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Backsweeteing, Mixing, and Stratification

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NorthStarBrewer

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When backsweetening cider, is there a technique to ensure that the sweetener mixes well with the fermented juice?

I just kegged my first cider, which I made by fermenting 4.5 gallons of Kirkland juice, backsweetened with another .5 gallons of juice. I racked the fermented juice into the keg, poured in the unfermented juice, and just gave it a little shake before hooking it up to the gas.

The problem I've encountered is that the first few glasses taste just like unfermented apple juice. My hypothesis is that the juice, having a SG of about 1.053, settled at the bottom of the keg below the less dense, fermented juice (which finished with a SG of about .998). I presume it'll be confirmed when, a few glasses later, what I draw from the keg will start tasting dry and alcoholic.

Is there a solution to this? (Pun intended)
 

Johnny_M

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I have never back sweetened with juice, but I have added simple syrup afterwards in carbonated bottles before corking. The syrup always seems to dissolve into the juice without issue and it is fully mixed relatively quickly. Though, the carbonation does help to agitate the cider. That said, maybe try making a simple syrup or using invert sugar and really mixng your keg by rolling back and forth until it is dissolved.
 

jseyfert3

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Is there a solution to this? (Pun intended)
Don't give the keg a little shake, give it a big shake! Once mixed, they can't separate later. I would recommend hooking up gas and purging before shaking in the future though, so you're not shaking with oxygen in the headspace.

For now, I'd suggest you grab your keg, shake it up, and try another glass.
 

CKuhns

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HMMMM - Could have not mixed well think Black and Tan as @jseyfert3 suggest shake it up.
The other thought would be if you left some yeast in suspension and did not inhibit them in some way or kill them by pasteurizing they could be consuming your added sugar raising the alcohol a bit and going dry again. in-essence that's what happens when you add priming sugars to bottles for carbonation. In the keg you would not notice the additional CO2 produced.
 
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NorthStarBrewer

NorthStarBrewer

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HMMMM - Could have not mixed well think Black and Tan as @jseyfert3 suggest shake it up.
The other thought would be if you left some yeast in suspension and did not inhibit them in some way or kill them by pasteurizing they could be consuming your added sugar raising the alcohol a bit and going dry again. in-essence that's what happens when you add priming sugars to bottles for carbonation. In the keg you would not notice the additional CO2 produced.
It's about 40 degrees in the keezer. I used the Fermentis cider yeast; would they still be active at 40 degrees?

Thanks for the replies. I took the keg out and shook it like it owed me money. Seems to have helped!
 

CKuhns

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Missed that part about temp - should have known if it was kegged. - Then my thought is probably not as likely. Some yeasts certainly can be active at 40 Deg F but the ones that are (D47 & Cote Des Blanc comes to mind) are still just a little active and are very slow - I have no experience with the Cider Yeast you mentioned.

Like your profile pic.
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