Anyone mind if I ask a few questions too? I'm thinking about doing a few test batches of hard cider later this summer (1 gallon each). I would like to use apple cider from a local farm. They do not pasteurize the cider. So a bunch of questions:
1 - Should I pasteurize the cider? Are there any disadvantages (other than the extra time) to doing this? I would prefer a controlled fermentation rather than a natural one.
2 - Are there specific fining agents that are preferred for making cider (vs. those used for beer)?
3 - If I want to make 1 gallon test batches, what is a good container size to ferment in? Could I just use a little less and use a 1 gallon container or would it be better to use something bigger? If I go bigger, how much extra space is too much (oxidation)?
4 - If I would like to add fruit to the cider (this is where the experimentation comes in), is it better to do in a secondary or to just add it to the primary? I assume this gets into the "when do I add the fruit to my beer" debate, but perhaps with cider there are different opinions.
5 - It seems that a number of recipes call for the addition of yeast nutrients. How important is this? Any recommendations?
6 - I'd like to keep this brew a little sweet. Will the addition of fruit help with that, or should I add a sweetening agent like lactose?
7 - And lastly (for now) what strain of yeast should I use? I'm not looking for a high percentage brew, but something more in line with a strong beer alcohol-wise. Would an ale yeast do the trick?