Assistance/Input about backsweetining

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KellyMcki

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Hello all, just signed up to the site as I was hoping to get some input.
I have been homebrewing cider for a few months and have been using the same recipe, very simple setup, so far my friends and I have really enjoyed the cider I produce but this batch I wanted to change up the backsweetining.
So far I've been using a nice cider blend of apples that my friend hooks me up with because she works in a local orchard, she presses them for me and sends them over in these little gallon carboy-esque bottles. So far i have been using those as my primary fermentation vessels, and then just adding my yeast, yeast nutrient, and pectic enzyme too. When i get ready to backsweeten I use one can of organic apple juice concentrate per gallon.
Basically this time around I have 3 gallons and I want to backsweeten one with my regular method, one with local honey, and the last with a mix of orange blossom honey and blood orange concentrate.
So I'm reaching out to hopefully see what you all more experienced folk think is a good amount of honey and the honey/concentrate combo to add? Should i just try to match the sugar content of the apple juice concentrate i have?
Thanks in advance for any and all help
Kelly
 
"To taste" is the correct answer. But if you have a hydrometer and can measure the specific gravity of what you like after sweetening, it makes it easier to replicate the next time.
 
I'm with him^ add the honey till it tastes right. The combo is a bit different. My first thought was mix the combo then add the the cider. Then I wondered, if the blood orange is for flavor, should it go in first then the honey to sweeten?
In the end this choice will be yours but if you do a small amount, say 4oz, you can try both ways and decide which works better for you.
 
To taste is correct but I'd start with 1/2 a cup. Honey can catch up quickly. Also ensure you've used plenty of Potassium Sorbate post cold crash/transfer to secondary.
 
When I backsweeten, I usually use 1/2 cup per gal of FAJC. I would aim for about the same if using honey. Honey adds 35 gravity points per lb in one gallon of must. So 1/2 cup (6 oz) will add about 12 or 13 grav points. Therefore, if your cider is dry at 1.000, 12 grav points will give you a cider of 1.012, which is defined as sweet.

However, wine terminology and your perceptions may be very different. For example, my wife considers any wine less than 1.020 as too "dry" to her taste. I'm not sure what typical American commercial ciders would test at, but I am guessing around 1.020.

But you can use the above calculations to estimate where you want to start with your backsweetening. You can figure using the basic 1 cup honey (12 oz) into 1 gallon of cider must = about 25 gravity points.

And remember, you can add more sweetener, but you can't take it out.
 
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