Pasteurization--Higher OG vs. Backsweetening
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.