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Old 04-04-2012, 02:17 AM   #1
soberJim
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Default thinking cider

I havnt yet made an Apple cider, yet would like to. Just wondering a couple things, would it be alright to just use pure Apple juice? And with that, how would the percentage of sugar compare with the final gravity reading? For example, the juice that's in front of me now is 11.1% sugar, saying this is 100% fermentable, would I be left with an 11% cider? One other thing, is beer brewers yeast gonna work alright? Or should I step it up a notch?

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Old 04-04-2012, 02:33 AM   #2
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Any apple juice without preservatives will do. I've used frozen concentrate. Most stores have bottled unfiltered Cider in bottles. If no sugar is added by you or the bottler you might not get over 5.5% ABV.

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Old 04-04-2012, 02:57 AM   #3
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So that would be a sweet cider then? There's juice here that is just pure crushed apples, nothing else whatsoever. That's probably what entices me actually, to see how it turns out. I've tried other peoples homebrew cider before, which had added sugar.. tasted about 25%, just couldn't drink the stuff, which makes me ask such things. Having a brief look, I see people have added artificial sweeteners, does it really need it?

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Old 04-04-2012, 03:07 AM   #4
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The "easy way" to make hard cider will give you a completely dry end product. If you add sugar, it'll still go dry, but it will have a higher ABV. That is, unless you add so much sugar that you totally overwhelm the yeast with alcohol before they ferment it all, take other steps to halt fermentation before the sugar is gone, or use a non-fermentable sweetener (could be a natural sugar like lactose, or an artificial / semi-artificial sweetener like xylitol). Those steps will keep it sweet.

I've got my first cider in secondary right now. I opted to go for a dry cider on the first go, partly to keep it simple, partly because dry ciders are hard to find commercially, and partly because carbonating a bottled sweet cider adds further complexity. Although I would not classify fermenting store-bought juice as terrifically challenging, there are enough variables in play that I think there's a lot of merit to the approach I've taken. It's nice feeling confident that things will simply work with a minimal application of judgement.

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Old 04-04-2012, 06:00 AM   #5
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I know too much sugar will overwhelm the yeast unless its well oxygenated, picked that bit up from beer, but I'm still yet to figure out how much is too much.. so I basically don't have to do anything except add the yeast and let it sit for a week? This sounds easy! Same temperatures I presume as for beer, maybe slightly lower for a more full bodied feel? I know what bought cider tastes like, there are some high quality ones here, just wasn't sure how they achieve this... Complete noob to cider brewing here!

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Old 04-04-2012, 06:07 AM   #6
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IMO making a terrific hard cider is WAY harder than making great beer. I've heard decent cider can be made with store bought juice, but for something really amazing you have to either buy fresh cider or make your own. I have some cider that's been in tertiary since last fall, it still has some acidity issues but is looking quite promising. As far as dry cider and adding sweetener, that American palate is not accustomed to dry cider so it is difficult to find. I recommend making dry cider and growing accustomed to it. It really is a great beverage

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Old 04-04-2012, 06:14 AM   #7
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i've referred to this set of frequently asked questions...well.. frequently.. when it comes to what works and what doesn't for cider.

http://homebrewforums.net/discussion...der-faq#Item_5

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Old 04-04-2012, 06:16 AM   #8
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I literally pour 2 or 3 gallons of apple juice into my fermenter, non-preserved stuff, and then add (beer) yeast. I ferment for 5 days, then bottle and condition for 2 weeks. My final product is indeed very dry, properly carbed, and varies in color dependent on the juice used. The tastes vary as well, but are often compared to an "apple like champagne" by friends. The 2 gallon batches get drank in a weekend every time.

You can make an average dry cider in 2 or 3 weeks. If you want something special, it's gonna take a lot more time and work, but will be well worth it.

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Old 04-04-2012, 06:29 AM   #9
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i agree with bottlebomber, but i think part of the reason a terrific hard cider is difficult to make is that cider apples are tough to get. if you want to learn more pick up a book like andrew lea's craft cider making. i have heard (from people on this website, but from nowhere else in the world) also that ok cider can be made from store juice, why not try a small batch, it's easy. also, in my opinion, bottlebomber's cider still sitting in a carboy from last autumn sounds about right! mine are bottled to free up the carboy, but still unopened. dry cider really improves with age (although even that point has been criticized on here, i have no idea why), semi-sweet can be good to go pretty quickly.
btw 11% juice basically equals 11 brix (grams sugar / 100 ml) which translates to 1.045ish, look it up on a chart, means you will get just shy of 6% abv

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Old 04-04-2012, 06:33 AM   #10
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It's actually sitting in 5 carboys I was going to bottle this weekend but took a sample and was concerned about the acidity (definitely not aceto). I am now considering using a malolactic culture. These were 50% Gravensteins, 50% tart French cider apples.

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