I usually brew ale and mead, but lately, I've been doing some experiments with Semi-Sweet Bottle Conditioned-Cider using dry yeast, and thought that others may be interested in the results.
The cider in these trials is a made from the same pressing which has been stored frozen: a mix of bittersharps and sweets, with fruit from a wild hawthorne mixed in.
For this experiment, I have been keeving the cider before fermentation. Some bottle-conditioned brews in the past, I have used a different yeast for the conditioning other than the brewing, but in these trials, I have been using only one yeast for both.
Sorry, I don't know the proper terms for the tastes and smells for cider, but I do know what I like.
Saflager S-23 - Grade A-
Produces a decent tasting semi-sweet cider. For some reason, reminds me of Heineken, as if Heineken was a cider. Same yeast, maybe? Semi-sweet fermentation atakes 72 hrs at 68F. Conditioning takes 24 hrs at 68F. Decent tasting at any temp. No sulphur odors. Pours a nice head. The mouth feel is good, nice and tingly. Most of the yeast settles to the bottom, although the cider stays extremely cloudy. I could drink this all day long.
Fleischmanns Bread Machine Yeast - Grade: B+
Produces a decent tasting French style Demi-Sec Cidre. Very quick fermentation at 24 hrs @ 68F for semi-sweet. Bottle conditioning takes 18 hrs @ 68F. Best served cold, although still pleasant at room temperature. At first opening the bottle, the aroma has a not unpleasant sulphurous odor that dissapates after a couple mins. Not much of a head. The mouth feel is good, nice and tingly. I find that I drain the glass and reach for more before I even realize it.
Safeale S-04 - Grade: B+
Produces a decent tasting French style Demi-Sec Cidre. Semi-sweet fermentation at 48 hrs at 68F. Conditioning takes 36 hrs. Best served cold, but very agreeable at room temp. No sulphur odors. Very fruity smell. A head disappears after about 1 min. The mouth feel is good, nice & tingly, full bodied with a hint of raspberries. Doesn't go flat even when left open overnight. Very high sedimentation with the yeast sticking to the bottom of the bottle. I could drink this all day long. Update: Open bottles in the refrigerator will restart fermentation and stink, so I lowered the grade from A- to B+.
Safeale US-05 - Grade: B-
Produces a decent tasting German style Apfelwein-like cider. Semi-sweet fermentation at 96 hrs at 68F. Conditioning takes 60 hrs. Best served very cold. Only a hint of sulphur upon opening the bottle. No head to speak of. The mouth feel is good, slightly syrupy, nice and tingly even after sitting open to air for awhile. Taste is slightly sour. I drain the glass, but I don't reach for more.
Fleischmanns Active Dry Yeast - Grade: D
Definately not the best cider that I have ever had, but not the worst, either. Semi-sweet fermentation takes 60 hrs @ 68F. Conditioning takes 48 hrs @ 68F. Best served ice cold. Upon opening the bottle, the sulphorous odor is overpowering. It takes about 10 mins after pouring a glass for the smell to dissapate. Pours a head that goes away after a min or so. Has a taste reminicent of bread dough. The mouth feel is thin and watery.
I hope to post more results from other yeasts as they come in.
Edit: 14 Mar 08 - Added Safeale S-04
Edit: 18 Mar 08 - Added Saflager S-23