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Old 12-14-2010, 02:58 AM   #1
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Default Why do you add sugar to cider?

Why add sugar to apple juice? I'm new to cider making, and not really sure why adding sugar to juice makes a better drink, but it seems to be the normal thing to do.

It's a cheap way to bump up the alcohol, but from what I've read, it also takes longer for it mellow out and become a decent drink.

I've done several gallons of cider using different juices, and yeasts to see how they turn out. The first couple I made up to 1.060 with sugar, but the rest I have just taken SG reading, added yeast and fixed airlock.

I've gone a little crazy because my local supermarket has gallons of juice at $1.59, and I just can't leave it there. All the yeast is slurry from beers, so it ends up at 16 cents a bottle.

I've not actually gotten around to drinking any yet. The first bottles will be ready for Christmas, and from what I have read, I've rushed them.

- What is the difference in taste between a cider made with juice and one with added sugar?

- Is there a difference in the time it takes to 'mature' it?

Most juices seems to come in around 1.050. I am perfectly happy drinking something around 6.5% alcohol. If it starts pushing 9%, I've got to be careful how many I have.

Interested to have input from experienced cider makers.

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Old 12-14-2010, 03:15 AM   #2
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I am not necessarily highly experienced.... but here's my input...

I don't like to add sugar.... I add apple juice concentrate to bump up the brix and intensity of the apple flavor....

I am particularly fond of the expensive organic apple juice concentrate as it seems to really add an intensity and depth of flavor that the Cheap "Seneca" Apple juice concentrate lacks.

Time to "Mature" - more than 1-week after bottling.... I like slightly sweet ciders... They seem to be at their best fairly young - less than 6 months old.... More than that and they mellow out too much...

Dry ciders are a totally different animal.


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Old 12-14-2010, 06:47 AM   #3
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I don't add sugar and you don't need to. If it's plain white sugar or dextrose, you will boost the alcohol content and do little else. If you are trying to introduce different flavours then things like brown sugar etc might bring something to the party.
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Old 12-14-2010, 06:57 AM   #4
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...honey is nice
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:26 AM   #5
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some people don't add sugar! there are purists (luddites?) out there (me) who add nothing but apple juice and sometimes yeast and are also very happy with 6%.
then again i have also never used bottled juice; don't know how it compares to fresh juice for taste and requirement for maturation or how it benefits from +sucrose. i'm sure there are threads on that topic?
btw 16cents / bottle... can't lose can ya
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:20 PM   #6
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I don't add plain sugar if I do add fermentables. I have done small mashes boiled down for a malted cider very recently. I also have added things like Indian Jaggery sugar, brown sugar, or honey. I will be doing a batch real soon with 2lbs of cranberries in the secondary.

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