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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Cider Forum > Second Attempt at Hard Cider
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Old 07-26-2007, 05:57 PM   #1
Yet41
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Default Second Attempt at Hard Cider

Hi everyone! I'm planning on making my second batch of hard cider in the coming days. I'm fairly new to brewing and cider making in general, as I've only made a few batches, so I don't know very much about what I'm doing yet!

Anyway, the first batch of cider I made turned out very well! At least, for a while. For the first few weeks after I had bottled the cider, it was everything I had hoped it would be. But after 2 or 3 weeks, the carbonation had increased dramatically.

Here's a rough idea of the ingredients I used:

Apple Juice (3 gals)
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup of Honey
Champagne Yeast
1/2 Cup Priming Sugar

I kept it in the primary fermenter for about 2 weeks, the secondary fermenter for about a week, and then I let it bottle condition for about a week (I used regular 12 oz beer bottles).


With all that being said, for my second batch, I wanted to try something similar but with a few differences, and that is what I want to ask you guys about!

1) I really don't want it to keep carbonating like the first batch I made. How can I prevent this? Should I let it ferment longer (maybe a month)? Should I use less priming sugar? I do want it to have some carbonation, but the first batch had way too much.

A friend of mine had heard something about people setting the filled bottles in water that was around 130-150 degrees a few weeks after bottling to kill any remaining yeast. Is this something that works to prevent over carbonation? I couldn't find anything about that online, so it might be total BS.

2) I would really like to make a sweet cider. The first batch was good, but it was dry. I'm kind of a sugar junkie, and I would love something a bit more sweeter. Would using a different yeast help (like the same brewing yeast I've used for beer instead of champagne yeast)? I've also seen recipes that involve boiling the juice before fermenting. They claim to make the cider sweeter in the end. One recipe I saw somewhere said to start with 7 gals and boil it down to 5 gals.

3) I also would like to try adding a fruit flavor to this batch. I was thinking of maybe raspberry, but if you had any other good thoughts about fruit to use, I'd love to hear it! Anyway, do I need mash them up (if I use raspberries)? Also, should they be added during the primary fermentation or the secondary?


So that's all I know. Like I said, I don't know much, so any help at all would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 07-26-2007, 06:08 PM   #2
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Well, I'm no cider expert, but I make lots of wine. Very similar in principle. Cider makers will give you more help, I"m sure.

One of things that comes to mind right away is you bottled too soon. Cider takes longer to ferment, and honey takes a really long time. What happened is fermentation continued in the bottle, and then you had it overcarbed because of that. Also, I think 1/2 cup of priming sugar seems like alot for 3 gallons of cider. The experts will have to let you know about that, though.

I would NOT heat up the cider to kill the yeast- if you do that, you'll end up not being able to carbonate your cider. Also, heating the cider will damage it. If you really want to do something like that, you can crash cool it and the yeast will go dormant and fall out for you. It'll still reactivate when it warms up, if you want to carbonate it.

Most ciders will finish dry, no matter what yeast you use. Most wine yeasts, for example, can tolerate up to 15-18% alcohol, and cider is way less than that! The best thing to do is let it finish, and then sweeten it. It's tough, though, because to sweeten without restarting fermentation, you should stabilize the cider. If you do that, you can't bottle carb. One way to get sweet, carbonated cider is to sweeten it with unfermentable sweeteners, like splenda or equal.

Good luck on this! It does sound good!

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Old 07-26-2007, 10:22 PM   #3
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Heating the bottles will pasteurize the cider. With the bottles capped, this could cause an explosion. Like Yooper said, heat will also damage the flavor and aroma.

Boiling from 7 to 5 gallons will increase the sugar, but most yeast used for cider will still ferment that right out. There would also be some carmelization, but I doubt that it would be noticeable. Using low attenuating ale yeast might do the trick, but it would take some trial and error to get right.

You can also add chopped raisins or dates to the secondary, this will add some mouthfeel and residual sweetness. That's the traditional New England way.

A more modern way would be to add K-meta at the point where you want the sweetness at. Or completely ferment, add the K-meta and sweeten it with additional cider, honey, and so on. None of these methods would allow you to carbonate naturally, it would have to be done artificially.

Yooper's suggestion of crash cooling would work as well, it's how the Romans did it and it still works today.

