Apple cider / wine mix

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bitterbad

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Currently making a sort of unique recipe. A wonderful park nearby has a public orchard, and whenever I go I take some apples home with me, and I've been putting them in the freezer not knowing what to do with them. With around 10 pounds of apples (and an apricot somehow) I decided that enough was enough and I'm gonna free up the space. I also live nearby an apple tree, and yesterday I picked a bunch of apples, also 10 pounds, and decided to try to make cider with what I have.

For general guidance I'm loosely following this apple wine recipe.

I don't have a juicer so I put the fresh, not frozen apples in a food processor and ground them to pulp 4 cups at a time and then pressed them the old fashioned way. This sucks. Took hours and got lots of pulp anyway. Not doing this without a juicer next time.
Then I took the frozen apples, which had already broken the pectin in them, making them squishy, chopped them up, and threw 'em in the bucket with the freshly pressed and pasteurized cider, and added campden + pectic enzyme. Today I took the frozen apple chunks and hand-crushed them to get the juices—couldn't find a better way since they're so slippery, also felt novel and cool to crush apples with my bare hands. The freezing + enzyme made it super easy, I bet I could just make pure apple juice like this too. The must of cider and apple mash is about 1.5 gallons. Also added some cloves and cinnamon for spice.
I then dissolved some 1 pound of honey and around half a pound of turbinado sugar in half a gallon of hot water and I'm about to add that right now after it cools, and then I'm going to add Côte des Blanc yeast, which is foaming in a bowl right now.

I'm aiming to make something more like cider but if it ends up being just wine I'm fine with that too. I guess this could also be called cyser because I'm using honey?

I'll update on how it goes, and update with an initial gravity soon.
 
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bitterbad

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Ok the original gravity seems to be 1.075, though I don't know how accurate that is, there's a lot of pulp and seeds in there.

...Should I add more water?
 

Raptor99

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A OG of 1.075 will give you about 10.3% ABV. If you want an ABV of 5-6% like most cider, don't add any honey or sugar. Most apple juice already has enough sugar to make cider.
 
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bitterbad

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Some cyser recipes that I'm finding have initial gravities going to 1.095. I'll just go for it, may as well.
 

Raptor99

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Cyser is mead made with apple juice. And honey of course (mead by definition is made with honey). Cyser usually has an ABV in the same range as wine. It is not the same as cider. But a cyser sounds great, so I hope that you enjoy it.
 
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bitterbad

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Cyser is mead made with apple juice. And honey of course (mead by definition is made with honey). Cyser usually has an ABV in the same range as wine. It is not the same as cider. But a cyser sounds great, so I hope that you enjoy it.
Yeah it's not what I was going for but I'll take it. How are you even supposed to make 5% ciders? This juice was hellla sugary and sticky from the get-go, and I thought the best ciders just use the pure cider without diluting it, but it's super sugary? Maybe I also got a lot of extra sugars from the pulp and skins? I mean just one pound of honey along with more water shouldn't bring it up that much right?
 

bwible

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Ok the original gravity seems to be 1.075, though I don't know how accurate that is, there's a lot of pulp and seeds in there.

...Should I add more water?
I made this mistake early in my home beer / cider / wine / mead making experience.

What you have to remember is that wine, mead, and cider, unlike beer, ferment to zero. Sometimes they go less than zero. So 1.075 to 1.000 is 9.84% by the online calculator I use. Most commercial ciders are in the 5-6% range. I’d aim for 1.040-1.042
 
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bitterbad

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I made this mistake early in my home beer / cider / wine / mead making experience.

What you have to remember is that wine, mead, and cider, unlike beer, ferment to zero. Sometimes they go less than zero. So 1.075 to 1.000 is 9.84% by the online calculator I use. Most commercial ciders are in the 5-6% range. I’d aim for 1.040-1.042
So... Is the solution to that to add more water then?
 

Raptor99

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In 1 gallon of liquid, 1 lb. of honey raises SG by 0.035, and 1/2 lb. of sugar raises it by 0.020. Since you have 2 gallons of liquid, cut those numbers in half. Your additions increased the SG by about 0.027. Without the sugar and honey, your OG would have been around 1.050, which would give you an ABV of 6.6%.

Most table apples are sweeter than cider apples, so it is helpful to add some juice from more tart cider apples.
.
 

Chalkyt

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Andrew Lea (Craft Cider Making) suggests that for reducing the alcohol level, "dilution of cider up to about 15% has little impact on flavour". This can be a practice in the U.K where a "good" year might result in apple juice having a SG over 1.060 which could put a fully fermented cider close to their 8.5% ABV legal limit.

For a fully fermented 5% ABV cider, the starting point of your juice should be SG 1.040. Most apple juice will be in the range 1.045 to 1.055 which isn't too far away, so adding 15% water could pull the SG down near 1.040.

Stopping a typical 1.050 juice at 1.010 will give you the same result (5% ABV cider). The FG of 1.010 will have 25g/L of sugar which is about the same as a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of coffee which might line up with your Cyser flavour expectations although the extra SG from the addition of honey, raisins , etc will blow this out of the water by upping the starting SG. It is all a balancing act.

Have fun!

(Edit... pretty much what Raptor 99 said a minute or so ago!)
 
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bitterbad

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"dilution of cider up to about 15% has little impact on flavour"
Followed this advice and got to a gravity of 1.052 (measured before to make sure it hasn't changed that much in a day of fermentation). Though there is all the sugar hidden within the apple slices floating in the brew, so this is only an approximation. Took a sample from the hydrometer beaker and it taste pretty good.

Now my problem is, I'm realizing that I won't be able to mash these apple slices without taking drastic action. A potato masher just won't cut it. It's too small, they slip away. I imagine for this job I'd need a super-sized potato masher of some sort to mash into the bucket, so that the apples have nowhere to go except to be crushed. I've tried looking online with searches like "large masher" "very large masher" "huge masher" and "GINORMOUS masher" but all I see are normal 3-inch potato mashers. I suspect I may have to create such a device on my own. Looking around my apartment for inspiration, I think I could cut up the plastic mesh from my box fan, layer that on itself, and use that (after sanitizing it of course).
 
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bitterbad

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An update, because of all of the pulp and my lack of a levening agent I ended up with way less than I had hoped. I now have a 1 gallon carboy of cider that tastes like something so close to being cider yet just not there yet. The off-tastes are probably coming from unpleasent gasses still trapped in it i think, like nitrogen, (based on my research), so I'm dealing with that by just swishing the carboy around and letting the gasses and bubbles escape through its airlock. Gonna just watch anime and swirl it around occasionally until i stop seeing bubbles i think.
 
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