Help Troubleshoot My Half-Fermented Cider

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Jan 18, 2020
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South Bend
Ok, so I maybe made my first two batches of cider.

The first was a gallon of Kirkland apple juice with W34/70, fermented for a bit over two weeks at 55 F. It's completely fermented out, OG 1.052, FG 0.998, and tastes it. Plain, simple, but not bad. I'm going to keg and force carbonate it.

The second is where the "maybe" comes in. A gallon of Kirkland plus a pound of muscovado sugar, also ~2 weeks at 55 F with W34/70. I measured an OG of 1.065, but I'm sure it wasn't entirely mixed; math for the sugar content gives 1.098. FG was measured at 1.053 with a refractometer, which a calculator (using the 1.098 number) corrects to 1.027 and ~9% ABV. It's definitely sweet, maybe a little too much, though maybe it'll taste like a normal (sweet) cider when kegged, cold, and carbonated.
  • All my reference points are for beer. W34/70 is almost always done in two weeks, and can definitely handle 9% ABV and above, but are these things different for cider? Do I just need to leave it alone in the fermenter and wait longer?
  • Is there any reason (except that I somewhat prefer dry to sweet cider) not to keg and chill batch #2, even if fermentation isn't done?
  • I have Fermaid O, various dried beer yeast, and sodium metabisulfite. Should I add one or a combination of these?
I found that one to two teaspoons of a yeast nutrient per five gallons of juice was almost a requirement when making hard cider.
If you are indeed at 9% ABV don't add any nutrient. The yeast won't use it and it will be in the cider forever (yuck). Do you have a hydrometer reading?
Too late now, or no? Or nutrient + more yeast?

The yeast almost never goes away, but if you think you need to ferment more sugars out, then it always helps to add more; best to use a yeast starter. And you would to bring the temp up to 70*F to get the ferment going again. Once it gets going, then lower the temp.

But if you're at 1.027 final gravity, you have some real special apples, or the ferment got stuck. I've never seen anyone make a hard cider with that much unfermentable sugars when the original juice was store bought.
I decided to blend them. The combination is still sweet, but manageably so, and it'll be kept cold and kegged, so any further fermentation won't be a problem. Next time I'll use yeast the Fermaid O at the beginning.