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Old 01-07-2011, 04:49 PM   #1
greenman117
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Default Sweetening & Carbonating Still, Dry Cider

I have a very still dry cider. I would like to sweeten and carbonate a few gallons of it. I have priming sugar for carbonating and wine conditioner (simple syrup and k sorbate) that would sweeten it, but as I understand it the k sorbate in the conditioner would kill the fermentation of the primer and therefore cancel any carbonation. so I guess the question is how do i sweeten and carbonate?

the cider is a product of fresh pressed apples and champagne yeast. no additional sugars were added at any point. primary fermented went for like 2 weeks or so, i racked it and let it settle for a few weeks and racked it again. i dont know SG or any real chemical info.

Thanks!

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Old 01-07-2011, 05:53 PM   #2
Skyforger
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It is a real issue. You can get sweet cider, or carbonated cider, but both....is tricky. The best way is to keg and force carbonate, naturally. But not everyone has the equipment to do that. Another way is to sweeten to taste with whatever preservative-free sweetener you wish, then add a bit more and allow to bottle carb. Fill a plastic bottle with the cider, and when it gets hard you immerse the bottles in a bath of 160*F water for ten minutes; this kills the yeast. This is a bit labor-intensive and some report that it changes the flavor a bit, but it undeniably works. The last method is to add sweetener as above, then cold crash the bottles once they carb up and keep them in the refrigerator until drinking. This naturally takes a good chunk of fridge space, and it's recommended to drink....relatively quickly, in case you have any exceptionally cold-hardy yeast in there.

Some people also use non-fermentable sweeteners and priming sugar after fermenting out to get a sweet-tasting cider. Examples include non-fermentable sugars (lactose) or artificial sweeteners (nutra-sweet, stevia, etc.). Personally, I don't much like this method, but ymmv.

I typically just choose one - sweet and still or carbonated and dry. Depends how important it is to you. If I ever start kegging, I may consider carbonating sweet ciders, but I like dry sparkling applewine perfectly fine.

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Old 01-07-2011, 09:42 PM   #3
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thanks sky, kinda what i expected. if i added more sugar in the beginning and used a less dry yeast i guess the result is a sweeter still cider that then only requires the primer to carbonate?

I did just pop open one that has sat bottled for about a month and it is more appley that it was before. this version sparkling may be really nice.

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Old 01-08-2011, 02:21 PM   #4
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Yeah, cider tends to really improve with age. The rule of thumb I've heard is 3 months for a cider with OG of 1.050, and another month for each ten points thereafter.

So far as letting a low-attenuating yeast finish, then adding more sugar....it can work, but doesn't tend to. The reason the yeast stops working is because it's more sensitive to the raising alcohol levels. Also to an extent the lowering sugars. So generally adding sugar won't get them working again, and if it does there's no guarantee that it will stop with just the sugar you added. Pretty much all the sugars in apple juice are fermentable, after all.

Some industrial cider makers (i.e, J.K.'s Scrumpy) have a system whereby they've figured out exactly when the yeast will stop fermenting, then bottle just before that. If you can get a really consistent system going this may be a viable, though somewhat risky, option.

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