Is simple cider really as simple as pitching yeast
I have been making mead for myself but my wife has recently asked me to make her a cider (and I must confess I would like to try one myself). I have been looking around and it seems cider is pretty straight forward but want to check with you experts first.
1) Since I am not adding a gallon of honey or LME, I am guessing I start with a full 5 gallons of cider?
2) Should I use my same standard yeast vacation comfort package that I do for my mead? I use loose leaf green tea and lemons which the yeast seem to dig.
3) Is the stock cider really sweet enough to ferm enough alcohol by itself or do I need to add brown sugar or something? I have been using EC1118 on my meads and really like the yeast but I am getting abvs of 15% and above. I would only like to get 7-10% on this cider since its mostly for my wife (She is slightly allergic to alcohol and so is an uber lightweight). Maybe the less sugar in straight cider would target me right at this lower range?
4) is the ferm process similar? 2 week primary, 8 week secondary, prime and bottle?
Depending on the answers here is what I am thinking:
5 gallons local old fashioned cold pressed cider from the local heritage farm (its freakin awesome)
Chinese loose leaf green tea
2 packets EC1118 yeasties
Fresh pressed and no added sugar will get you to around 4 1/2 - 5 abv
if you want to up the abv a little and considering you are a mead maker.....I would suggest adding honey rather than sugar making a Cyser. I use a lb / gallon and a bit of cinnamon and vanilla.
A 5% cider will store fine but if you bottle it dry may need more aging time to smooth out than if it were slightly sweet.
Ferm process isn't critical IMHO. I primary for several months, secondary for a few more, keg and enjoy (I try to age them 6 months or so in total.)
Not sure about the tea and lemon.........I typically use nutrient and energizer.
Enjoy and have fun!!!
That would be perfect since I have honey lying around. Thanks roadymi.
It's stupid easy. I made my first cider last month following a super simple recipe. 5 gallons Mott's apple juice (no preservatives), 2 lbs light brown sugar, 1 pack Nottingham ale yeast. Heated about 2 gallons of juice to dissolve the sugar - kept on medium-low heat. Once that was done, cooled a little in sink (plus cold juice), tossed it all into fermenter and added rehydrated yeast. Shortest "brew" ever. Original gravity with the sugar was about 1.064 roughly (have to check my notes) and kept it in primary for about 2 weeks. It got down to 1.004! Following advice I read elsewhere (could have been these forums, can't recall) I transfered to secondary and let it sit overnight, then bottled using standard 3/4 cup corn sugar as per a normal beer batch. The cider was drinkable right away and had it's carbonation pretty much within a week. It's about as you'd expect, very dry, pretty bubbly, very tasty. I am thinking about doing another this weekend using a different kind of cider/juice, a little bit of pectic enzyme to clear, and I will use less sugar to carbonate, probably half as much. I am also thinking of using maple sugar or brown sugar for bottling also.
I think your recipe sounds great and will be ready before you think depending on how much extra sugar you add to up the abv. Enjoy!
Maple for bottling is awesome. I bottle at 1 tube concentrate and 1/4 cup maple per gallon; the taste after a couple weeks in the fridge is remarkable. Note that maple doesn't really have gobs of sugar in it though, so while it will carbonate it may not do so as quickly as you are used to.
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