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tenchu_11

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Hello people, I just finished brewing my cider, it's sitting in a carboy being aged. It started at 1.049 and finished at 1.008, with the help of Nottingham ale yeast. I tasted it it yesterday as I was transferring it to the secondary and it just tasted like very weak apple juice really not much of a taste to it. I siphoned some into a glass to get an acquired taste but still lacked much flavor...I added sugar to the glass made it more palatable but still lacked a strong apple flavor i was hoping for. I was thinking of putting sticks of cinamon and stuff like that to kick up the taste I do plan to carbonate it so It might taste better than flat...any tips? Fyi sorry if its poorly written...i'm over indulging in my home made mead and hefeweizen thanks
 

CandleWineProject

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Wow, my first reaction was that you added sugar to cause a week flavor, but obviously you didn't with an OG of 1.049 with maybe 6%. Second thought is, grape wines don't taste like grapes, so apple cider shouldn't have to taste like apple, yet people expect it to.

If you want more apple flavor, back sweeten it with apple juice. If you do that, though, don't add any priming sugar when you go to carbonate.
 

BaronIV

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if you backsweeten with apple juice you can't carbonate unless you keg....
 

Edcculus

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I've basically come to terms that I can make only decent cider with store juice. My goal this fall is to visit some apple orchards in the area and do what I can to get a blend geared more toward fermenting, not just drinking. Most store juice, and even a lot of unfiltered juice has a ton of sugar, but not much of anything else.

I agree with Candle Wine too. Cider is going to taste like apples in the same way wines taste like grapes, or mead tastes like honey. Also, are you planning on carbonating the cider? I find carbonation brings a lot to ciders made with store juice.
 

RandallT

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Tenchu,
I just started a new batch yesterday with a couple of cinnamon sticks thrown in just for gigs. I figure apples and cinnamon...like a horse and carriage.
 

CandleWineProject

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I have no first hand experience with this, but some people on the forums say cinnamon causes problems due to the oils.
 

Edcculus

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I have no first hand experience with this, but some people on the forums say cinnamon causes problems due to the oils.
Hmm, guess I could see that. FWIW, I put 2 sticks in a batch of Apple Wine I did a few years back. I racked off the lees after a few weeks, then added the cinnamon sticks in my last few weeks of aging. Wasn't my favorite thing in the world, but it did add a lot of cinnamon flavor.
 
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tenchu_11

tenchu_11

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I guess the lack of apple flavor is what people call "dry"? I could see how having it carbonated give it a nice little bitter and sweet tasty "snap" to the tongue, not very tasty flat.
 

CandleWineProject

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No, "dry" is the opposite of "sweet", not flavor. It is the lack of sugar. Since you said you had 1.008, you are at the high end of "semi-dry."
 
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tenchu_11

tenchu_11

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i'd hate to taste real dry my cider dosn't taste as sweet as i thought it would of. I guess i was spoiled by commercial hard ciders such as hornsbys..i expected it to taste something like that. Then again the carbonation might give it a snap
 

Edcculus

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Yea, just combining juice and yeast will give you something rather dry. Hornsbys and other BMC type ciders pasteurize and backsweetnen the everliving hell out of their beverages.

If you keg, getting a sweet cider is easy. If you bottle its a little more work. With kegging, just ferment out, then add back apple juice to the desired sweeteness when you keg. If you bottle, you drive a very thin line between getting it sweet and not having bottle bombs. A lot of people back sweeten with unfermentable sugars like lactose or artificial sweeteners like splenda. IMO, the results are less then satisfactory to me.
 

CandleWineProject

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i'd hate to taste real dry my cider dosn't taste as sweet as i thought it would of. I guess i was spoiled by commercial hard ciders such as hornsbys..i expected it to taste something like that.
There are SO many better ciders out there. Hornsbys is like the coors light of the cider world. Not even craft!
 
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tenchu_11

tenchu_11

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I never said Hornsby was the "gibson" or ciders..in a market that is relatively small hornsby happens to be the only cider in some store shelves.
 

RandallT

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Tench,
Hornsby is the only cider you find in the major chains around here. I have tasted a couple others I found at Bev Mo, can't remember the names right now. I am a complete novice here, but I am trying to create something I can't seem to find in stores-that is a cider with some gusto, down home taste and earthiness that makes ya wanna holler. I have failed with my first several attempts but I am not discouraged. I call them experiments. I made some cherry cider this last week that I think I could market as drain cleaner! That being said, I have three more "experiments" in the works ...and so we shall see. All the best. Keep on mixing.
 
