Ever back-sweeten apple cider with lactose?

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Keith66

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I've made about 4 batches of apple cider. All have been back-sweetened with FAJC then stove-top pasteurized. Of those 4 batches, 2 had bombs, 2 had none. Since it only takes 1 bomb in the right place at the right time to fill your chest or face with glass, and since I'm apparently not perfect at it, I'm done pasteurizing. That part is history. As an alternative, I've heard that you can back-sweeten with lactose. I've also heard from the guy at the LHBS that it can impart a creamy flavor, which I'd rather not have. I searched HBT several different ways and found mention of using lactose in cider, but no discussion of its use or results. So, as the thread title asks, has anyone ever back-sweetened cider with lactose, and what was your experience, and what would be your advice? Thanks in advance!
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bberg

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I'm in to hear the results. Debating whether or not to back sweeten mine!

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bernardsmith

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Why is backsweetening causing bottle bombs? What is the ABV of your cider? What is the SG when you bottle? How long do allow it to age before you bottle? Are you back sweetening and carbonating?
 
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Keith66

Keith66

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Why is backsweetening causing bottle bombs? What is the ABV of your cider? What is the SG when you bottle? How long do allow it to age before you bottle? Are you back sweetening and carbonating?

If you back sweeten with fermentable sugar, which is likely way more than you would normally prime with, the yeast keep eating the sugar and producing CO2, building pressure. If you have too much pressure when you heat the bottles to pasteurize them... POW!!! Pasteurizing kills the yeast and prevents additional pressure once your get the carb you want. If you back sweeten with a non-fermentable sweetener, then prime with sugar as usual, no bombs, fizzy cider, good times!
 
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Keith66

Keith66

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I chickened out on the lactose, went with stevia. Used KAL brand, heard it was the purest, 2 tsp for 5.5 gallons of cider at 1.001. Definitely sweetened it up. Added a half tsp at a time, mixing and tasting as I went. Them primed with table sugar. Bottled it all up and drank the leftover. It's going to be really good when it's ice cold and fizzy!
 

gimpmeister

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I curious how this turned out. My fisht batch of cider finished high at 1.026 and was nice and sweet. My second batch is down to 1.003. I'm hoping that stevia will work well then just prime like normal.

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Keith_O

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Did you taste it before sweetening? I am doing my first batch.
The "recipe" calls for 2/2/2, so I'm getting ready to rack it into a secondary.
The "recipe" calls for 1 can FAJC for priming, but not sure if I add anything when I rack it?
 
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Keith66

Keith66

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Well, I bottled 2 weeks ago. Last night I chilled one and tried it. It had plenty of carb, nice pfft, no gusher, just right. It cleared up pretty nicely too. More time and cold will clear it more. No bombs, so apparently Stevia indeed is not fermentable (no surprise). I have to say I wasn't real wild about the taste, but it has nothing to do with the Stevia. It's the 7% alcohol. This is the second batch where I've added FAJC on top of the 5 gallons of juice to crank up the abv, and this one tasted similar to the last one. BTW, the last one was backsweetened with FAJC and pasteurized, no artificial sweetener, all apple. Anyway, I don't like it to taste "fermented". I like commercial ciders like Adam's, Woodchuck, Blackthorne, etc. All those have about 4.5-5% abv, and are sweeter. This last batch of mine was plenty sweet thanks to backsweetening with Stevia, but it's just too much "fermentation flavor". I have some friends that will do back flips to get their hands on 2 cases of 7% apple cider, so no problem getting the bottles empty. On my next batch, I'm going back to my original recipe of 5.5 gallons of TreeTop juice (usually 1.045) and Wyeast Cider Yeast. Ferment to 0.000, backsweeten with whatever (I'll use stevia again), prime and bottle. The flavor in this current cider tastes natural, no different than my previous 7% cider backsweetened with FAJC, so the Stevia tastes fine in my opinion; I'll keep using it to sweeten. Still don't want to stovetop pasteurize. Hope this helps.
 

Safa

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Lactose would give you little to no taste-able sweetness...

Completely and utterly incorrect.

I did a one gallon experiment with lactose which turned out fantastically well. I have scaled it up and right now have a 5 gallon batch bubbling away.

Do yourself a favor OP, try a small batch with lactose. It adds mouthfeel as well as sweetness and is absolutely wonderful. No milkiness (everyone warned me about that too, despite not a single one of the nay sayers actually having tried it themselves.). Just be sure you have established what your intended sweetness is (I.E. gravity reading), and add lactose to that level.

For example, I wanted my cider to finish at 1.009 because that's about the same sweetness level of Strongbow. Since I'm doing a 5 gallon batch, I know I need 5 gallons x 9 gravity points which = 45 gravity points total.

Because 1 pound of lactose in 1 gallon of water adds 30 gravity points, I'll need 45/30 = 1.5 pounds of lactose.
 

bberg

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Completely and utterly incorrect.

I did a one gallon experiment with lactose which turned out fantastically well. I have scaled it up and right now have a 5 gallon batch bubbling away.