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Old 07-26-2007, 11:09 PM   #4
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If you want sweet, add a half cup of splenda. It won't ferment out.

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Old 07-27-2007, 06:09 AM   #5
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I pasteurized my bottles for both of these reasons, and the stuff ended up tasting great. Of course, I was starting out with pasteurized apple juice. I'm assuming you'll be using concentrate, right? So, yours will be pasteurized too. There is probably some loss of flavor caused by pasteurizing it a second time after it's reached the level of fizziness you want, but mine turned out pretty good. The pasteurization stops fermentation in its tracks, no matter how much sugar you leave in the cider, so you can have it as sweet as you want it. It also means you can have it as fizzy as you want it, you just keep opening a bottle every day to check how fizzy they've gotten until you're happy with the amount of carb, then pasteurize the whole lot.

I pasteurized mine in the dishwasher. Yup. The dishwasher. Mine has a "sterilize" setting that heats the contents up to 160 degrees for 9 minutes. That's about perfect for pasteurization, and if one of the bottles decides to explode I can be pretty sure there won't be anybody's face around intercepting the flying glass.

There were hitches in this plan -- mostly relating to my forgetting to buy bottle caps and having to put used caps on the bottles and leave them out for two days 'til Tuesday morning, and the fact that some of those used caps sealed incompletely (what I wanted) and others sealed fully (oh no!). But the ones that did seal turned out pretty dang tasty (the others came off in the dishwasher). I'm looking forward to starting my next batch this weekend and doing it right this time.

Good luck! Have fun! Tell us what you decide and how it works!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yet41
Hi everyone! I'm planning on making my second batch of hard cider in the coming days. I'm fairly new to brewing and cider making in general, as I've only made a few batches, so I don't know very much about what I'm doing yet!
...

With all that being said, for my second batch, I wanted to try something similar but with a few differences, and that is what I want to ask you guys about!

1) I really don't want it to keep carbonating like the first batch I made. How can I prevent this? Should I let it ferment longer (maybe a month)? Should I use less priming sugar? I do want it to have some carbonation, but the first batch had way too much.

A friend of mine had heard something about people setting the filled bottles in water that was around 130-150 degrees a few weeks after bottling to kill any remaining yeast. Is this something that works to prevent over carbonation? I couldn't find anything about that online, so it might be total BS.

...

2) I would really like to make a sweet cider. The first batch was good, but it was dry. I'm kind of a sugar junkie, and I would love something a bit more sweeter. Would using a different yeast help (like the same brewing yeast I've used for beer instead of champagne yeast)? I've also seen recipes that involve boiling the juice before fermenting. They claim to make the cider sweeter in the end. One recipe I saw somewhere said to start with 7 gals and boil it down to 5 gals

So that's all I know. Like I said, I don't know much, so any help at all would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 07-27-2007, 01:33 PM   #6
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Your getting some great info! I agree with Yooper, you need to let it ferment out before bottling. If you add any honey what so every it is going to take 6 to 8 weeks to finish before you should even think about bottling. If you are going to add fruit and it does give some depth of flavors by doing so it will need at least 8 weeks. Remember if you were to just add say a pound of rasberries, it would need a week or two in the primary and then time in the secondary. I would also suggest a bit of pectic enzyme to help with the clearing.

I squash up berry fruits before going into the primary. I use some latex gloves and use my hands to break the berries as much as possible. As the yeast attacks the sugars in the fruit it will produce the CO2 inside the cells and the fruit will expand and rise to the top. Make sure you leave some headspace!! Here is what 5 lbs of Blueberries look like in 5 gallons of mead after about 3 weeks! Look at the Blueberry Mead photo!

Best of luck you are on the right track just give yourself a bit more time to age it and there are lots of links on carbing. Use splenda if you want to carb and sweeten. My wife loves about 2 packets in a 12 oz bottle.

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Old 07-28-2007, 01:29 AM   #7
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Thank you everyone for all your help! You've all helped quite a bit!

Ok, so this time around, I'll try kind of the same ingredients, but with the changes mentioned already. I'll add some berries, and I'll certainly let it ferment much longer then before, 8 weeks minimum. Also, I'll try using less priming sugar, or maybe none at all. We'll see when the time comes.

In addition, I will do my best to avoid explosions.

Thanks again!

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