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tenchu_11

tenchu_11

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Update: My hard cider ended up finishing at 1.08 after reading wine forums "splenda" was the recommended artificial non ferment able sweetener. I added around 1 1/2 cups of the snow flake looking splenda (wasn't the powdered splenda not in the mood for opening 100 small packets), checked the gravity and it did not add or subtract from the FG. The wine making website said splenda dos not leave any bad after taste and dosn't deteriorate overtime such as sweet n low or any other sweetener. I tried it and didn't seem to have any real after taste it brought out the apple flavor in my cider which was a bitt..tasteless. I racked it from its secondary and will let it sitt for a few days to see if splenda is really non ferment able. But as far as it looks I should have a fairly sweet (dry compared to hornsby style cider) carbonated cider in about a week (planning on bottling this weekend).
So lesson learned
Ale yeast such as Nottingham will only ferment out to roughly 6% alcohol and will not turn into apple wine.
Non ferment able sweeteners at least "splenda" do not have bad after taste and do not affect the gravity.
bottle bombs....i'll present my noobie findings in a weeks time.
 

CandleWineProject

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So lesson learned
Ale yeast such as Nottingham will only ferment out to roughly 6% alcohol and will not turn into apple wine.
Are you sure about that? I've never worked with Notty, but I was under the impression that it is sensitive to racking, especially cold crashing. I'm am suspicious that it stops at 6% on its own, and instead wonder if you did something to get it to stop. what do others think?
 

Freezeblade

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I've had notty go up to 12% on a cider (well, an applewine) before, so I'm guessing either it wasn't really done, or there wasn't enough nutrients and the yeast died. which would mean you wouldn't get any carbonation. If you do get carbonation, that means that the yeast wasn't done, and you'll get some bad bottle bombs in a few months.
 
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tenchu_11

tenchu_11

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I let it sitt in my primary for 1 1/2 weeks. Went from 1.49 to 1.08 and satt there for about a week now in a secondary. I put it into third primary bucket (my bottling bucket) which has a spigot at the bottom. Only thing i did was pour 5 gallons of pasturized safeway apple juice and one packet of nottingham yeast and its been sitting at around 75degrees for 3 weeks now and its 6% alcohol. Maybe I got lucky?
 

CandleWineProject

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If you added yeast nutrient, it might take off again.

Somebody once told me that when things seem stable above 1.008 and you bottle, they tend to suddenly become unstable. When you bottle, ease up on the priming sugar in case it does decide to eat the remaining 1.008

Maybe you did get lucky.
 
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tenchu_11

tenchu_11

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i'll do a test bottle..i usually use 2/3 cups of priming sugar for 5 gallons what is it for a 15oz grolsch bottle 1/8 tsp of dextrose not really sure never primed single bottles.
 

hroth521

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You really don't know what this is going to taste like until you've let it sit for 6 months to a year. I'm just now drinking my first 2 batches of cider that were put up in November 2009. One is still, made from heritage juice from an orchard in Michigan (Tree mendous farms) the other is from organic juice from Whole Paycheck. They get so much better with time. Fruitier, applier, more complex - still very dry but delicious.
 
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You really don't know what this is going to taste like until you've let it sit for 6 months to a year. I'm just now drinking my first 2 batches of cider that were put up in November 2009. One is still, made from heritage juice from an orchard in Michigan (Tree mendous farms) the other is from organic juice from Whole Paycheck. They get so much better with time. Fruitier, applier, more complex - still very dry but delicious.
You'll notice that most of the people enjoying their cider are using pressed apples from orchards, where people using apple juice or concentrate and sugar are complaining about a lack of flavor. Granted you can always produce a poor cider from quality apples or unknowingly select improper cider apples. If it's any consolation to the OP, I went to a wine tasting where commercial apple wine was being sold and the tasters frequently said "this is made from apples?".

Right now I'm enjoying some crap apple wine that I've made, but it's got me pretty buzzed (very high abv). I couldn't get good cider apples, but I didn't expect much to come from this. Everything has its place.
 

RandallT

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Crunch,
Heh, heh, maybe I got a little carried away there, but actually I did used to work in advertising so very intuitive call on your part! This is a lot of fun for me. I have eight growlers of different ciders in secondary right now and a carboy finishing fermenting. My next project though is going to be elderberry wine. I have never made any wine before so it should be a trip. All the best.
 

