I currently have 7 one gallon experiment batches going using Safale US-5 yeast because I wasn't overly impressed with how Red Star wine and champagne yeasts stripped the apple flavor out of previous batches so I intend to use an ale yeast. Here is my plan:
1 gallon regular hard cider using US-05 as a control
2 gallons of dry-hopped cider using US-05
2 gallons of hard cider aged with light toasted American oak chips using US-05
2 gallons of dry-hopped cider aged with light toasted American oak chips using US-05
I used 3 Kroger brand frozen apple juice concentrate per gallon batch and filled the rest of the gallon carboy up with water filtered through a Britta filter. [note] in the past I have always used orchard fresh unpasturized non-chemically treated cider but seeing as I live in northern Indiana and it is December fresh cider is a bit hard to come by these days.
1 crushed campden tablet was added to each gallon 24 hours before pitching yeast.
24 hours later the OG was read at 1.058-1.060 depending on the jug and then I added:
1/8 tsp tannin per gallon
1 tsp Fermax Yeast nutrient per gallon
1/2 tsp pectin enzyme per gallon
3/4 tsp acid blend per gallon
I shook the carboy up to dissolve all added ingredients and then pitched 3/4 tsp Safale US-05 yeast per gallon (no yeast starter made prior) and shook the yeast up. This came out to using about 1 and 1/4 packets of yeast for all 7 gallons.
Air lock were put on and the cider has begun fermenting at 60 degrees F. I had about 1 bubble every 45 seconds in the airlock 24 hours after pitching yeast and now I am up to 1 bubble every 15-20 seconds after 48 hours. Looking good!
I intend to add in the hops and oak chips to the secondary. My problem that I'm having is that I like a sweet carbed cider and I really would like to halt the fermentation at 1.012 to avoid the yeast from chewing up all the complex sugars and eating up my apple taste. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can seep the hops and oak chips in the secondary without having to kill the yeast and the reason being is that I don't have a kegging system so I have to keep some yeast alive so I can bottle carb? I guess i should add that I don't have any fridge space to let the 7 carboys keep the yeast dormant while these flavors steep. I need to somehow keep the yeast dormant so they will not ferment my cider to totally dry while I steep flavors in secondary. After the steeping is done i plan on cold crashing the secondary, then bottling, and then pasteurizing the bottles after they have carbed up to my liking or at least that's what I've done in the past. Suggestions?