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Old 07-08-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
KJB5200
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Default Watery/bland Cyser

Hi All,

I made a couple batches of mead and cyser in Nov 2012 and recently when sampling the two noticed that the cyser is awfully boring! It tastes watered-down, has almost no flavor, smells slightly of fresh, barely cooked applesauce, and has almost no detectable alcohol. The mead on the other hand is quite good - great silky mouthfeel, wonderful aroma and flavor. I'm trying to figure out what to do with the cyser because I'm worried at this point that time won't be a good thing for it (I see vinegar in the future..)

My calculations indicate the cyser should be a low 14% and the mead a high 16% but the latter appears FAR more alcoholic - something I'd be comfortable aging compared to the cyser which is altogether worrisome now.

My calculations:
CiderOG = 1.042 | BaseMeadOG = 1.124
1.2gal BaseMead + 0.25gal H2O = 1.45gal Mead
1.0gal BaseMead + 1.2gal Cider = 2.2gal Cyser
MeadOG -> (0*0.25) + (124*1.2) = 148.8/1.45 = 1.103
CyserOG -> (42*1.2) + (124*1.0) = 174/2.2 = 1.079
MeadFG = 0.980 | CyserFG = 0.968
MeadABV = 16% | CyserABV = 14%

The calculations seem easy enough but am I missing something? The numbers make sense to me but the final products are vastly different. I'm tempted to take all the cyser out of bottles to try and fix it but I just don't know what to do at this point. Maybe a sparkling cyser? Maybe another batch and blend? Any suggestions appreciated!


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Old 07-11-2013, 07:14 PM   #2
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Are you sure your hydrometer goes to 0.968? Most end at 0.990

That 14% cyser may need more time, as many honey based ferments need 1-2 or more years. I allow at least 1 month bulk aging for each % ACV. Have you considered adding the different acids to a sample? That may perk it up. Another sample, add vanilla by the drop, see what you think. And believe it or not, apple and lime juice, oh the joy.

What was the recipe for the cyser?


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Old 07-12-2013, 12:24 PM   #3
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Interesting ideas, I may see what a little vanilla does for it. All my calculations are based on refractometer readings (taking into account the residual alcohol) but I could grab a hydro reading just to see what it says. Now that I'm playing around with the numbers, if I only got down to a 0.99 (taking a guess..) that would put me just over 10%, which could be more accurate. I still would've expected a stronger flavor but it has been almost 8 months, so perhaps the alcohol has mellowed out enough?

I don't mind letting it sit for another year I just don't want to open a bottle 12 months from now and be equally as bored with the final product. I do have acid blend too, and plenty of pH strips, but I've never added acid (hell, this is my first "wine-like" brew!)
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Old 07-12-2013, 12:37 PM   #4
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BTW the recipe was like this:

Made a base mead with 6.3lb father-in-law-'s honey (15.3ppg) with 1.48gal H2O. Set aside 1.2gal for Cyser.
Added 2.0g Fermaid-K & 2.0g DAP.
Rehydrated 5g of Cotes des Blancs & pitched into Cyser base.
After dropping 15 points, add 1.2g Ferm-K & 1.2g DAP.
Added pectic enzyme to 1.2gal Cider; let sit for 12 hours @ RT before adding to Cyser base.
Fermentation was around 72 average, let sit in carboys for ~2 months before kegging (relatively clear) for another 5 months, bottled for 1 month.

I've got more notes but not sure what else would be helpful to know.

Thanks
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:08 AM   #5
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Well I've read your original post more than once, and given the further info, am even more confused.

So rather than try and follow what it is that you're struggling with, how about this.....

You mention Cotes des Blancs yeast yes ? which indicates the Redstar stuff.

So how and why do you think it will give 14 or 16% batches, when it's only rated (using the yeast data from winemakermag, I've not seen anything published by Redstar.......which is why I only use Lalvin yeasts..... better data/info) at 12 to 14% ?

Even presuming that it might go to 14% according to the data, that's the higher end of it's ability, so would need careful management to get it to the top end....

Refractometers are fine for assessing the sugar levels of a must or juice, but once there's alcohol involved you do, as you pointed out have to make allowances. So I wonder why, when you can get reasonably accurate hydrometers for a few bucks/pounds/euros etc etc, would you not opt for the cheaper, easily used option ?

We don't generally deal in commercial quantities, so as long as the kit is clean and sanitised, there's little risk taking a sample amount, making the measurement and then returning the sample to the ferment i.e. a bit of scrimping but nothing lost.....

Sara's ideas are, as usual, excellent, but they're "masking" techniques. Just to improve "mouth feel", either tiny amounts of glycerin work, as does back sweetening with honey or you can even steep a handful of unwaxed, unsulphited raisins in the batch while it's clearing. Acid, tannins, etc won't change the actual viscosity but can change the perception of taste, so they feel better when drunk. The spices idea can also help but that would be masking, not mending.....

Just my tuppence worth.......
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:55 AM   #6
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Acid blend/ malic acid, glycerine etc. I find that apple cider fermented with honey takes at least a year to become anywhere near drinkable. I did a 1 gallon cyser with leftover stuff I had lying around and it tasted sour and foul when I first bottled it, very very dry, reminiscent of cheap German apfelwein. After a year it has smoothed considerably and is very nice, especially chilled.

Also, out of curiosity what kind of apple cider did you use to ferment? If it was store-bought stuff or (god forbid) Mott's, it might be lacking in character because it's homogenized apple juice and wasn't a blend intended to become a fermented beverage.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RachmaelBenApplebaum View Post
-----snip-----
and wasn't a blend intended to become a fermented beverage.
Isn't that the case of all apple juice, whether cloudy (and incorrectly named/termed) or filtered and clear ?

Very few would make a blend of juice that is for fermentation, unless it's being sold by a HBS or other brewing supplier.......
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Old 07-14-2013, 07:44 PM   #8
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some local growers around here will make blends that are better for cider/cyser than the stuff you buy on the cheap at the store. Not always the case, but usually. Better quality juice=better quality drink.
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Old 07-15-2013, 12:00 PM   #9
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Rach, it was cider from a local farm in downeast Maine - I'm sure it wasn't intended for fermenting specifically, but just how common is cider that has been specifically crafted for hard cider? I'd be "hard pressed" to find any around here That being said, it's relieving to hear you had similar experiences (cheap German apfelwein is exactly what it tastes like so far!

fatbloke, my experiences using a refract have always been very good and this is my first shot at making anything with a vastly different must/wort (I'm used to dealing with maltose-heavy worts)...hindsight is always 20/20 so it's easy to say "why didn't you do this or that?" but I'll take a hydro sample tonight when I have a chance to crack a bottle

Thanks for your comments


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