Back sweetening and Carbonation

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SnyderCider

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Hey guys so I just finished my second fermentation of my cider and I’m stuck on back sweetening. The cider is very dry and tart because I didn’t add anything but the yeast. I’ve been studying how to add sugar and then carbonate it with said sugar with the remaining yeast. I think I may have messed up though by not adding the agave or slices with the original fermentation. Does anyone know the right process of backsweetening and then bottle carbonating?
 

D the Catastrophist

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So, given that you want to back sweeten and carbonate, you have a couple competing processes as both need sugars for the yeast to feed upon.

Adding fermentation sugars can do both, but it is balancing act as you will need to pasteurize the cider to halt it at a stage where it has both sweetness and carbonation you want, otherwise the yeast will continue to eat the sugar until it's used up. This way does run the risk of making bottle bombs so I'd avoid it.

If you use a non-fermentable sugar for sweetness you can then use a fermentatable sugar for bottle carbonating. Since it can't eat the unfermentable sugars, this is more controlled, you can limit the amount of sugar to keep it in a safe range.

Below is a online calc to figure out how much sugar to add to bottle carbonate, as too much fermentatable sugars can cause bottle bombs.

Priming sugar calc

Also, be aware of what bottles you are using for bottle carbonating. Swing tops are ideal, corked not so much(unless it is the mushroom style champagne corks). I also have a large, sturdy trash can I put the bottles in to contain any mess if I screwed something up and added to much sugar, or have a bottle that is weaker for whatever reason.

I like the walk through this site does they explain it pretty well.
Cider Making

Another thing to be aware of is a flat cider will taste a bit different than a carbonated cider so you may decide you don't want to back sweeten.
So, with that in mind, consider adding non-fermentable sugar to bottles on an individual basis. That way you can see which you prefer.
 
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SnyderCider

SnyderCider

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So, given that you want to back sweeten and carbonate, you have a couple competing processes as both need sugars for the yeast to feed upon.

Adding fermentation sugars can do both, but it is balancing act as you will need to pasteurize the cider to halt it at a stage where it has both sweetness and carbonation you want, otherwise the yeast will continue to eat the sugar until it's used up. This way does run the risk of making bottle bombs so I'd avoid it.

If you use a non-fermentable sugar for sweetness you can then use a fermentatable sugar for bottle carbonating. Since it can't eat the unfermentable sugars, this is more controlled, you can limit the amount of sugar to keep it in a safe range.

Below is a online calc to figure out how much sugar to add to bottle carbonate, as too much fermentatable sugars can cause bottle bombs.

Priming sugar calc

Also, be aware of what bottles you are using for bottle carbonating. Swing tops are ideal, corked not so much(unless it is the mushroom style champagne corks). I also have a large, sturdy trash can I put the bottles in to contain any mess if I screwed something up and added to much sugar, or have a bottle that is weaker for whatever reason.

I like the walk through this site does they explain it pretty well.
Cider Making

Another thing to be aware of is a flat cider will taste a bit different than a carbonated cider so you may decide you don't want to back sweeteprefer.
So consider adding non-fermentable sugar to bottles on an individual basis. That way you can see which you prefer.
Appreciate the info!
 

Chalkyt

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There was a fair amount of activity around this topic last year. I replied to Frankiemuniz last Wednesday about the same thing (just down the page a bit). Attached to that reply is a paper that I posted last year, which should enlighten you heaps. Also look up the other posts that I mentioned in that reply.

As outlined above, sweet carbonated cider is a bit of a balancing act of stopping fermentation to retain sweetness and keeping bottle pressure well within the limits of the bottle rating.

I often do a slightly sweet carbonated cider with around a residual SG1.004 - 1.008 (10 - 20 g/L of retained sugar, which is a bit like 0.5 -1.0 teaspoon per cup of coffee) and as a general rule regardless of the sweetness level, I keep carbonation to around 2 vols and heat pasteurisation temperature to no more than 65C, which limits the bottle pressure during pasteurisation to around 84psi.

Most commercial 12 oz bottles are conservatively rated at around 4 GV (gas volumes) which is about 80psi. The manufacturing "batch pass" for new bottles is typically 1.2 to 1.8 MPa (175 - 261 psi), with 75% of this typically being applied to recyclable bottles, so common sense suggests avoiding any situation where bottle pressure might be over 100psi. Other bottles such as "Grolsch" or Champagne can be rated higher, although Grolsch seals can leak at over 80psi.

So, without kegging, it is possible to make a sweet carbonated cider, but there needs to be an understanding that with higher carbonation or pasteurising temperature, the process can get close to the pressure (or "bottle bomb") limit of the bottles that are commonly used. Therefore PPE precautions like gloves and goggles are worthwhile.
 
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SnyderCider

SnyderCider

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There was a fair amount of activity around this topic last year. I replied to Frankiemuniz last Wednesday about the same thing (just down the page a bit). Attached to that reply is a paper that I posted last year, which should enlighten you heaps. Also look up the other posts that I mentioned in that reply.

As outlined above, sweet carbonated cider is a bit of a balancing act of stopping fermentation to retain sweetness and keeping bottle pressure well within the limits of the bottle rating.

I often do a slightly sweet carbonated cider with around a residual SG1.004 - 1.008 (10 - 20 g/L of retained sugar, which is a bit like 0.5 -1.0 teaspoon per cup of coffee) and as a general rule regardless of the sweetness level, I keep carbonation to around 2 vols and heat pasteurisation temperature to no more than 65C, which limits the bottle pressure during pasteurisation to around 84psi.

Most commercial 12 oz bottles are conservatively rated at around 4 GV (gas volumes) which is about 80psi. The manufacturing "batch pass" for new bottles is typically 1.2 to 1.8 MPa (175 - 261 psi), with 75% of this typically being applied to recyclable bottles, so common sense suggests avoiding any situation where bottle pressure might be over 100psi. Other bottles such as "Grolsch" or Champagne can be rated higher, although Grolsch seals can leak at over 80psi.

So, without kegging, it is possible to make a sweet carbonated cider, but there needs to be an understanding that with higher carbonation or pasteurising temperature, the process can get close to the pressure (or "bottle bomb") limit of the bottles that are commonly used. Therefore PPE precautions like gloves and goggles are worthwhile.
Wow thank you so much for the in depth answer!! I’m having a blast making this stuff
 

seatazzz

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Another sweetener to try is Stevia; won't ferment, and tastes pretty good, and is natural. I'm using it in my hard seltzer.
 

hawkwing

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Kegging is the best way. I can’t stand the taste of artificial sweeters. IMO they wreck anything they are in. So sweeten in your glass is probably the next best.
 
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