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Better mouth feel?

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realityinabox

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I am wondering if there is anything I can do to get a better mouth feel out of my cider. I have 12 gallons (three different yeasts, 4 gal each) that are just about ready to be racked off primary, and want to do some experiments during secondary. I did a tasting and testing this evening, and all three were rather bright, had more sour, thin, green-apple-y notes. Everything lingered toward the front of my mouth/tongue.

I'm slightly worried that I'm not going to get any body out of this cider. I like a more full, earthy taste, something that will hit the back of the throat as well as the front of the mouth. I'm currently planning on testing some on oak (though any oaked cider I've tried tends to be pure oak, no apple, so I'm slightly weary. A light touch, I suppose).

I'm sure carbonation and time will help, but does anyone have an recommendations for additions during secondary to achieve this?

Edit: I just remembered about a thought I had recently about how to get more earthy flavors... Molasses... Good idea? Bad idea? I honestly don't know much about what it is, other than tasty in cookies.
 

gratus fermentatio

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You can add a pound or 2 of chopped raisins, that will add some body & sugar, thus a slightly higher ABV too. If you can get them, crabapples will add acid, tannin, sugar & a bit of percieved body. You can add some FWGJC (frozen white grape juice concentrate), thawed but not reconstituted. This will add some body, acid & sugar. Adding a can or 2 to a 5 gallon batch really won't change the flavour, apple will still be the dominant flavour & the grape undetectable. You could add a bit of malt, this would make your cider more like a graff & the malt will be detectable, but tasty.

Adding molasses won't really add any body to your cider, but it will add sugar & flavour. Fermented molasses doesn't really taste like molasses either. It's sort of an odd flavour, not bad, actually pretty good in the right application & amount, but it's kind of hard to describe. Sort of a cross between brown sugar & a "woody" type of flavour. The dryer the cider, the more pronounced this flavour is. I'd suggest you try molasses in a 1 gallon batch of cider to see if you like the flavour. You can always add it to a larger batch later if you do like it.

You could also add spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, caraway, black pepper, ginger, lemon zest, etc...
Avoid using powdered spices though, they make a mess & are next to impossible to remove after your desired flavour profile has been reached. Use whole, cracked, sliced or chopped spices instead & contain them in a hop sack or you might try making a teabag to contain them. If you tie some fishing line to the hop sack & let the bung hold it in place, it will be easy to remove later. You can weigh it down with a couple of sanitized marbles if you want.

I've added flaked oats to graff with good results, oats will add some body & a very smooth mouthfeel. I couldn't taste the oats at all. I've also used several types of crystal malt, most all of which will add a bit of perceived body. My fav is a combination of Munich malt, CaraMunich, honey malt, crystal 120 & flaked oats. The ratios are a matter of individual taste.
Regards, GF.
 

Yooper

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Cider is a thin drink, as the sugars in apples are fermentable and so there isn't any body left to speak of. You can add some raisins or maltodextrine, as suggested, and it may give you what you are looking for. Most cider drinkers would find a thick cider off-putting, though.
 
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realityinabox

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I'm not necessarily looking for thick, just not as thin as it was. I'm going to give raisins a shot, probably experiment a bit.
 

Jacob_Marley

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Lactose
Say, about 1/2 lb per 6 gal cider. (ie. call it about 1.4oz per gallon).

Dissolve the lactose is some water and bring briefly to a boil, then cool before adding.

Note that besides adding some body this will also increase the sweetness a bit.

Lactose is fermentable by lactobacillus and some Bretts but otherwise not normally fermentable by std yeasts (without lactAse anyway) ... so it should not cause restart of fermentation.

If you're worried about lactobacillus, and if you are not going to carbonate through bottle-conditioning/priming, as is done with wine you could add a standard amount of K-meta/sulfites ... a few days or so prior to the lactose addition. Personally, as long as the sanitation is not in question I wouldn't worry too much about lactobacillus though.

Lactose will skew your SG though so make sure to take a final reading before adding it.

If you are experimenting ... you might try a portion with the *equivalent* of 1lb per 6 gal ... a portion with 1/2 lb per 6 gal ... and a portion with 1/3 lb per 6 gal. If you do this I'd be interested to read a final post here on the effect on mouthfeel and sweetness. (!)
 

oljimmy

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I've been looking for ways to get better 'mouthfeel' for ages now, and depending on the kind of mouthfeel you're looking for, there may be no substitute for using juice from what are called 'true' cider apples. You can add complexity (raisins, lactose) and this will help to offset the pure acidity you've got now. But that slow, lingering soft-astringency you may have tasted in other ciders is a result of using juice from the right apples. However, the methods mentioned above may also give you something you enjoy, and that's what matters!
 

ohiochris

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Ive been wondering what about a little gelatin for better mouth feel , seems like that could deal with the watery or thin mouthfeel of most ciders.
Ive read where people put dried malt extract in it for better mouth feel but that would alter the flavor some.
 
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