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Old 01-24-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
Basilisk
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Hi guys!

So I have a batch that's about ready to be bottled, I think. I read the stickied pasteurization thread (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy...g-pics-193295/), but it didn't answer something for me: How much sugar should I add?

I want the cider to be carbonated (of course), but also sweet. Pasteurization will allow me to do this, right?

So right now, I'm pretty sure I've let it ferment long enough to eat all the available sugar. So now I want to add some amount to it just before bottling so it can carbonate. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Also, when do I add the extra sugar? Right now my cider is in gallon glass jugs, but there is trub at the bottom I don't want in my final product. So do I pour the jugs out, then mix the sugar in? That seems like the only way I can think of but also lets a lot of oxidation happen...or does the brief time it has contact with the air not really matter?

Thanks everyone!

Edit: I didn't have a hydrometer when I started this batch, so I don't know the OG, but I have one now so I could find out the FG. Would that help in determining things?

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Old 01-25-2012, 08:38 AM   #2
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If the SG (specific gravity) stops dropping your done so yes it helps. When your done fermenting gently poor your jars into a bottling bucket or large vessel. Add your priming sugar syrup and bottle right away. after a couple weeks taste your cider and see if its carbed. When it is, then you can pasteurize. If you do it before carb is done it will kill your yeast. Pasteurization shouldn't really change your flavor. By the way, the only reason you need to pasteurize is to give a shelf life over a year, otherwise I don't see the reason.

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Old 01-25-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
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siphon the cleared cider into a big pot or bucket. pour it if you must but siphoning is cleaner and makes it easier to avoid sediment. don't fret over a tiny bit of sediment though.
boil some sugar in a small amount of water or juice to dissolve and semi-sterilize. about 25 grams per liter will raise the gravity from 1.000 to around 1.010, which is probably at the low end for a semi-sweet cider. sweetness has to be determined empirically; depends on your personal taste and how sour and bitter the cider is. i would start with around 1.010 and then add more sugar-water, mixing thoroughly (it will sink to the bottom and can be fairly resistant to mixing at first) and tasting as you go. mix well but don't splash it around and you will be ok with oxidation. the bottle fermentation will consume a little bit of this new sugar but not so much as to make a huge difference in taste.
the other thing you can't predict is how quickly they will carb up, so bottle one in plastic to check by feel, or start checking the glass ones soon; days not weeks. i have to completely disagree with the above post- living cider will have an excellent shelf life, a year no problem, but only if the bottle hasn't exploded.

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Old 01-25-2012, 10:37 AM   #4
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Cider has a shorter shelf life if its under 10ish% abv because its not boiled like beer and has no hops. Because of this it can be harder to keep cider as long without contamination. not saying you cant by any means, this is just commercial standard. If you follow the advice above on priming make sure you chill your bottles as soon as they reach the carb level and dryness you are looking for or there is a good chance they will explode. If you are keging the best bet is to make a base wine of juice and sugar and ferment out to about 10% to 12% abv and kill ferm by chilling or with sulfides. then back sweeten to the desired flavor and force carb. I suppose you could over back sweeten a few points for priming and when they get to the carb you want chill them to 33deg and keep them there. Back sweetening is always best with good juice not sugar water if you want it to be a solid apple cider. Ps. if you boil juice u risk loosing clarity.

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Old 01-25-2012, 02:08 PM   #5
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Just make sure you either throw them in the fridge or pastuerize if you backsweeten or prime,otherwise your going to most likely have bombs. Add the sugar just before you plan on bottling,i have been adding my sugar/juice concentrate about a hour before i bottle it and so far that has worked good for me.

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Old 01-25-2012, 08:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FarmBoy530 View Post
If the SG (specific gravity) stops dropping your done so yes it helps. When your done fermenting gently poor your jars into a bottling bucket or large vessel. Add your priming sugar syrup and bottle right away. after a couple weeks taste your cider and see if its carbed. When it is, then you can pasteurize.

A couple weeks? The pasteurization thread says about a week max, usually...

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If you do it before carb is done it will kill your yeast. Pasteurization shouldn't really change your flavor.
This is good to know.

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By the way, the only reason you need to pasteurize is to give a shelf life over a year, otherwise I don't see the reason.
Errr, because I want to keep it around and not in the fridge? Is there some alternate way I don't know about to carbonate it without a keg, have it be sweet, not use artificial sweeteners, and not have to keep it in the fridge? This seems to be the only way.
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dinnerstick View Post
the other thing you can't predict is how quickly they will carb up, so bottle one in plastic to check by feel, or start checking the glass ones soon; days not weeks. i have to completely disagree with the above post- living cider will have an excellent shelf life, a year no problem, but only if the bottle hasn't exploded.
Ok, good to know. I basically have to check. But let's say I check with a bottle, and find that it's not carbonated enough yet. Is there a good way to recap the bottle and let it carbonate again, or is it basically wasted at that point?
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Old 01-25-2012, 08:49 PM   #8
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So the consensus seems to be that pasteurization doesn't change the flavor -- that's nice. But what I really need to know is, how much sugar does carbonating actually eat up? For example, can I basically add sugar to my mix, make it the sweetness I'd like, and then assume that the amount of sugar the yeast is going to eat to carbonate the bottles before I pasteurize is basically negligible? Or if I want it a certain sweetness, do I have to make it significantly sweeter than that before I bottle it?

Also, is there any reason to use juice, rather than just more brown sugar?


Thanks!

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Old 01-25-2012, 09:40 PM   #9
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i have heard other people say that average carb (2ish vol) takes about 2 gravity points, so from 1.012 to 1.010. i have no idea if it's true, and i would hate to pass on bad info but that's the only estimate i have encountered. anyone else comment on that one? so it's almost negligible but not quite.
if you use juice instead of sugar you boost the apple flavor a bit. you also dilute the alcohol % a bit. apple concentrate is popular since it doesn't really dilute and packs in more apple. and it's totally unavailable in holland so don't try it in holland or they will be on to you
farmboy seems to have misunderstood that you pasteurize to keep unfermented sugar

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Old 01-25-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
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No I understand that, I was not thinking however about bottling and natural carbonation. I'm with you on the concentrate too. Sugar and apples packed in a nice little frozen tube. Using this may give a certain level of sweetness and your fermentables for carb. I would do a couple test bottles to see how long they are taking to get to the carb you want and the sweetness. Maybe someone will have a better system. I would start with dinnersticks suggestion of 2 points. It gives you a starting point.

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