MrK

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Great thread. I've been experimenting a lot, but only with one type of store bought juice (not a particularly high quality type). I've personally found that the type of yeast you use makes a noticeably large difference in the cider. The sweetness (or apple flavor) or plainness has varied a lot for my batches.

With some of my plain, more alcoholic batches I've actually been spicing them with different teas. For example I put about three teaspoons of my tropical loose leaf tea for one gallon and it added a really cool taste to the cider. I called that batch Floral Cider. Of course there is always cinnamon sticks and cloves to get a cozy, sweet taste as mentioned before.
 

BeastYeast

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Woke nthis one up from the dead!

I just started brewing ciders and I am also using store bought juice.

So far I've tried Lalvin EC-1118, 71B-1122, Nottingham Champagne yeast and Danstar Premier Cuvee`. Still fermenting some so I can't provide any feedback. What yeasts are you most satisfied!IED with and why?

Bottoms up!
 

Guitarman703

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You can back sweeten and flavor with frozen apple concentrate. Stabilize and add 1 thawed can per gal. Gives it a great apple flavor.
 

MattBoivin

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Woke nthis one up from the dead!



I just started brewing ciders and I am also using store bought juice.



So far I've tried Lalvin EC-1118, 71B-1122, Nottingham Champagne yeast and Danstar Premier Cuvee`. Still fermenting some so I can't provide any feedback. What yeasts are you most satisfied!IED with and why?



Bottoms up!

I like lalvin EC-1118, easy to start, can ferment in a large range of temperatures, can handle higher ABV, and it ferments faster/quicker.
I use it in all of my ciders
:)


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

HopSong

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As mentioned in another thread, I have been using fresh ginger root in some of my ciders. I've peeled a small section and sliced paper thin, dropped in vodka for about 30 seconds and transferred the slices to my bottles and pasteurized. Adds a very nice flavor to the cider. I've also changed the flavor a bit by adding a VERY small amount of green apple extract. Adds a touch of bitterness to the otherwise sweet back sweetened cider.
 

MrK

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As mentioned in another thread, I have been using fresh ginger root in some of my ciders. I've peeled a small section and sliced paper thin, dropped in vodka for about 30 seconds and transferred the slices to my bottles and pasteurized. Adds a very nice flavor to the cider. I've also changed the flavor a bit by adding a VERY small amount of green apple extract. Adds a touch of bitterness to the otherwise sweet back sweetened cider.
I'm sorry if i come off as a little intoxicated...

Anyway, it sounds like you have a great attention to all of the cider tastes that exists, bitterness and that cozy zest that I mentioned.

To BeastYeast,
I've tried mainly the yeasts that I've been using for my beers (I always keep a snippet for my cider) and what I've found is that the English white labs yeast works pretty well, as well as the white labs cider yeast. There is a lot of natural flavor there, fruity and sweet in the English yeast. But for me personally, WL Cider yeast is magical. Keep note that i have not even used a dry yeast yeast (except In my bread) before. And I
also use a particular amount of brown and cane sugar I hope you gain some insight form this.

Mr. Terry
Long live homebrewing!
 

HopSong

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Re Yeasts.. My first two batches I used M2 yeast (not M-02) I like the results. If using pasteurized, but unfiltered AJ, it doesn't clear very fast.. and may not clear w/o crashing very well at all.

My most recent attempt is a yeast called Mangrove Jack cider yeast. Was highly recommended by my LHBS. It is also clearing very slowly. It's actually pretty well finished and bubbling about once every 20 minutes. I'm inclined to rack that one into a couple of 1G jugs and some larger swing tops and crash clear.. then figure how I want to deal with flavoring.. if necessary.. or even blending with a prior batch. It's all fun.
 

BeastYeast

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Thanks for the replies! I haven't tried any of the yeast recommendations just yet as I scored a deal on some other types and I'm working through them one batch at a time :D

I have a question regarding Lyle's golden syrup. I came into 28 gallons of frozen pear cider from this falls harvest and I've got to get it in a fermenter this week as it just thawed.

I'm kicking around some ideas for flavoring and I saw Lyle's being briefly discussed in a cider thread. Thoughts on this syrup for back sweetening and flavor? I ordered 3 lbs of it to play with. I'm aiming for toffee pear cider, perhaps complimenting with something added.

Also, I really want the pear flavors to come out in the keg, so I'd like to add some pear cider after 2ndry. Will probably freeze a couple gallons of the cider for back sweetening. Would you recommend pasteurizing the cider before using it for back sweetening? I typically use potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite when racking to keg and then degass it with a whip right before crashing and putting the C02 at it.

