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Old 01-27-2009, 01:19 PM   #1
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Default Question about carbonating a cider made with ale yeast

I've got a cider going with S-04, OG 1.060. I've read that the ale yeast will leave behind a little sugar, not ferment all the way like Montrachet. Now, my question is, will that yeast still be able to carbonate if I bottle prime? My thinking was that if the yeast had petered out at something above 1.00 that it wouldn't be able to do anything with the additional dextrose.


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Old 01-27-2009, 02:54 PM   #2
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And you would be right, one option would be to brew up a batch and ferment it to completion. You could then determine the FG for that particular yeast. You could brew up another batch and bottle at a certain SG so you'll know how much CO2 will be be produced from then. Another option would be to use a more prolific yeast and to back sweeten using a non-fermentable sugar.


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Old 01-27-2009, 03:06 PM   #3
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I will respectfully disagree with Nerro. Ale yeast such as s04 should be fine to carbonate with if you had an OG of 1.060. Many larger beers have a higher OG than that and s04 works fine to carbonate them.

When we talk about the ale yeasts leaving the cider fruitier and less dry then champagne or wine yeast, it will finish somewhere around 1.000 or slightly higher. The yeast isnt dead, its just that it wont eat every last bit of fermentable it can find.

I am very confident that if you prime with 1oz priming sugar per gallon, the s04 will eat it.
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Old 01-27-2009, 03:49 PM   #4
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My comments were meant in general. If a yeast species craps out at a certain ABV they aren't all that likely to go and ferment out after all are they?
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Old 01-27-2009, 05:57 PM   #5
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but it dosen't "crap out at" because it's hit it's alcohol tolerance, it just won't eat as complex of sugars and won't ferment everything out, but if you add more simple sugar to it it will be fine, "dryness" with s-04 is 1.000-1.003, but if you add priming sugar it will be fine if you had an OG of 1.060. I did a cider that was 1.062 with s-04 and it went down to 1.002, primed fine in bottle with 1oz of sugar per gallon.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:15 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies. I have a couple of follow up questions. 1. If it turns out the extra dextrose doesn't carb, then it would just sweeten the drink a tiny bit, so no harm no foul and worth trying, right? 2. What is the significance of the OG in your responses? If the OG is higher, is the likelihood of carbonation less because the yeast more likely to have been used up?
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:30 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freezeblade View Post
but it dosen't "crap out at" because it's hit it's alcohol tolerance, it just won't eat as complex of sugars and won't ferment everything out, but if you add more simple sugar to it it will be fine, "dryness" with s-04 is 1.000-1.003, but if you add priming sugar it will be fine if you had an OG of 1.060. I did a cider that was 1.062 with s-04 and it went down to 1.002, primed fine in bottle with 1oz of sugar per gallon.
Well, in cider, there aren't any "complex" sugars. So, you have to assume that the yeast "crapped out" if it's done at a higher FG (leaving residual sugars). 1.002 is probably borderline, and probably wouldn't cause bottle bombs if primed and bottled.

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Originally Posted by T-rags View Post
Thanks for the replies. I have a couple of follow up questions. 1. If it turns out the extra dextrose doesn't carb, then it would just sweeten the drink a tiny bit, so no harm no foul and worth trying, right? 2. What is the significance of the OG in your responses? If the OG is higher, is the likelihood of carbonation less because the yeast more likely to have been used up?

Not necessarily. The extra dextrose might provide enough fuel for bottle bombs, if the yeast wasn't done. Or, it might be done, and you may have a flat sweet cider. Either way- I wouldn't bet on which you'd get.

Yes, if the OG is higher, the more likely the yeast is done.

If you use a wine yeast, there is no problem carbing a cider. An ale yeast, though, might be different. If it's finished do to the ABV or the limits of it's attenuation, it's done. Ciders have only simple sugars, so they should ferment as much as the yeast will ferment. Bottle carbing after the FG reached is iffy at best.
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Old 01-28-2009, 01:33 AM   #8
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I was saying your yeast likely isnt "used up" or dead, because 1.060 isnt all that high of an OG. and you are correct about the dextrose. if it didnt get eaten by the yeast it would just sweeten it up a bit, probably improving it. so go for it man, you should be good!

also instead of dextrose you could prime with a can of concentrate so if the yeast was dead it would be sweeten it in a better way then dextrose.

i am very confident the yeasties will be ready to prime though


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