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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Making cider for the first time.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:24 AM   #1
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Default Making cider for the first time.

I've only brewed 6 batches of beer and they've all been extract kits. I also have never brewed any cider but my wife recently discovered she loves cider so I'd like to brew some up for her.

What would be the easiest way for someone like me to make a decent cider?

I've heard of buying 100% juice and using that, but do I need to boil it? What type of yeast should I use? When should I cold crash it and what's the best way of doing so, etc?

Even if someone calls me a n00b and posts a link it would help out immensely. Thanks in advance.

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Old 10-07-2010, 08:35 AM   #2
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No need to boil. If it's store bought it's likely been pateurised. Just add yeast and some nutrient and ferment. For your first this is probably the easiest thing to do and will make a tasty cider.

For yeast there are a few choices. White wine or champagne yeast work well - they will result in quite a dry cider and some mention a 'winey-ness' in the resulting product.

Both whitelabs and wyeast make a cider yeast. I've used the wyeast one with success (4766).

Wyeast also make a sweet mead yeast and I have heard of people using that. Not used it myself.

US05 (fermentis safale yeast) has been used - again I've not tried it.

Whichever yeast you use, I recommend fermenting at the lower end of its temperature range.

As for cold crashing - it depends on whether you bottle or keg. I bottle so I let it ferment right out, rack to secondary, let it stay on the yeast for a bit longer (maybe 1-2 weeks), then crash chill and cold condition. Basically I treat it a bit like a lager. If you are kegging, you can cold crash when you think it tastes right and either rack several times to remove as much yeast as possible, filter, add potassium sorbate or campden/sulphites or all four. I don't keg or filter and I don't add stuff to my ciders besides lactose so get some further info on this from people who do. Cold crashing is best done by putting your fermenter/carboy in a refrigerator.

Another thing you can do is bottle pasteurise to get a sweeter cider. Again something I don't do but plenty of info around. I think there's a thread somewhere on here.

Various things can be added to cider to sweeten or backsweeten if you find it to dry - left all the way it will get to 1000 and lower, yeast dependent. I use lactose and I use it ( boiled with a touch of water and cooled) at the start to let flavours integrate. Some people backsweeten with it. Splenda and similar have been used (not by me). Pear juice will also ferment out a little less and add some sweetness.

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:58 PM   #3
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What type of cider does your wife like? My girlfriend and her friends really like the wheat yeasts. Its easy to stop them between 1.010 and 1.020, where they taste juicy without being sticky. Ale yeasts like S04, US05, Notty, Brupack, WLP005, are good for semi dry, in range 1.004 to 1.010, which is more what I like. In either case you need to stop the yeast before it ferments out. I've had good luck with cold crashing, although reading the experiences of folks on this board, I think it is somewhat juice dependent on how well this works. Dont add nutrient if you plan to cold crash. The bottle pasteurization method in the sticky is probably a more reliable way of stopping the fermentation exactly where you want it. What yeast did you use for the raspberry wheat? You could probably pitch the cider on that cake.

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Old 10-07-2010, 11:53 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
What type of cider does your wife like? My girlfriend and her friends really like the wheat yeasts. Its easy to stop them between 1.010 and 1.020, where they taste juicy without being sticky. Ale yeasts like S04, US05, Notty, Brupack, WLP005, are good for semi dry, in range 1.004 to 1.010, which is more what I like. In either case you need to stop the yeast before it ferments out. I've had good luck with cold crashing, although reading the experiences of folks on this board, I think it is somewhat juice dependent on how well this works. Dont add nutrient if you plan to cold crash. The bottle pasteurization method in the sticky is probably a more reliable way of stopping the fermentation exactly where you want it. What yeast did you use for the raspberry wheat? You could probably pitch the cider on that cake.
She drinks wine and complains about some of it being too dry so I assume she'd like a sweeter cider than a dry cider. I used Nottingham dry yeast.
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:54 PM   #5
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BTW, thanks for the info, everyone.

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Old 10-08-2010, 12:25 AM   #6
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Dont add nutrient if you plan to cold crash.
I find this confusing as I cold crash/condition and always add nutrient. What is supposed to be the issue?
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Old 10-08-2010, 02:02 AM   #7
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Having low nutrient levels at the time of the crash helps knock out the fermentation. If there are any surviving yeast following the last rack, they wont be able to get enough nitrogen to survive, because the juice is nutrient depleted and the yeast is depending on the trub and dead yeast hulls for nitrogen. If you crash and there is still a lot of nutrient left in the juice, any yeast that didnt flocculate is going to be able to find enough sugar and nutrients to eventually reproduce.

Its the same reason that the French use keeving to get the nutrients out of their juice, so that it is easier to stop the fermentation. Which isnt to say that you cant successfully cold crash with nutrients, but I think you'd have more risk of the fermentation restarting over time.

If you're kegging, this isnt as much of a problem. Although I often fill bottles from carbed kegs. This would be more risky with juice that has both nutrient and sugar.

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Old 10-08-2010, 06:20 AM   #8
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I ferment mine right out anyway so it's no issue for me. I take a fair bit of caution not to get bottle bombs and subsequently don't. I guess it's a potential issue for bottlers who are trying techniques to stop ferment early - something I am loath to do.

Thanks for the info

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Old 10-08-2010, 07:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CvilleKevin View Post
What type of cider does your wife like? My girlfriend and her friends really like the wheat yeasts. Its easy to stop them between 1.010 and 1.020, where they taste juicy without being sticky. Ale yeasts like S04, US05, Notty, Brupack, WLP005, are good for semi dry, in range 1.004 to 1.010, which is more what I like. In either case you need to stop the yeast before it ferments out. I've had good luck with cold crashing, although reading the experiences of folks on this board, I think it is somewhat juice dependent on how well this works. Dont add nutrient if you plan to cold crash. The bottle pasteurization method in the sticky is probably a more reliable way of stopping the fermentation exactly where you want it. What yeast did you use for the raspberry wheat? You could probably pitch the cider on that cake.
What are considered wheat yeasts? I am thinking I might like sometime a bit sweeter next time around.
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Old 10-09-2010, 12:44 AM   #10
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Wheat yeasts are for wheat ales - like Wyeast 3056, 3068, 1010, 3333, 3638 and WLP380. Those have all worked great for me. I havent had much luck with either Fermentis or Danstar dry wheat yeasts. I just got some Breferm wheat to try. Right now I have on tap in the fridge two batches pressed 3 and 6 weeks ago, 3056 and a bit of sugar and 1010 with orange blossom honey. very tasty, makes me thirsty to type this.

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