First Cider. Will this work?

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THESULLI

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Hello all!

After taking a long hiatus from brewing/drinking, this time of year always gets me thinking about doing a hard cider for Christmas.

Every year, my girlfriend and I drink about 150 gallons of this spiced cider from Trader Joes. We can't get enough of it! Since my brewing knowledge is limited to extract/specialty grains, I was hoping the cider experts could put their 2 cents in.

Cider 1.jpg Cider 2.jpg

If I were to ferment a 5 gallon batch of this stuff, how would that work out for me in you experience? It is pre spiced so I am not sure if that makes a difference in fermentation or not. Does it have enough sugar in it as is? Should I add some? If so how much, and what kind? When it comes to yeast, I have seen that some popular ale yeasts are pretty standard. Any truth to that?

Like I said, I am 110% new to cider and would love a little input on this project.

Thank you!
 

VikeMan

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It's apple juice plus spices. So it has enough sugar for a standard strength cider. And the spices won't hurt fermentation.

I've used ale yeast (Wyeast 1968 IIRC) in a cider. It worked fine. As I understand it, it's not uncommon. More experienced cider makers will probably be able to suggest some favorite strains.
 
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THESULLI

THESULLI

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Interesting proposition. That juice has some slight content of orange and lemon ... could that cause a problem? ...a wild guess would be it would be fine. The calorie content is 110 per serving and my off the shelf apple is 120. Juices can run as high as 180/serving. Everyone is different but I don't additional sugar to juices ... as-is juices give alcohol at about 5 ~ 6.5%. Additional sugar will not improve the taste and if anything make it thinner and less flavorful while simply boosting alcohol. As for yeasts I have a recent thread asking about favorite cider yeasts. The usual suspects:

Mangrove Jack's M02
Nottingham
SafAle S-04
Cider House Select
Lavin 71B

I've never done this but what crosses my mind would be to add about a quart to a glass gallon jug and about maybe 1/4 of a pack of yeast w/air lock and see what happens in 36 hours. If it's not going, give it about 72 to make a determination. At any point if it seems to be going well just add that and the remainder of the yeast to a full batch. If not, buy ordinary apple and add the remainder of the yeast and that will definitely work

Edit - that's pasteurized, right? - doesn't contain chemicals

Edit - now you've got me thinking about doing some 2 gallon "boutique" batches of holiday spiced ;)

I don't see anything on the bottle specifying if it is pasteurized. But I also don't see anything other than natural ingredients listed either.

As far as yeast goes, if its anything like beer, I would assume different yeasts give different finishes. I have always been more partial to a fuller non dry finish. Any suggestions out of your list of yeasts that would accomplish that better than the others?

Good idea on the mini test. That should tell me if I nee to abort the mission before umping several bottles into a fermenter.
 
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THESULLI

THESULLI

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Sounds like I am goin with Nottingham then. I am excited to see how this goes. I have been wanting to do this for like 3 years but just have not made it happen yet.
 

Yeast Farmer

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I make cider with store-bought juice all the time. My usual method is to add a little brown sugar (1/2 to 1 cup), a handful of raisins, a teaspoon of yeast nutrient, and roughly 1/5 of a packet of Nottingham straight to a gallon jug of juice, leave the lid cracked, and then decant and refrigerate it (and drink it) before it's fully fermented (5-7 days), so it has some sweetness. The Nottingham yeast flocculates very well and sticks to the bottom of the jug, and the yeast nutrient prevents nasty off-flavors from fermentation. Sounds like a prison wine recipe, but the results are pretty damn good and it's practically effortless. Oh, and first I pour out one glass of the juice to make some room in the jug. It's the best way to make a cider with a little sweetness.
 
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