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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Pasteurization--Higher OG vs. Backsweetening
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:22 PM   #1
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Default Pasteurization--Higher OG vs. Backsweetening

Hello all!

I've got a question--how different is cider when it is backsweetened with brown sugar as opposed to adding the brown sugar to the original must? Has anyone tried this and had a strong preference?

Here's the goal: a roughly 6% ABV carbonated cider made with brown sugar, apple juice, and EC 1118, with an FG of 1.020 (i.e. sweet!--for my SWMBO!).

I've tried pasteurization in the past, with varying success--a few bottle-bombs, but none in the soup pot.

I'm going to try two different 1-gallon musts, to compare this.

1. I'll add brown sugar to apple-juice until I get to an OG of 1.065, then let it ferment to 1.020. At that point I'll bottle, let it prime for a very, very short time (1 day, because EC-1118 is insatiable), and pasteurize.

2. Backsweetened with brown sugar. I'll start with simple apple juice (OG 1.05ish) and yeast, and let it go down to 1.000 FG. THEN, I'll add in enough brown sugar to get the SG up to 1.020, let it prime for a very, very short amount of time--perhaps 1 day--and then pasteurize.

So the main variable I'll be altering in this experiment is when I add the brown sugar--before or after the primary fermentation.

One concern is residue--that if I add the brown sugar after the primary fermentation, it won't mix very well.
But on the other hand, it seems like it would produce a more dominant brown sugar taste by adding it after primary fermentation, which would be delicious.

Another modification might be swapping out the EC-1118 for a gentler yeast, to safeguard against the possibility of bottle-bombs during the priming stage. During a recent, similar attempt I let it prime for three days and ended up getting a geyser when I opened a test-bottle. I had to cold-crash immediately instead of pasteurize.

Has anyone out there tried a variation of this experiment, with side-by-side comparisons? Any suggestions/impressions would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!

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Old 04-20-2011, 11:44 PM   #2
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I don't like brown sugar in the must- it ferments out leaving a molasses type flavor that I don't like. After stabilizing it, it tastes good with brown sugar as a sweetener, though. I've never made a sweetened carbonated cider, though- just still ones. If you're carbonating, of course you can't stabilize it.

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Old 04-21-2011, 12:15 AM   #3
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I added brown sugar during a primary fermentation and it ended up tasting.. earthy. I don't know how to describe it but it tasted how fresh soil smells. Wierd! Also, you may have opened one of your bottles too early. I know that for some reason that around the 4th day they will be gushers, but if you leave them a couple more days they tone down. Maybe the CO2 dissolves more into the liquid at this point, I don't know. Next time you try, leave one out for another day or two (somewhere SAFE) and see what happens.

Edit: Sorry, I've heard that in America your version of brown sugar is very different to ours. Our 'brown' sugar is actually brown and moist, I think you guys call it dark brown sugar? Your brown sugar is similar to our raw sugar I think. In that case, it will taste fine.

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Old 05-05-2011, 02:04 AM   #4
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The backsweetened version worked out much better. The taste was similar, but I had a bottle-bomb when pasteurizing the non-backsweetened batch, despite having let it prime for the same amount of time (1 day). My guess is that this was due to a higher carbonation level, likely because the fermentation was still in full swing (as opposed to getting started up again with the addition of sugar). I'll stick with backsweetening for my next pasteurization attempt.

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