = ~ 45lbs.
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Old 04-26-2011, 05:57 PM   #19
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I have lots of nottingham left over, do you think it will work fine for this process?
Notty cold crashes very well, which will probably get rid of the taste your friends describe as "beery". The downside is that you'll need to force carbonate - but using kegs will really cut down on time. If you're looking for something a little fruitier, try S04, Wy3056 or Wy3068.

Quote:
I was just wondering if anyone is actually going to a Target or Walmart or grocery store and buying full priced apples for cider making
I hope not - If you are pressing your own, you should be looking for #2 cider grade apples, which should cost $4-8 dollars a bushel, depending on how much you buy. Make sure you get a good mix of sweet, tart and aroma apples.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:07 PM   #20
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Should have mentioned - the price I pay for #2 apples is in line with cvillekevin - I pay $4 per bushel. But I do have to buy it in single variety 20 bushel lots. AND I am at their discretion for what apples they are willing to sell. I used red delicious, gala, empire and jonagold last year and it made phenomenal sweet drinking cider (non alc.). The hard cider it made was good but not my best, but that was what apples they had, and I had to guilt trip the guy into giving me the jonagolds, which made the cider.

I am with cvillekevin though - go with a blend if at all possible. If you have to do single variety ($$ or no pals to share the cost) try mutzu (crispin) or northern spy for common american apples. I haven't made the crispin, but northern spy makes a good, albeit tart single variety.

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