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Old 01-03-2011, 01:27 AM   #1
computergeek13
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Default New Cider Experiment

So Ive made cider the last few seasons from scratch. Girlfriend and I headed out to orchards and hand picked about 4 bushels of apples- I own a cider press - so we pressed em and made 2x 5 gallon batches. Its a lot of work - and we didnt harvest any apples this year. So...

Every once in awhile ill see a few bottles of cider at the local store i havent tried before - and i picked one up this weekend that was really good.

I cant for the life of me remember the name - but it was a hard cider - pretty bubbly - and it had maple syrup added post ferment - to sweeten - and vanilla pods were added in the 2nd fermentation. It was really good!

I want to try to clone it - and my questions is:

At the supermarket they have some really really good Organic Cider from a local orchard. Im sure its been pasteurized but i wanted to use it as a base.

Do you think I could use some of the liquid cider yeast from Wyeast addded to about 5 gallons of this? Or does this stuff contain too much sulfite as a preservative - that would kill foreign yeast?

What about if i made a cider yeast starter in my beaker - and made a really big slurry?

Then ill add about a dozen scraped vanilla bean pods to the secondary ferment - and some maple syrup afterwards. Think maple syrup will ferment too much in the bottle? or should i just use the maple syrup as a primer? and omit the normal priming solution?

thanks in advance!

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:22 AM   #2
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no help, dang. Anyone able to offer any advice at all. I picked up 7 gallons of fresh cider - unpasteurized. Im sure itll ferment as i picked up a test batch and it started fermenting on its own.

So im going to throw this in the carboy - and add a yeast starter if i can figure out how to make one. (otherwise i have a vial of english cider yeast, liquid)

All the ciders ive ever made have been very dry. Fine for me... but i make ciders for alot of females in my family.

Can i ferment to dryness completely - then add some maple syrup for sweetness? will the maple syrup ferment enough in the bottle to make it sparkly? and still keep enough sugars to sweeten it a touch?

Or should i primary ferment completely - then add a dozen vanilla pods to the secondary.. let that go for a few weeks - and add maybe 1 or 2 cups of maple syrup. along with 1/4 cup corn sugar for priming.... i like the flavor of the maple syrup - but dont want it to overprime in the bottle and explode or foam-over.

I think maple syrup is complex enough to withstand a full ferment in the bottle dont you?

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:28 AM   #3
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I would think that if there are sulfites, they would be listed on the bottle. Most pasteurized apple juice is not sulfited. Or maybe I should say, it is easy to find unpreserved pasteurized juice.

I'd ferment out the cider then add flavors to a secondary. All the CO2 generation during fermentation will drive off any subtle flavors.

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Old 01-11-2011, 02:45 AM   #4
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I don't recall ever seeing fresh cider containing sulfites. If it did, you should still be able to ferment it. Read the label. Some contain sorbate as a preservative. Those will not ferment properly.

Yeast don't distinguish between priming sugar and maple syrup. Both will be eaten completely by the yeast. Unless you stop the fermentation, maple syrup flavors tend to ferment out and leave a kind of nutty flavor.

A fast fermentation does tend to drive off subtle flavors. I try to ferment cool and slow, which helps maintain the subtle flavors of the cider.

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Old 01-11-2011, 03:21 AM   #5
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how do you think you could keep the maple syrups there then? if they will be eaten during a 2nd ferment.. should i prime with it? in the hopes some stays behind? or would that risk exploding bottles?

What if i fermented completely... added the vanilla to a 2nd ferment.. for awhile.

then added maybe 2 cups maple syrup, and 1/2 cup priming sugar solution... let it go for 3 weeks to condition -- and generate enough bubbly... then try and pasteurize in the bottle to kill the yeast?

Can you boil the bottles once they are sealed and bottle conditioned?

im trying to think of a way to preserve that carbonation and keep some residual maple syrup in the bottle...

thanks for the advice so far. i really reall really appreciate it

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Old 01-11-2011, 12:41 PM   #6
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Making sweet, carbonated cider is a very popular idea. Unfortunately, it's one of the harder things to do because the yeast want to to eat all the sugar.

You want the yeast to eat some of the sugars to carb the bottles and then stop fermentation to retain some maple flavor. I've never done it, but in-bottle pasteurization sounds like your best solution to me. Read the sticky at the top of the cider forum. You want to heat the bottles, but nowhere near boiling. Pressure does increase substantially in the heated bottles, so be careful.

I wouldn't bother with priming solution. You can't get the yeast to eat only the priming solution. The yeast will eat some of the priming solution and some of the maple. After pasteurization, you will still have some maple and some priming solution. The remaining priming solution doesn't add anything other than sweetness and basically dilutes the maple flavor. If you skip the priming solution and only add maple, then you will only have maple remaining after pasteurization, which means more maple flavor.

A dozen vanilla beans sounds like a lot to me. I would think 2-3 would be plenty. You can add them directly to the secondary. I prefer to make my own extract. I slit the beans open and put them into a small container. Then, I add a little alcohol, such as vodka, rum, spiced rum, etc. The alcohol sanitizes the beans and extracts the flavors from the beans. The longer they soak, the more flavor you get. With the extract, I don't have to guess how much to add. I can add some, sample the cider, and add more if it needs it.

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Old 01-11-2011, 06:19 PM   #7
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excellent idea with the extract ginkings! And the priming solution and maple sounds about right.

maybe ill test some in bottle pasteurization. i could make a test bottle with a temp in a cork perhapsto measure temps in the liquid inside perhaps - and maybe subtract 5 degrees for the bottled cider..

who knows! well see how it goes

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