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Old 10-22-2011, 08:40 AM   #1
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Default Sweet Sparkling Cider Technique?

I think I have read too much and may now be confusing myself. I started a 5G Apple cider with 20% Pear and 10% Cherry. I added Raisins, Honey and Raspberries to get the OG to 1.068! I used Wyeast Cider and it fermented aggressively for a week, has since calmed down. SG was 1.004 a week ago when I racked to secondary so not much activity this week. Taste was crisp and very dry!

My aim is a semi-sweet sparkling cider without using campden (metabisulfite) and with bottle conditioning. So I'd like to sweeten the cider then immediately bottle in clear EZ cap bottles (grolsch style 16oz). Here is where it gets tricky... I would like to let the bottles carbonate naturally then pasteurize them in the dishwasher to prevent bottle bombs once they carbonate enough. If I take this approach, is it safe to add more sugar (or honey) than the typical 5 ounces? I don't think 5 oz (125g) will provide enough "back sweetness"? Also any guesses how much I can use and how long I can expect carbonation to take?

Appreciate any expert advice here!

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Old 10-22-2011, 09:47 AM   #2
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I do something very similar to what you have described. The key differences, I bottle in champagne bottles and I pasteurize in a water bath outdoors. During pasteurization it is not unusual for me to loose up to 10% of my bottles to blown caps. I'd like to find a better method.

Let us know how the cider tuns out.

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Old 10-22-2011, 09:59 AM   #3
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that's the beauty of pasteurizing, you can add as much sugar as you like. the time it takes to carb up is extremely variable in my hands, can be a few days or a few weeks. i always bottle one in a 500 ml plastic sparkling water bottle and judge the pressure by the feel of the bottle. if you compare it to a new unopened one, if the cider is as firm as the soda water it is overcarbed. it should be firm but give just a little

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Old 10-22-2011, 04:29 PM   #4
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I do exactly what dinnerstick does, but I use a 16/20 oz soda bottle. The principle is the same, you bottle carb them all the same, and check the pressure with the plastic bottle...once it's firm, you cold crash that one and pasteurize the glass ones.

The only thing I would add is that you might want to let the pasteurized bottles sit about a week before enjoying to let the flavors settle. Not sure about this but others have said that it's not quite as good right after pasteurizing.

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Old 10-22-2011, 11:48 PM   #5
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Awesome thanks, I will do a plastic bottle as well and use sugar to taste. It has only been 12 days since starting primary, should I let it sit a few more weeks?

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Old 10-23-2011, 09:56 AM   #6
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Let it finish out. I usually backsweeten with 1 tbsp per quart of stevia, and prime with 3/4 cup of raw local honey. I get great bottle conditioning with no bottle bombs, and no pasteurizing.

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Old 10-26-2011, 01:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockape66 View Post
Let it finish out. I usually backsweeten with 1 tbsp per quart of stevia, and prime with 3/4 cup of raw local honey. I get great bottle conditioning with no bottle bombs, and no pasteurizing.
I should have taken your advice. I was feeling rushed so we bottled the cider last night after back-sweetening with new juice AND adding priming sugar, it tasted great! Now that I look at the bottles, I have a nice beige yeast cake in each bottle bottom These are EZ-cap bottles and probably haven't carbonated yet so we could pour them back into the bucket and bottle again but that seems like a major pain...
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Old 10-26-2011, 06:59 PM   #8
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Well, when you bottle condition, there will always be some yeast sediment at the bottle of the bottle...that's the nature of conditioning. As the yeast eat the sugars and go dormant they will settle out...even when you pasteurize their will be some yeast fall out.

Nothing to worry about.

Just do be careful watching the pressure with both priming sugar and apple juice.

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Old 10-30-2011, 09:17 PM   #9
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Thanks for everyone's advice. I realized that the "sediment" was in fact coagulated apple sediment from our gallon of organic unfiltered juice, which we used to back-sweeten. Our bottles look like Lava Lamps We tested with a 20 ounce soda bottle and after 6 days, thought we had good strong carbonation. We opened the soda bottle and one test bottle, both were spectacular. We will back down the Cherry in the next mix, 10% was too much.

As for dishwasher pasteurization, our manual says that "Hi-Temp" will achieve 140 degrees so I am running 28 bottles (500ml) through the cycle right now hoping for the best. Again these are EZ-cap clear bottles to show off the spectacular red color. I will post a photo once I get the labels applied. Since I don't know WHEN in the cycle the water reaches 140, I am going to let it run the full 55 minutes. I hope that doesn't screw anything up?

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Old 10-30-2011, 09:22 PM   #10
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Oh by the way, the flavor is spectacular! We had two cider heads over last night and a 15 year homebrewer, all enjoyed it. We have a 1/2G doing a dry-hop test with 1/4oz of Amarillo. Needs another week to tell if the combo will work. But the core fruit cider was strong, bright red, sparkling and semi-sweet, exactly our goal. Will definitely play with the recipe next year during Harvest season. Besides the mix of juices listed at the top of this thread, we used 2# honey, 1# light brown sugar, 1# of raising and 1# of frozen raspberries, with Wyeast Cider 4766.

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