Originally Posted by drewmey
Here are my questions...
1) Is this an appropriate OG to shoot for if I am going for a low alcohol wine or high cider. Obviously I can't predict the FG on the spot but I think it will probably end near 1 right?
2) When do I rack into my second carboy? I think once the SG stops changing for a couple days. Is this correct?
3) I have some fresh cranberries that I want to include. Should I include them in the initial ferment or after I rack to the second carboy? And I honestly have no idea how many to add. I want a predominantly apple flavor with a slight cranberry flavor. I guess it may depend on whether I cook them first or just chop them and throw them in. Any advice would be great!
4) My previous (and only other batch) came out pretty sour but tasted alright after adding my own sweeteners at the end. This might be getting ahead but I am curious about what other people do. Last time I pasteurized after adding honey to sweeten. This time to make things easier I plan on cold crashing, siphoning to the bottles, adding splenda or lactose (have both), then refrigerating. What do people think of this and when do those who use non-fermentable sweeteners add them?
Thanks for all the advice!
1) It will end near FG 1.000 (or slightly lower) so you do the math of how much alcohol you want. Brown sugar can become a dominant flavor if you add too much of it so don't go overboard.
3) Rack onto cranberries in the secondary. I've done 1 lb per 3 gallons of cider and found that it gave about the right level of bitterness and a rosy pink color after about 10 days. I brought the cranberries to a boil with a little water to sanitize them but also to break them down a little.
4) I've added Splenda (sucralose) at bottling time (1 T per bottle, of the "fluffy" Splenda that is volumetrically equivalent to sugar). It tasted nice (and indistinguishable from sugar) at first but as time goes on, it tastes worse. I wish I could remember the taste better but I want to say plasticky and maybe metallic, with a weirdly thin mouthfeel. The half of the batch with no Splenda was fine. Since then, I've started experimenting with sorbate and sterile filtration, but those won't be much help unless you're kegging. Maybe you'll have better luck with lactose. Or you could just add a splash of simple syrup when you pour a bottle to drink.
Good luck and let us know how it works out!