Carbonating with pure cranberry juice

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Aed

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I was planning to make a cider with a heavy amount of frozen cranberries dumped into secondary. Instead, I got my hands on some pure cranberry juice on sale at a much lower cost than the frozen berries.

I like adding my fruit additions as late as possible based on personal taste, and I like higher carbonation levels as well.

So that being said, I’m curious to test out adding some of this juice during bottling rather than my usual priming sugar. I’ve always just mindlessly used a priming calculator, but have never been in a situation where my sugar of choice isn’t really an option. Is there any way to safely calculate how much sugar from this juice should be added during bottling? I know there’s 11g of sugar per cup in the juice, but just not too sure if I can safely pretend it is all sucrose without risking bottle bombs.
 

madscientist451

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I looked on Google and found that Cranberry juice has 31g per cup of juice. I suppose the best thing is to take a gravity reading of the juice you have and go from there.
The decision of what to use as priming sugar depends on what it is you want to achieve.
Do you want a cranberry flavor? Fermented Cranberry juice is not going to provide that.
If you really want cranberry flavor the best thing to do would be to get what you need to keg your cider and add cranberry concentrate at kegging.
If you don't want to get into kegging, bottle your cider, let it carb up with sugar and make a cider cocktail by adding a splash of Frozen cranberry concentrate in the glass.
 
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Aed

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I looked on Google and found that Cranberry juice has 31g per cup of juice. I suppose the best thing is to take a gravity reading of the juice you have and go from there.
The decision of what to use as priming sugar depends on what it is you want to achieve.
Do you want a cranberry flavor? Fermented Cranberry juice is not going to provide that.
If you really want cranberry flavor the best thing to do would be to get what you need to keg your cider and add cranberry concentrate at kegging.
If you don't want to get into kegging, bottle your cider, let it carb up with sugar and make a cider cocktail by adding a splash of Frozen cranberry concentrate in the glass.
Thanks. Mine is supposedly 11g/cup, but yeah I didn’t think of taking a reading and working out the numbers from there.

I’m a fan of cranberry combinations that I’ve used during fermentation in the past, just looking to give cranberry only a try. I also strongly prefer as little sweetness in the final product as possible.

I probably should get a keg some day (already have tons of CO2 tanks, regulators, etc from my aquariums), but I just haven’t run into a situation where I’ve needed one in the few years of doing this so far
 

Chalkyt

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I don't know if this helps, but is the approach that I would take.

When priming for carbonation, I work on fermenting two gravity points per volume of CO2. Rather than calculate and measure the amount of sugar or AJC, I simply add it and monitor the change in SG (i.e. increase 1.000 juice to 1.004 - 1.006 for 2 - 3 volumes of carbonation). We use SG (or density of the cider) as a proxy for fermentable sugar, and in the case of cider this is O.K. since apple juice is typically about 80% water, 16% sugar, and 4% SDFE (Sugar Free Dry Extract, which is unfermentable but does affect density and hence SG, but its effect is much less than that of the sugar).

From what I can find out about cranberries, they naturally seem to be about 80% water, 4% sugar, and 6% other stuff (SDFE?) which gives them all their other properties. With only about 40g of fermentable sugar per litre and 60g SFDE you might find that you have to make a judgement call about what level of SG will give you the carbonation that you want (my guess is double!).

You would need to add 10-15g of sugar per litre to fully fermented cider in order to bring it back up into the range 1.004 - 1.006, which means about a third of a litre of "pure" cranberry juice (or mashed up cranberries) per litre of cider... or double this if you want to "allow" for the possible effect of SFDE.

However, some cranberry "juice" seems to have apple juice added so your 31g of sugar per cup (about 120g/L which is close to apple juice) might already have a high level of apple juice or sugar added. In this case only half a cup per litre of cider would do the carbonation job but probably not add much cranberry flavour.

My guess is that sugar contributes less than half of the "flavour" to cranberries. So you would be fairly safe just adding "low sugar" cranberry juice to your fully fermented cider until you get the right flavour profile. Then check the SG increase and add sugar up to the SG required for your carbonation.

I don't know if this makes sense to you but my guess is that there is quite a difference between "pure" cranberry juice and drinkable cranberry juice (which yours might be), so juggling flavour and fermentable sugar would at least give you a starting point.

Good luck!
 

Raptor99

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Pure cranberry juice would be almost undrinkable without adding sugar, but great for adding flavor in secondary. Measuring the SG is a good idea to get an idea of the sugar content, and you can compare that to the numbers on the bottle. From there you can calculate how much to add. You can add enough to get the flavor balance you want, and if there is not enough sugar you could add some more sugar.
 

Maylar

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This is where a keg would make you swoon. Flavor and sweeten to perfection then stabilize and force carbonate. I'll never go back to bottle conditioning.
 
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