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Old 10-15-2013, 07:28 AM   #1
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Default My Second First Cider

So two years ago I decided to make some apple cider. I used store bought apple juice a little brown sugar and yeast. During a move I lost a notebook so do not remember which yeast I used. The cider ended up being better than I had expected but not anything worth remaking. There definitely seemed to be a bell curve for the taste, with time it got better until the flavor started getting worse. It got to the point that I dumped the last bit instead of drinking it. Last time the cider fermented out very dry, if I remember correctly the FG was very close to 1.000 or less. I have read that trying to use something like potassium sorbate to stop the fermentation is like trying to stop a freight train at full speed. If I can help it I would like to stay away from back sweetening.

This time around I would like to use cider strait from the source. I think I want to use safeale-04 with a starter. Basically I plan on dumping 3 gallons of fresh cider into a 6 gallon carboy and add the yeast starter and put the air lock on.

I do not want to have a very dry cider this time around. My idea to naturally make a sweet cider will be to attempt to stop the fermentation early. Since I will be kegging my idea is to take gravity readings, and when I hit my desired gravity TBD rack the fermenting cider into a keg and filter into a second keg. In the second keg I will be adding potassium sorbate.

My thinking is that between the filtering, potassium sorbate, and refrigeration I might end up with a sweet apple cider. Any helpful thoughts on my second first batch of cider?

Thank you very much.

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Old 10-16-2013, 09:00 PM   #2
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Hi, I am in a rather similar situation. I am about to do my very first cider. I will be pressing apples from a tree in the garden and have no real recipe as of yet for quantities of sugar or gravity readings for sweetness.

What are you using for your starter? I was going to just buy some pure apple juice from the shop and add the cider yeast I have.

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Old 10-16-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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After talking tosome people I decided to go for greatness. Because apple juice is basically sugar water the yeast should have no problems getting started on there own. If you want to make sure you yeast are good to go you can actually make a starter from juice itself, then add the juice starter to the rest of the juice and you should be good to go. Right now I have 3.5 gal of cider bubbling away. I just pitched a vile of liquid English cider yeast directly into the juice.

I Still need to figure out how to ensure I get a gravity ~ 1.030-1.020 I was told that is around what ciders I enjoy are around.

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Old 10-18-2013, 07:41 AM   #4
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Thanks, I'll make a starter using some juice just to get the yeast going as I'm using dried yeast.

I had read about stoping the fermentation so the
Cider doesn't become to dry. Doing this by cold crashing? would the yeast not activate again once it warmed up to room temperature?

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Old 10-18-2013, 12:27 PM   #5
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I Still need to figure out how to ensure I get a gravity ~ 1.030-1.020 I was told that is around what ciders I enjoy are around.
1.030 to 1.020 sounds awfully high. Let's run some numbers. If your OG is around 1.040, which is pretty typical for apple cider and juice, and you stop fermentation at 1.020, your ABV will be about 2.5%. In other words, it'll still taste like juice. Personally I don't think it'd taste very good unless you're going for something that tastes like juice.

I don't think you want to try to stop the fermentation. Let it ferment until it's dry to get the ABV up to something reasonable. Then sweeten to taste. You'll either need to stabilize before sweetening or pasteurize after sweetening and bottling. If you go the pasteurization route, you can even let it carbonate in the bottle.
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Old 10-18-2013, 04:13 PM   #6
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1.030 to 1.020 sounds awfully high. Let's run some numbers. If your OG is around 1.040, which is pretty typical for apple cider and juice, and you stop fermentation at 1.020, your ABV will be about 2.5%. In other words, it'll still taste like juice. Personally I don't think it'd taste very good unless you're going for something that tastes like juice.

I don't think you want to try to stop the fermentation. Let it ferment until it's dry to get the ABV up to something reasonable. Then sweeten to taste. You'll either need to stabilize before sweetening or pasteurize after sweetening and bottling. If you go the pasteurization route, you can even let it carbonate in the bottle.
Yeah this is actually my current plan. the 1.030-1.020 was the back sweetened gravity. Since I will be kegging i do not need to worry about pasteurizing. What would you recommend using to back sweeten, and in what quantities?
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Old 10-18-2013, 06:28 PM   #7
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Yeah this is actually my current plan. the 1.030-1.020 was the back sweetened gravity. Since I will be kegging i do not need to worry about pasteurizing. What would you recommend using to back sweeten, and in what quantities?
I think frozen apple juice concentrate is the best thing to sweeten with. Adds apple flavor but very little volume to keep dilution down. For a 5 gallon batch I'd start with 2 cans of FAJC, taste, then go from there. I'd also under shoot the sweetness a little. Seems that things always get a little sweeter after they've sat for a bit.

Since fall weather is upon us, you could also make a spiced sugar mixture made by boiling some water, brown sugar and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. You can use this in conjunction with the FAJC.

You may already know this, but make sure to keep this stuff cold after you sweeten. If you keep it at room temp that yeast is going to start feeding again!
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Old 10-19-2013, 05:05 AM   #8
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I think frozen apple juice concentrate is the best thing to sweeten with. Adds apple flavor but very little volume to keep dilution down. For a 5 gallon batch I'd start with 2 cans of FAJC, taste, then go from there. I'd also under shoot the sweetness a little. Seems that things always get a little sweeter after they've sat for a bit. Since fall weather is upon us, you could also make a spiced sugar mixture made by boiling some water, brown sugar and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. You can use this in conjunction with the FAJC. You may already know this, but make sure to keep this stuff cold after you sweeten. If you keep it at room temp that yeast is going to start feeding again!
I think I'm going to just add frozen concentrate with no sugar or spices to see what a "plain" apple cider tastes like. I am planning on making a test batch of a caramel apple cider in the next few days.

Any thoughts on potassium sorbate? Or just keep things cool? (FWI: my keeper is set at 42-45 degF)
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:29 PM   #9
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Any thoughts on potassium sorbate? Or just keep things cool? (FWI: my keeper is set at 42-45 degF)
Lots of folks swear by just keeping it cool. And if you're going to a keg it really isn't that big of a deal if you do get a little bit of renewed fermentation. Those things are rated for pressure, and you're going to be pulling from the keg when you drink thereby reducing the pressure.

For my setup, since I eventually go to bottles from the keg I'm super cautious and use kmeta + sorbate.

Hope this helps!
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