Second batch, looking for tartness...
So my first batch went well. I used a bit too much sugar (about 4lb of dextrose and 1lb of brown sugar), go to 1.080 OG, fermented down to about 1.017, then bottled, waited for it to carb up pretty well, then pasteurized.
The brown sugar left a flavor I wasn't too thrilled about, almost a vanilla type taste, and I probably left it a bit too sweet.
So I'm trying again tonight, looking at 5 gallons of juice, 3-4 pounds of sugar, and... something.
I want to go for a bit dryer, but more tart, sort of a green apple flavor. How can I go about getting that in there? is there an additive I should look for?
Secondly, the first time around, I used US-04, which in addition to smelling awful during fermentation, left a bit too much yeasty flavor. So this time around I'm going with nottingham.
So the two main questions:
1. How can I get a tart, green-apple type kick at the end of a drink?
2. What kind of sugar would be best, dextrose or turbinado?
3. Is nottingham going to just 'get out of the way' and let the juice flavors dominate?
Edit: Looking like Malic Acid might do the trick... I've seen recommendations all over the board, but it centers around about 1.5 teaspoons per 5gal batch?
I juice my own apples usually granny smiths. it leaves a nice tart taste with sweet undertones. it would be a lot of apples and work for a 5g batch. also champagne yeast or a dry wine yeast makes it pretty dry. try a different method for pasteurization I've heard heat makes a lot of flavors lose potency. cold crashing works pretty good.
I've taken to starting my batches with juice concentrate instead of sugar. I have 5 gallons going now made from 4.5 gallons of Indian Summer and 6 tubes of kroger concentrate. It's churning and bubbling even faster that sugar would make it.
I'd assume this gives you marginally more apple-ness. And since concentrate is apple flavored, you could probably just use that for carbonating too.
You can also cheat with tannins during primary or add some green apple essence at bottling time.
I second the idea of using apple juice frozen concentrate. It boosts your SG and at the same time helps retain your apple taste without giving off flavors from sugars used.
Concerning the yeasty flavor: are you cold crashing and/or racking to a secondary to help the yeast settle out? How is your clarity of the cider? I cold crash and rack all of my ciders just to help get rid of any excess yeast and other junk suspended in the cider. I've used many types of yeasts in my ciders and ale yeasts are by far my favorite. I like US-05 and Nottingham a lot. They are very similar but still distinctly different in taste.
Unforunately, I dont' have a place to cold crash, being in an apartment, so i just deal with a bit of haziness.
I ended up with the following:
5 gallons motts apple juice
2 pounds turbinado
pectic enzyme (whatever the label said)
2.5 tsp yeast nutrient
~5 tsp malic acid
I had fermentation activity after less than an hour, quickest i've ever had one take off, OG about 1.060-1.062. I'll bottle at about 1.018, which means it'll be carbed around 1.014 and time for pasteurization. Tasted very nice with a bit of tartness without overpowering.
Excited to have a little less intense of a cider (my first cider was a semi-sweet, started at 1.080, bottled at 1.017, so about 8.5%. nice to have around, but always has to come with a warning :)
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