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Old 11-08-2009, 10:16 PM   #1
Nov 2009
Posts: 10

I started two gallons of cider on October 13th. Moved it off the cake on the bottom of the two 2 gallon carboys yesterday and decided to stick it in the fridge as at 1.008 FG, it seemed ready to go.
The recipe was as follows-
2 Gallons cider (local orchard stuff from southern ME)
About 6 oz. of clover honey
6 grams of Safale-SO4
SG- 1.05 (average of a couple readings corrected for temperature)

FG of 1.001
By my math- about 6.4% ABV
I'll get to the point- I don't much care for it.
It's pretty clear, still but more like a low alcohol wine than what I was expecting. I'd love some carbonation, but I'm on a budget here. I backsweetened with quite a bit of the same cider I had hardened, but it's still not anywhere near what I expected. It bubbled steadily until I moved it to secondary and off the cake- but I decided to call it quits because there was quite a bit of headspace in the secondary and not much action (I wanted it to clear a bit, but didn't want cider vinegar). I've had some J.K scrumpy's that I fell in love with, and would like something a little more on that idea. I'm thinking next time- higher SG (achieved with brown sugar), higher finished ABV, and more backsweetening to a final ABV of about 5%. (Sorry if this makes no sense- I've been really hammering this stuff).

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Old 11-09-2009, 06:15 AM   #2
Nov 2009
Posts: 26

It seems to me you attempted to cold crash your yeast without success. What was your fridge temp?

Most juice is fructose and yeast converts it readily. There are no left over sugars. You could try filtering your yeast out before adding juice back in, or pasteurizing to kill the yeast before adding juice. You have to have someway to remove the yeast before adding juice sugar back into the mix, or the yeast will convert it and you will end up with a FG of 1.001 almost every time.

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Old 11-09-2009, 01:37 PM   #3
Ale's What Cures You!
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
Posts: 69,998
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Another thing to keep in mind- it sounds counterintuitive, but the more fermentables you add (sugar, honey, brown sugar), the higher the ABV, the less cider-like and more wine-like it'll be.

If you get an OG over about 1.065 or so, you'll have a dry white apple wine. Cider, with the apple flavor, is usually just hard cider. Fermented apple cider, with no additional fermentables. The more sugar you add, the more it'll ferment out. It'll be pretty dry.

I like my cider dry, so I don't do much to sweeten it, but there are lots of people in the forum that can give you better advice on making a sweet cider.
Broken Leg Brewery
Giving beer a leg to stand on since 2006

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Old 11-09-2009, 01:43 PM   #4
Oct 2009
Arlington, Texas
Posts: 793
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Won't Camden tabs kill the yeast? Throw some in, wait 24 hrs, backsweeten with juice.
Marc Moberg
Assistant Winemaker/Cellar Manager
Inwood Estates Vineyards and Winery
1350 Manufacturing St. #209
Dallas, TX 75207

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Old 11-09-2009, 02:06 PM   #5
Nov 2007
Lakes Region NH
Posts: 275

you need both campden and potassium sorbate to inhibit yeast. and even then it doesnt really stop an active fermentation, it just prevents a stalled ferment from picking up again.
You must love this country more than I love a cold beer on a hot Christmas morning. - Homer S.

And how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home winemaking course, and I forgot how to drive?- Homer S.

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Old 11-09-2009, 02:08 PM   #6
Jun 2009
Des Moines, IA
Posts: 87

Originally Posted by WIP View Post
Won't Camden tabs kill the yeast? Throw some in, wait 24 hrs, backsweeten with juice.
Campden just knocks down the wild and unwanted (plus helps against oxidization). You need sorbate. It prevents the yeast from reproducing.

Do some searching around and you'll find plenty of variations of the following:
Campden and sorbate according to bottle directions to stabilize.
Wait a few days.
Backsweeten with desired method.
Wait a few days to make sure fermentation doesn't rocket off again.

Again, do some searching for more detailed method's, but that's the jist of it.
Bigneck Brewing Co
Holding Heads Up Since 2009

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Old 11-09-2009, 03:37 PM   #7
Oct 2007
Charlottesville, VA
Posts: 1,334
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I would advise tasting sorbate before using it. It leaves a very discernible taste that does not go away. Also you need to add k-meta before the sorbate if you are using it to stop an active fermentation or else it will really taste and smell undrinkable (like geraniums)

From the description from the OP, it looks like he started the crash but didnt finish it. To crash, you rack the cider into a fresh carboy and chill the fresh carboy for a few days until the yeast flocculates and you have a compact sediment on the bottom. Then you still have to rack the cider off the new yeast cake that precipitated out in the fridge. Otherwise it will have slowed way down, but can still be active if you leave the cider on top of the preciptated yeast. Especially if your fridge is not real cold

If you want a sweet cider, the thing to do is to stop the fermentation earlier - not add more sugar. I've found that by bumping the sugar up just a bit - to about 1.060 or 1.065, the ferment will last longer and the sg drops slower at the end of the ferment - so you have more control over when to crash, without losing much apple taste. But if you go over 1.065 you will noticeably lose the apple taste.

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Old 11-09-2009, 04:18 PM   #8
Nov 2008
Kansas City
Posts: 251
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts

+1 on CvilleKevin's response

if you dont like the wine / dry finish, crash it earlier. I like to crash mine at 1.020

Also, temp and the speed with which the ferementation goes affects the taste greatly. I had two batches going recently. One I watched the temp very closely at 55 or so. The other was slightly higher at 60. The 55 batch took 2 weeks to ferment down to 1.020. The 60 batch took 3 days, and tastes like white wine (which i dont much care for). This was with the same juice to start with, and both were S04 from the same packet. Two totally different products.
-Paul O.
Vintage Vespa, Classic Mini Cooper, and Fermentation. Thats my life.

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Old 11-09-2009, 10:15 PM   #9
Nov 2009
Posts: 10

Wow, that OP read more like a rant than I intended. I was shooting for a more apple-y flavor and was pretty disappointed with the finished product. I definitely botched the whole cold crashing operation.
I was talking to a guy at my LHBS (which is a disappointing hour away) and he told me that when he met the JK Scrumpy's people, they said that they began with a rocket fuel (pretty high ABV) and backsweetened with fresh cider. The finished product from them is a very sweet, very apple-y 6.0ABV that is carbonated but becomes still after a few seconds in the glass. Again, thanks for all the responses, I'll keep them in mind. I start a new batch on Wednesday. I intend to do the same thing but start with 1.065 and bring it down a little less than I did.
By the way, this whole thing only took from Oct 13th to Nov 9th- seemed fast! I pitched the SO4 in some cider to make a 'starter.' I'm not sure if that caused things to speed along.

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Old 11-10-2009, 02:29 AM   #10
homebrewer_99's Avatar
Feb 2005
Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
Posts: 17,796
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I just bottled an English Cider this weekend.

Brewed: 7 Sep 09
Bottled: 8 Nov 09

5 gal AJ
4 lbs Table Sugar
3 lbs Corn Sugar
WLP775 English Cider yeast

OG: 1.119
FG: 1.000
12.495% ABW
15.619% ABV

Fermentation temps: 72, 70, 66 (ambient room temps actually)

No secondary. Golden and clear, full bodied, both tart and sweet with a dry finish.
Very kicka$$...DO NOT drink this then drive...
HB Bill

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