Hard Apple Cider: Safale S-04, Nottingham Ale, and Red Star Red Star Premier Blanc Champagne Yeasts

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rogerx

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Of the three types of yeast I used recently on the same apple cider from a local Brant's Apple Orchard, a gallon or more for each type of yeast:

Safale S-04: Cloudy, end resulting taste was very yeasty, hints of cider.
Nottingham Ale: Cloudy, end result was something like a warm club beer lager, hence yeasty in it's own right from a beer lover's perception.
Red Star Red Star Premier Blanc Champagne: Cleared very well on it's! Almost too clear with almost no hints of apple residing.

I likely should have racked the Safale and Nottingham ale yeasts after 3-4 weeks to remove some of the lees settling out.

The Red Star Champagne yeast cleared on it's own, likely not needing any racking while fermenting.

I primed with a 1/4 (100ml) apple concentrate prior to bottling, otherwise, no sugar used. Below is my log entry, all 3-4 gallons exhibited the same results except for the Nottingham yeast having 7% alcohol, or +1% above all the other types of yeast. (The Nottingham yeast finished just below ~0.998 SG.)

--- Begin Snip ---
1 gallon 2020.11.24 - 2021.02.24

Start
1.052 SG starting

End
~1.0 SG ending
0%
~6% alcohol
100ml apple juice primed
~9 bottles
--- End Snip ----

My thoughts, I really liked the Red Star Champagne yeast results of a really nice cleared hard cider! This stuff is likely far better than the store bought stuff, but there's little to no taste of the apples.
 
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rogerx

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As I'm half way through this (Red Star champagne cider) bottle, think I'll let the bottles sit and age a few months, and then try tasting again.

... yea. Sure I'll let them sit ... all by themselves ... all alone ...
 

Rick Stephens

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I started out with champagne yeasts and found the rocket fuel result a bit too hard for my tastes. I do like S04 and Nottie a lot. Also enjoy Lalvin C. Clarity is not on my list of requirements although it is really nice to show off a perfectly clear cider. The very first thing I came to this site for was the Grahams English Cider recipe on the recipe forum. The results from that, using S04, are uniformly sparkly clear. A beautiful cider. There is a technique to getting clear ciders and if you start with a lot of cloudy pectins in your must then you will also need additions to clarify it.
 
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rogerx

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I agree, clarity is not at the top of my list either, taste is. However, think the cider sat on the lees too much, contributing to a yeasty taste.

From your guys' feedback, I'll try not to judge negatively on the other yeasts! Thanks!

I'll try racking next year's cider, and hold off on additives as a last resort.

Also, I tend to mull/warm the hard cider at times, with the usual spices. So I'll still readily drink the stuff!

And, my number one goal of avoiding sugar added ferments or store bought wines/beers has been met. Tons of sugar == blah or too much alcohol for my tastes. I ferment/drink for preserving/enjoying at a later date. I also pressure can, but apple juice still tends to be too high in sugars. Finally really starting to enjoy drinking juice!
 

Tancred the Brewer

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I have only used Nottingham from this list, and found it had too much yeast flavor for my tastes. I have been using Lav71B with great success now for a number of years. It is clean, takes it down to dry very easily, and can be left on the yeast for a long time. It doesn't always come out crystal clear but it is clear enough for my tastes, but the important thing is the apple flavor remains strong. My last batch was left on the primary for 6 months and does have a bit of yeasty smell on the nose, but no discernable flavor change.
 
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rogerx

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Did some quick research on Lavlin 71B-1122.

Sounds like Red Star Cote Des Blanc might yield similar results, as I can get Red Star yeast a little more readily here.

I'll likely try one of the two next, and think Red Star Cote Des Blanc was going to be my next test batch. Albeit, from my home canned cider or apple concentrate.
 

Meadini

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The best tasting cider I ever made was with S-04. Nowadays I use 71b because I enjoy my cider with a higher abv. I also like my drinks bone dry and it imparts a better “mouthfeel” to me. In a blind tasting, my mom thinks the same cider fermented with s-04 tastes like “beer” and the batch fermented with 71b tastes like “wine”.
 

twd000

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Acid and tannin makes a far bigger difference than yeast strain for cider. Try dosing some malic acid and powdered tannin in a glass and you'll be amazed at how it comes alive on the palette
 

bkboiler

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I've cross compared s04 and notty in cider...
notty was my preference.
have read that comment about champagne yeast before...it's a juggernaut!
 

madscientist451

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Did some quick research on Lavlin 71B-1122.

Sounds like Red Star Cote Des Blanc might yield similar results, as I can get Red Star yeast a little more readily here.

Its not similar (to my tastes anyway) I go with 71-B when I've got somewhat acidic apples. Cider house select is another good yeast.
Nottingham sometimes throws some sulfur flavors when used in cider, so you have to give it some nutrient. SO4 and Nottingham will eventually settle out of your cider if you give it time. I set plastic carboys of cider out on the porch when its about 20F and that helps clear it out.
 

teddyearp

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I started some with Nottingham and after almost three weeks, it still needs to clear. And it's still tossing a bubble here and there. EC-1118 seems to be my power yeast. Started a gallon of that last weekend and it is on course to finish (almost done) and then another week to clear before racking and bottling.
 

Apple_Jacker

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I'd like to know more about the SafCider AB-1. I just picked up a few packets of it. I may have used it once before for a quick 1 gallon cider (see the 5 day sweet country cider thread), but don't remember how it turned out.
 

Orerockon

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I started 4 buckets (our apples, mix of table and cider, washed, freshly pressed) with M02 and the yeast rehydration routine from a mead making forum which I've had excellent luck with before. I went with the M02 because I had just enough left over from another batch (2023 expiration date). I've also been using White Labs WPL775 Dry English Cider with excellent results. This batch for some reason is going VERY slow as compared to almost any other batch I have done. When I've used M02 before it blew out the airlocks sometimes. The SG dropped from 1.060 to 1.058 in 5 days (I add corn sugar to get it to 1.06). It is fermenting, fizzing and foaming, but not enough to bubble out the airlocks. I've stirred it up twice but that doesn't make any difference. I expected it to be ready to add malolactic bacteria by now (80% sugar conversion). I see the Cider House select on Amazon cheaper than M02 and I wonder if it's worth a shot. I'm afraid that if it keeps going this slow it might get contaminated or have nasty off flavors.

Here's my rehydration procedure but I don't think I've tried it with M02 before.

Yeast: 1g per gal up to 1.100 OG (6g), 2g per gal up to 1.130 OG, 3g per gal over 1.130 OG. I used 4.5 gm per bucket, approx. 4.5 gallons.
Go-Ferm: 1.25x grams of yeast used (7.5g)
Water for rehydration: 20x by weight of Go Ferm (150g: 1ml of water = 1g)
Dilute Go-Ferm into measured amount of hot water as stated above (the hotter the better). When solution reaches 104F, sprinkle your dry yeast over the top and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes. (I shake it up in a mason jar). Temper the rehydrated yeast until it is within 10 deg F, of your must.
 

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