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Flavored cider help

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Ferdle

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Hello All,

Just started a small 1 gallon batch of cider and I'm looking to do some flavors in this one.

Possibly ginger or raspberry?

I started primary fermentation on Friday.

Is there anything I can add to the secondary to get a flavor going on, or did I need to incorporate the ingredients before starting the primary (in a boil)?

And if I can add ingredients while racking to the secondary, how do I make sure the ingredients are "sterile"?
 

JKenshi

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After receiving some advice from a friend of mine, I started doing my flavoring by taking the ingredients I want to flavor with and simmering them on the stove top to draw out the aromatics and flavors. It's worked well for me so far. My last batch I simmered in apple juice concentrate and added at bottling time. If you do this with secondary you're probably going to kick off a little fermentation again. You could also simmer or steep them in an alcohol that is flavor neutral, such as vodka, or something that complements cider, such as Calvados.
 

hethacker

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I feel like most everything should be added at the end of primary to beginning of secondary for ciders. although, unless I am reducing it for a more concentrated flavor, I do not boil my cider. instead I buy pasteurized apple cider with no preservatives added to it (like benzoates or phosphates, citric acid ok), then I can add the apple juice, yeast, and nutrients, aerate, and have the batch done and ready to go in less than 30 minutes :rock:

I have had really good luck just placing my fruits and spices directly into the primary and transferring to secondary or a keg when I feel like it has enough flavor in it.

Ginger is a fun one to use for me, I would say if you don't want too "green" of a ginger flavor: peel it, grate it, add honey or thick sugar water to it and keep it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, it creates a candy ginger flavor that is very nice in ciders. a teaspoon or two of cayenne pepper (in 5 gallons) helps bring out the apple and ginger flavors too.

for fruits, I would say fresher is better, and whole fruit over puree. You can increase your yield if you have pectic enzyme to break down the fruit first, mango, blackberry, kiwi, and other sweet fruits that don't have too much tartness will be complimentary to the cider as well. steeping time can range from 10-21 days, longer for more subtle fruit flavors. biggest problem here is chance for infection, but if the ABV is above 7.5% its highly unlikely to happen. a phosphoric acid wash (star san) with fruit skins still attached will greatly minimize that risk.

Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and other potent spices should be used very conservatively, a little goes a long way (worst case scenario if you add too much: you have to wait a few months for the flavor to mellow out).

hops are also very interesting to add in a cider, i would recommend a little higher of alcohol and a little sweeter if you want to include that. again, a little goes a long way, .5 oz of 6.6%AA for 5 days is good for a 5 gallon batch. biggest problem here is to have a really fine mesh bag to keep all of the hop particles out of the batch.
 

bmd2k1

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wondering for those putting whole spices in like nutmeg and cloves...are you tossing straight in or in a bag?
 
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hethacker

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wondering for those putting whole spices in like nutmeg and cloves...are you tossing straight in or in a bag?
I have only used whole cloves and ground nutmeg, but yeah, just toss it into the carboy and it will fall to the bottom in a few days to a couple weeks. I believe whole nutmeg might float around for a while, but those things are POTENT, I don’t think you would want to wait for them to fall to the bottom, haha. They are also large enough to not fit through a shielded siphon.

For the grated ginger in the last post, I would recommend a mesh or Muslim bag, same with dried fruits, or anything that’s very fibrous.
 

MarkKF

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I used to include in the primary but have switched to the secondary but rack a second time to clear. I don’t heat but freeze. The fruit breaks down better after. My best results have been with cherry or cranberry.
 

gratus fermentatio

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I like a bit of caraway seed in my cider. I think the easiest way to add it is to put the seed in a hop sack along with a couple of sanitized marbles to weigh it down & add it to the carbouy. The longer you leave it in, the stonger the caraway flavor. IMHO, caraway & apple go together like bread & butter.
Regards, GF.
 

bmd2k1

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When putting whole cinnamon sticks or nutmeg in secondaries...any need to swirl them around periodically...or is just letting the "goods" just sit there sufficient?
 
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