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Old 10-13-2009, 08:16 AM   #1
May 2009
Posts: 240

I would like to brew a strong cider using a Black Rock kit.

1. Is using dextrose better than using normal table sugar?
2. Does cider benefit from ageing for a few months like beer?
3. I want to make the alcohol content around the 8% ABV mark, should I add 3kg of sugar with the kit, ditch the standard yeast it comes with and add 2 packets of cider yeast from a homebrew shop?

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Old 10-13-2009, 10:46 AM   #2
May 2008
Posts: 2,274
Liked 11 Times on 11 Posts

With three lbs of sugar you may even go higher.
Expect the cider to ferment down to less than 1.000 unless you stabilize it or crash chill it.
I personally like to add light brown or regular brown sugar, or table sugar with a little molasses, but I usually only add two lbs. If I want to further bump it I buy a few cans of concentrate. The rule of thumb is one can of tree top per gallon will rise the SG by 1.009.

Juice with a SG of 1.045 or so will give you an ABV of around 5.8%. (some juices may be higher).
Adding three lbs will get you around 9.5% ABV if you go to 0.998 like most ciders.
Depending on how high the ABV and dry you ferment it down to extends the ageing time. I have found it takes a very dry cider to take around 8 months to really kick a.., you could back sweeten, mix with soda, etc to match your taste.
Hightest has provided a spread sheet in the FAQ sticky at the top of this section, it is fun to play with and do all your what ifs.
As for changing out the yeast, I would not unless you suspect the yeast is not good. If you buy the kit I would just make it. Otherwise it may be cheaper just buying AJ, sugar from the store an going with that. BTW, that's what I do.
Hope this helps, and welcome to making cider.
In Primary: Belgium Chimay clones.
In Secondary: Braggot, pale ale, end of the world white.
Conditioning: Mead, Cider, braggot, Belgium Wheat.
On Tap: Clones, Chimay Blue, Red, Porter, malted cider.
Bottles: Far, far, too many to list.

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