A “new” way to produce sweeter cider, perhaps.

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At last, a result. I now have a batch of fully fermented sweet carbonated cider without having pasteurised or added artificial sweeteners.

I will get around to a new post with the details, but for the 2K views and 39 posts that have been following this (where did you all come from?), briefly…

The end result is a carbonated cider with sweetness equivalent to a bit less than about ½ teaspoon of sugar in a cup of coffee.

A blend of 40% Pink Lady, 37% Royal Gala and 23% Fuji was fully fermented, then “home-made” Fuji AJC which is high in sorbitol was added at bottling time. (Fuji juice was cryo-concentrated to about SG 1.095 to make AJC.)

The Fuji AJC is basically concentrated priming sugar and sorbitol. The bottles carbonated to about 2.5 vols of C02, and after degassing the finishing hydrometer shows SG of 1.000, I think it is reasonable to assume that the sugar has been used up in carbonation and the resulting residual sweetness is mostly due to sorbitol from the Fuji juice plus the AJC.

Interestingly, the sweetness is a little different to sugar. I can only describe it as “dryer” and with less “mouthfeel”. There is nothing wrong with it, just a little bit different to the outcome from a hot waterbath pasteurising approach. Sorbitol is reputed to have more effect on perception of sweetness than sugar.

Incidentally a “control” batch without the Fuji AJC hasn’t yet fully carbonated in the bottle and is still at about SG 1.004 (7g/L or about ¼ teaspoon of sugar in a cup of coffee) which makes an interesting like-for-like taste comparison, hence the “different” comment.

Making the Fuji AJC is an extra step in the usual process (in order to avoid diluting the blend with just extra Fuji juice), however the next approach will be to try some blends of Pink Lady and Fuji ciders (i.e. low sorbitol and high acid Pink Lady with high sorbitol and low acid Fuji) to see if the above result can be replicated more easily.

Thanks for the interest. As usual… watch this space.
I wouldn't sweeten with sorbitol period. Only 20 grams of it can cause diarrhea and it's half the sweetness of sugar. Erythritol instead is better tolerated by gut, it's 50 grams or 0.66 - 1g per kg. Erythritol is also sweeter than sorbitol, so you need less of it.