Do yourself a favor OP, try a small batch with lactose. It adds mouthfeel as well as sweetness and is absolutely wonderful. No milkiness (everyone warned me about that too, despite not a single one of the nay sayers actually having tried it themselves.). Just be sure you have established what your intended sweetness is (I.E. gravity reading), and add lactose to that level.

For example, I wanted my cider to finish at 1.009 because that's about the same sweetness level of Strongbow. Since I'm doing a 5 gallon batch, I know I need 5 gallons x 9 gravity points which = 45 gravity points total.

Because 1 pound of lactose in 1 gallon of water adds 30 gravity points, I'll need 45/30 = 1.5 pounds of lactose.

Good Idea. I'll keep that in mine for my batch. How long do you wait from fermentation to back sweeten... To drink? I made a 1 gallon test batch in the beginning of February..
 

Safa

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If I'm not carbonating, I'll back sweeten and drink as soon as I can get a glass out of the kitchen.


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budwhite5

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As we speak I'm getting a cider ready for the fermenter. I tried one last year, but it dried out. I left it too long to pasteurize and ended up with bottles that we're very interesting to open and I had to add syrup I every glass before drinking.

This time I'm planning to not let it ferment until there's no activity in the air lock. I'll probably ferment it for a week. Then I'm planning to back sweeten with lactose and prime each bottle with 5g sugar before pasteurizing after a maximum if two days! Does this sound like a reasonable plan? Only my second batch of cider ImageUploadedByHome Brew1395430290.741655.jpg


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rookiebrew25

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I made a batch of cider and bottled it before fermentation was complete. I didn't prime the bottles and they carbed up in 2 days. Then stalled fermentation. That was the nicest sweetest cider I made. Suggests maybe fill 1 or 2 in pet bottles. Sqeeze all the air out then cap. And just keep an eye on them. Once they are hard then you need to refrigerate them. Have never pasteurized cider but would like to learn. Then they not taking over the fridge. Hope this helps. I am just a rookie but hope this helps. Cheers 17

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rocketsan

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Completely and utterly incorrect.


No, no I'm not...stick a wet finger in glucose or malt extract...then stick another finger in lactose... The sweetness differences are so night and day different. Sure you'll get some but it will not be noticeable unless you overdose. There will be tons of mouthfeel but minimal sweetness...


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Keith66

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Yes, it's known and documented everywhere that lactose is less sweet than sugar. It is, however, a suitable sweetener; you just have to use more lactose than you would sugar to get the same effect, not an "overdose" unless it's too sweet. No secret. Notice that Safa gave calcs (based on his first hand experience) that came out to 1.5 lbs of lactose for 5 gallons of cider. Sugar would be less (but it's fermentable). I used 2 tsp of stevia. They're all different. That doesn't mean that lactose doesn't sweeten; you just need more of it. Compared to stevia, sugar "would give you little to no taste-able sweetness..." It's all relative.

Safa, thanks for your detailed description of your experience with lactose. I'll probably do a 1 gallon batch and try it as you described. I love Blackthorne!
 

gimpmeister

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I let one completely dry out on me. It went all the way down to 1.000. I just bottled lat night with some stevia to sweeten and a little sugar to carb. Hoping it turns out well. I did the same 2 tsp of stevia for close to 6 gal. Glad to not be the only one trying this.
 

bberg

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I let one completely dry out on me. It went all the way down to 1.000. I just bottled lat night with some stevia to sweeten and a little sugar to carb. Hoping it turns out well. I did the same 2 tsp of stevia for close to 6 gal. Glad to not be the only one trying this.

make sure you follow up!!
 

gimpmeister

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This is a batch I am finding it hats to wait for carbonation. I made the mistake of running out of my other cider before bottling this one.
 

Davethebrewer

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You have to stabilize, that is, kill the yeast with potassium sorbate before you add sugar. Otherwise you will make sparkling dry cider or bottle bombs or both. In wine making, this is called stabilizing the wine. Then back sweeten to taste using your hydrometer. Truvia has been discussed and is interesting, but in acid environments like hard cider, pH about 3.5, over time Truvia will degrade into fermentable moieties that will again cause sparkling dry cider or bottle bombs. Takesca few months for this to happen. Sweet, sparkling cider is a modern aberration only possible because of forced carbonation.
 

damnsaltyham

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I am curious, did anyone ever use lactose to back sweeten? My LHBS recommends using 1 pound for a decently sweet cider. I am more curious about what kind of mouth feel it adds to the cider. I have two 5 gallon batches going now, was going to back sweeten with 1 pound of lactose and add 5oz of priming sugar before bottling. Attached is the recipe from my LHBS.
 

chunkychicken

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I used Lactose recently to back sweeten a brew that had strawberries and lime. It was really nice but it was also quite tart. Lactose cut through the tartness and balanced the flavours out, masked the subtle, jam-like flavour a little bit, but overall it balanced it out to a point where it was enjoyable.

I had about 1 gal of cider and used maybe 2 - 2.5 ounces.

Also changed the texture, but am running gelatin through it now, so might back sweeten again once it's clarified.
 

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