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Old 03-29-2006, 04:43 PM   #1
crafalik
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Default Making cider sweet

Typical story as everyone else posting in the Cider discussions. I am a beer brewer who is being drawn to try something new.

I started my first attempt at a cider about 2 weeks ago. I used 5 gallons of natural apple juice (no preservatives but was pastuerized) from our local organic foods store. I pitched a wine yeast "Cote de blanc" on the recommendation of my local homebrew store.

The fermentation was pretty active for the first week and then slowed down. Last night I decided to rack to a secondary (more out of curiosity for a chance to see how it was tasting).

And boy was I surprised.... it was shall we say... not good! I understand after doing some research I need to be ready to let the cider sit for a lot longer. I was shocked by the strong yeast small. When I tasted the cider, it started off nice but finished very tart/sour. I am assuming that the yeast consumed all of the natural sugars.

My questions...
1) Will the funky yeast odor go away over time?
2) If I add lactose will it sweeten the cider up? If so how much lactose should I add?
3) Any other suggestions for a beer guy brewing cider?

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Old 03-29-2006, 06:46 PM   #2
missing
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Congratulations! Cider is an addictive hobby . . . but you already know that if you make beer.

To answer your questions in order:

1. Yes, that funky yeasty smell (and possibly taste) will go away with time. Two weeks is pretty quick to drink cider and I am sure that there is still a lot of yeast in suspension. Cider is kind of tricky sometimes in that there is a lot more yeast in there than you would guess (that apple has a bunch of nutrients which make them happy little suckers). I have been making cider for the last four months or so and my first batches are just now getting to the drinking point (though they probably need another 3 or 4 months to really mature). Remember, cider is closer to wine than beer.

2. Lactose is a good way to back sweeten as it doesn't ferment (much). A general rule is about a pound of lactose per five gallons (but it is up to your tastebuds). I highly recommend disolving it in a cup or two of warm water and then adding it to your secondary (lightly stirring it in). Another option is to add a can or two of apple juice concentrate (don't worry if it has sorbates at this point) after fermentation is over. If you go this route add some K-meta and potassium sorbate first and let it sit for 24 hours. Then add the concentrate. This will result in a still cider (unless of course you keg it). The benefit to concentrate is that it adds back in some apple flavor and no hazing. I tend to use a little of both now.

3. Advice: Unless you want a really dry cider, try using an Ale yeast in place of the wine yeast. Cider doesn't need to be high octane (unless of course you want it that way). I have had good luck using Nottingham (seems to ferment clean).

Here is my procedure (YMMV): 1 Gallon Batch

1 Gallon Juice (Your choice, no preservatives though)
5 grams Nottingham - rehydrated per instructions
1/2 pound brown sugar and 1 lb honey (I like Blackberry)
1/4 tsp DAP

Warm juice to 120 degrees and remove from heat. Combine honey and sugar with warm juice until it has all incorporated. Mix in 1/8 tsp of DAP until dissolved. Cool to room temp (within 10 degrees or so), add rehydrated yeast and shake the living bejeebers out of it. Add airlock and place somewhere warm and dark. I keep my carboys in the basement (about 68 degrees). The next day I add the remaining DAP and give it another good shaking. Re-air lock. You should have good bubbling (1 bubble a second in an s-lock) by that afternoon.

When you are down to a bubble every minute or so, rack to secondary and add your lactose (if you want). After a couple of weeks I cold stabilize. ThenI rack to a tertiary with k-meta and sorbate and then backsweeten with lactose and/or concentrate. Let this bulk age for at least 2 to 3 months (I know, patience is a virtue). Bottle and enjoy.

If you are really impatient, go straight from primary into canning jars and put them in the fridge. Pour them off the yeast after a week into bottles and refrigerate. About a week and they will be ready to drink.

Lastly (gee, how did this post get so long?) . . .

Don't expect your cider to taste like woodchuck (or other generic brands) unless you add a couple of cans of concentrate and keg it. I am not knocking woodchuck (I am ashamed to admit I love the stuff) but traditional cider is not nearly as sweet . . . a slight tartness is often part of the flavor profile. Anyway, don't give up. The longer you age it, the better it gets.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

Missing

(Whoo . . . somebody should be working right now . . . but would rather be brewing )

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Old 03-29-2006, 07:24 PM   #3
crafalik
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Thanks - that helps a lot! I guess I'll have to be patient.... just means I need to focus on drinking the beer I have in the meantime. I've conditioned an Imperial Stout for a full year so I guess I can handle a couple months.

One question - what is DAP?

I'm going to try doing some 1 gallon batches to get a better idea of what I like and don't like. I'll try some Nottingham yeast next run.

I can see this Cider thing being equally addictive. Its so easy to do that you think - alright I'll just make another batch and try doing this... and then next time... and then next time....

Its good thing my wife appreciates the homebrewing!

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Old 03-29-2006, 08:09 PM   #4
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Missing hit it on the head with his post really - Cider/Wine/Mead/Barleywine take time to age. Higher ABV = longer Maturation.
As you use pasterized apple juice you don't really need to re-heat it again at the start. If you want to use extra sugars (and 1/2lb of brown sugar AND 1lb of honey in a 1 Gal batch is pretty high octane to me Missing! ) I'd just dissolve them in a little boiled water and just stir it into the apple juice before pitching the yeast. DAP (Diammonium Phosphate) is just a yeast nutrient.

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Old 03-29-2006, 08:37 PM   #5
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Ok, I have got to start rereading my posts. Yes, 1/2 lb sugar and 1 lb of honey is alot for a gallon . . . with Nottingham. I have been experimenting with K1-V and 71B which got to 18 and 14% respectively (hey, in for a month, in for a year). It is funny how it all seems right in your head. For an Ale yeast I wouldn't add more than a half pound of sugar (or so).

Anyway, my Ale yeast batches are coming along pretty well as is the apple butter cyser (though it is going to need another 4 or 5 months). Also, just a last thought/warning. Cider may volcano on you (especially with Lalvin D-47 in my experience) when you stir in the DAP and any additional sugars . . . just a word to the wise to be wary (I still haven't gotten the ceiling completely clean yet).

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Old 04-04-2006, 01:03 PM   #6
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Since you guys sound like experts on the cider making, I will ask a question. I have one that has been bottled for about 2 months now. I tasted one about a week ago and it had a decent flavor, but the carbonation level was very very low. Why is this? I used the usual amount of priming sugar that I have used in making my regular beers, even though I have gone to DME now for priming my brews. What would cause this cider to not carbonate like a regular brew would?

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Old 04-06-2006, 05:44 PM   #7
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Clearly I'm no expert... but have been doing a lot of reading on making ciders. How did you make your cider? What kind of yeast did you use? Did you add anything else to the cider?

Depending on the recipe is it possible that you got a very high abv that maxed out your yeast? Like I said, I'm a rookie too but just a guess.

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Old 04-07-2006, 12:31 PM   #8
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Hmmm......well I used the White Labs Cider/Mead yeast. I used 6 gallons of water with 8 cans of the Apple concentrate. Then 2lbs of brown sugar and 1lb of honey then 6 cans of pears with the thick pear juice. So maybe I did max out the yeast, but thought this yeast was supposed to go up to a pretty high abv. Thanks

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Old 04-12-2006, 05:34 PM   #9
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Default Hi

Super Site!
I am pleased to have such a wealth of information about homebrewing. Great to be part of the group.
Doc

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