Another quick share - Last winter I used Upstate Mike's basic cider recipe and made a delicious strawberry cider (sweet) and a completely dry apple cider with 2 oz of dried citra hops in 2ndry. The strawberry was good, but the citra hopped cider was EXCELLENT! I highly recommend.
 

MindenMan

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I looked through most of this thread, I didn't see the mention of aging your cider to get a solid flavor. Yes, when it's done fermenting it normally doesn't taste like a whole lot, but let some time pass and the apple flavor comes back out. What tastes borderline ick today, 12 months from now is really nice. Adding one 12oz can of frozen apple juice concentrate to one gallon of juice will not only raise your ABV to 7% or so, but it also adds a huge amount of apple flavor to your cider.

EDIT: The past few batches I have been using Red Star Pasteur Yeast. NOT Pasteur Champagne yeast. It has an unbelievable range of fermentation temperatures; from 65-80*F, if I remember correctly, and even getting a 7% ABV hard cider to start with, it still tastes like apples up front, and I don't have anything older than 2 months stashed away to compare to. I wish I would have been using this yeast last year, because some apple jack made with ale yeast I had stashed away for 13 months was so much more than I ever thought it could be. I am now on a quest to make at least two batches of different fruit hard ciders per month getting two 12oz bottles of high proof apple jack per gallon. One for (X) quantity of months from now, and one for maybe a year from bottling, or even longer. Due to the residual sugar I intentionally leave in the apple jack, no light and cool temperatures during bottle conditioning, just may give it the kind of amazing shelf life that some mead's have. No, it is not mead, and it will never be in the same class, but that is okay, maybe it needs to be in a class by itself.

EDIT 2: PM Yooper, she is the go-to gal when it comes to anything that used to apples, and now is is wine or hard cider. Go, YOOPER!
 

nbstl68

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Side question here based on the last comment. Being new, I think I may be missing something.
I'm curious how adding a 12oz can of concentrate can raise the ABV?
Aren't you diluting it basically?
Or am I to assume you mean to then let it continue fermenting out again vs. bottling out or kegging?
I have a 5 gal batch for example, adding 60 oz of concentrate sounds like a whole lot.
In my case, I'm done with fermenting and would like to add flavor back in before bottling\kegging.
Maybe I'm getting the priming vs. backsweetening concepts confused I think but it sounded like this was originally about flavor \ sweetening.
..sorry didn't mean to hijack the thread but this is kind of in-line with the original question.
 

Roadie

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Side question here based on the last comment. Being new, I think I may be missing something.
I'm curious how adding a 12oz can of concentrate can raise the ABV?
Aren't you diluting it basically?
Or am I to assume you mean to then let it continue fermenting out again vs. bottling out or kegging?
I have a 5 gal batch for example, adding 60 oz of concentrate sounds like a whole lot.
In my case, I'm done with fermenting and would like to add flavor back in before bottling\kegging.
Maybe I'm getting the priming vs. backsweetening concepts confused I think but it sounded like this was originally about flavor \ sweetening.
..sorry didn't mean to hijack the thread but this is kind of in-line with the original question.
I believe he means prior to fermentation. The sugars in the FAJC raise the abv and he's saying that the bonus is that he gets more apple flavor in the finished product.

If you are finished fermenting and looking to backsweeten then you can add FAJC to the keg and rack on top of it. I did this a month or so ago and found that SWMBO liked 3 cans to get the sweetness she liked. That keg kicked 2 days ago so she liked it a lot.

If you plan on bottling any from the keg then you will need to sorbate first then do the FAJC thing, otherwise you may end up with bottle bombs as the temps of the bottles warm up and the yeast wakes up and starts eating those sugars.

I don't age ciders for the same reason I don't make wine; I just don't have the patience for it so will probably never find out how good my ciders could get with age unless I end up with a much larger "holding area" than what I have now.
 

MindenMan

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Here is an idea, find a friend or family member that enjoys cider and has some room and put away two of everything, that way you both get to enjoy cider with some age on it. Your above response is exactly what I had meant.
 

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I used 4 cinnamon sticks for four gallons of my cider, it wasn't over powering. The problem is getting them out of the carboy when the bark flattens. :D
 

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I used 4 cinnamon sticks for four gallons of my cider, it wasn't over powering. The problem is getting them out of the carboy when the bark flattens. :D
I use 1/2 sticks, or 1/3 sticks. They come right out of my better bottle :)
 
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