Iíve just racket two 5 gallons bucket into carboys today and tasted both to see the difference in taste between the Safale S-04 and Lalvin EC-1118. Both ciders where very dry as I let them ferment all the way but the Safale was actually already pleasant to drink and will probably need way less time in secondary.
The 1118 was extremely dry and unpleasant to drink and Iím pretty sure I wonít be able to touch it until another 3 months if not more. It almost tasted like white wine mixed with campden tablets with wayyyy too much acidity! I would say the S-04 should be ready to back sweeten and bottle in 2 months. I am now convinced that for my personal taste and because of the fact that I am not a very patient person, ale yeasts are the way to go and I will now avoid wine and champagne yeast.
I will be picking up another 10 gallon of freshly pressed cider in 2 weeks and plan on using S-04 again and Nottingham for the first time. Thanks to CvilleKevin for his ale yeast recommendations. I will also use Pappers Easy Stove-Top Pasteurizing method with wal mart juice and S-04 in November for a little sweet cider treat around Christmas time.
Making cider is easy. Making great cider is tricky.