Originally Posted by tarcrarc
Yesterday I began my first attempt at hard cider. I am fermenting two seperate one gallon batches side-by-side at 67 degrees. Both have a strong dose of WLP002. The difference is one has 1 lb. of corn sugar and the other has 1 lb. of brown sugar added. The OG was 1.080.
Here is my question/concerns: My desire is to have a "somewhat" sweet version of hard cider. I know I put quite a bit of sugar into these two batches, which I am reading will create a dry cider. However, WLP002 is known to give a somewhat sweet result as it drops out early, not to mention it may not be able to handle the alcohol. How will these facts play out in the end? Will it dry out?
In addition, should I attempt to keep an eye on the gravity and shut it down (if possible) when I hit a certain reading to retain some sweetness? What gravity would a somewhat sweet version be---1.015ish? What would be the best way to do it---cold crash? Camden tablet?
I have been making cider for over a year now. Here is what I would suggest.
First, yeast will, at that low temperature, probably not die but will work very slowly. Try to get your juice up over 70 degrees.
Second, until your alcohol level gets too high, your yeast will eat all of the available sugar. The problem with adding too much sugar at the beginning is creating a higher than desired alcohol level which is not a good environment for the yeast.
Third, I would say that your yeast should be done converting the sugar into alcohol in about 14 days. Check your SG. If you want to know what it should be try referring to this chart. http://www.davesdreaded.com/homebrew-calculator/
Next, when your SG is around 1.0 or below you are about done. Now is when you need to consider how to sweeten and carbonate.
What I do is add 1 can of apple juice concentrate per gallon to a clean and sanitized bucket then rack my cider off of the sediment into it and stir. I then bottle the fermented cider and concentrate mix, cap the bottles and let them sit for about a week.
I test for desired carbonation every couple of days after they sit for about 7 days (open and consume technique). When I get the kind of fizz I want I then use the stove top pasteurization technique described as a sticky on this board to stop further fermentation in the bottles. I then refrigerate.
Hope this helps.