Input needed for first cider.

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tipping

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I plan on doing a simple apple cider tommorow and hoping someone with more experience could give some input. I'm shooting for a slightly sweet carbonated apple cider when finished. And Ill be bottling it. Im making it for myself and a friend who has no smell receptors, beers all seem to taste the same to him so he prefers ciders.

My simple ingredients but would welcome any ideas.

5lbs apple juice or cider. Im curious to what difference cider might give the final product.

Why do you guys add apple consentrate? Is used to backsweeten?

2-3lbs brown sugar or dextrose? Would this be enough for a slightly sweet cider? All Im looking for is a hint of sweetness.

Yeast, Im not sure. What would an ale yeast produce? I was thinking Safale 05, Nottingham, a champagne yeast or a Cider yeast. Could someone give the difference these yeast would produce?
 

NicoleBrewer

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I'm no expert but I have made 3 batches of cider over the last couple of years. I've never used apple juice, just fresh cider from a local orchard. I don't know what the difference in taste apple juice Would be but personally I prefer as fresh as possible and apple juice goes trough filtration and other processes. I like to use cinnamon sticks and I add 3 lbs of brown sugar for a 6 gallon batch. I've used Nottingham yeast and champagne yeast. The champagne yeast batch came out fairly dry and the Nottingham left a lot of sweetness. So maybe a good middle ground would be to use less sugar and the Nottingham yeast
 
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tipping

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Thanks for the reply.
What if I aim for 2-2.5lbs of brown sugar for a 5 gallon batch and Nottingham yeast? Would that potentially get me cider that is slightly sweet and not to dry? Do you know of any other yeast that might give me this result?
 

Jacob_Marley

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Either apple juice or cider can produce a decent product. There are differences but I won’t go into it here.

I would say absolutely DO use frozen concentrated apple juice to backsweeten to taste after the cider is done fermenting.
Importantly: be prepared though to then store the cider immediately and permanently in the refrigerator after you sweeten it up ... otherwise you’ll have renewed fermentation ... which could lead to cider hand grenades if it is bottled and left at room temperature.
(though do see my suggestion below about how to get some carbonation in the cider)

As far as sweetness ... unless you are willing to do the homework to figure out the interplay between sugar, yeast, and nutrients and how they contribute to “residual sweetness”; I’d suggest just making it easy on yourself and to just ferment out all the sugar (to dry) ... and then as mentioned, backsweeten with frozen apple juice concentrate, to taste, and then refrigerate permanently as noted.

Your measure of 5gal apple juice with 2 lbs of added sugar should be fine. The apple juice alone would ferment out to approx. 5.4% ... and with the 2 lbs of sugar added to your initial 5 gallons; to approximately 7.5% ... a good number for cider.

Carbonating properly is not a simple thing and is beyond the scope of what I am writing here. So are the other complexities of making “proper”, sweet, carbonated cider in general. If you want to produce “properly” carbonated cider there's more reading to do ... read up on “bottle conditioning”. Lots of info can be found on HBT about carbonating cider (hint: use Google to search the HBT forum).

That said ... a sort of hack way to carbonate and get bubbles into the bottle would be as follows ...
Do the initial fermentation at *no* warmer than 60* to 65* F room temperature(or at least no higher than the low 70*'s if possible) and then when the airlock has almost stopped bubbling (some days later) - say, just a couple bubbles every couple minutes, rack (with a tube) the cider into bottles add a bit of room-temperature FCAJ - frozen concentrated apple juice to sweeten to taste ... put the caps on ... wait 40 hours at regular (75* to 80*'ish) room temperature (but no more than 40 hours!) and put immediately into the fridge on the bottom shelf. This will capture some of the bubbles from the initial fermentation, put a bit more carbonation in ... and then arrest the process by being put in the icebox. The cider may be a bit cloudy but you will have a somewhat carbonated cider.
Note that this is not a perfect method and there are better ways of doing it, but that will take reading up on how to judge the pressurization of cider in bottles as it goes through a “secondary fermentation”, “bottle conditioning” or “carbonating”, pasteurizing etc ... so this is an imperfect sort of shortcut that will at least let you have some bubbles.

As far as yeast ... generally not a simple matter. Google up some yeast lists and see what various yeasts are known for.
More homework.
That said ... as far as a decent point-blanc recommendation ... just go get a packet of EC-1118 which is a wine yeast. It is fairly foolproof and has a whole list of traits which should improve your chances of success involving it’s speed of ferment, tolerance of a broad range of temperatures, sugar, alcohol ... low nutrient requirements and low H2S producer, and produces its own SO2 which will help protect it from bacteria, wild yeasts and oxidization. Just go get a packet of EC-1118.

Good cider is not all that simple to make - particularly because people are often thinking about commercial ciders when they do it (Woodchuck, Woodpecker etc) ... and semi-sweet carbonated cider even less so.
Grape wine is simple to make ... not cider.

That said, it is still very do-able ... it’s just there are no shortcuts to doing the homework to gain a basic understanding of the mechanics. The good news though is, once you get the basic knowledge, it becomes a heck of a lot more straightforward and easy to do. So I suggest; read, read and read some more.

For now though, what is outlined above should work fine and should provide a good product.
 
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tipping

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Great insight and thanks for replying. Im not sure how to fit five gallons of cider in my fridge, lol. But Ill take your advice and go with it.
 

daft

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I fail to see the reason for all this complication, and I have gone thru it myself trying to replicate Normandy Ciders. Now that is probably a lighter, lower alcohol product than is being targeted above... but it allows an ultra simple alternative that I devised (and posted here as cranberry cider).

Just buy half gallon plastic jugs of apple juice, which of course will be pre-pasteurized. Open it up and chuck a tablespoon of bread yeast in it and recap, squeezing out most of the air. Depending on warmth, the bottle will be swollen in a few hours and available in high carbonated, high sweetness, low alcohol form.

For less sweetness and more booziness, put the firm bottle in the fridge for overnight or more. If the bottle gets too rock hard, open and drink a bit. Try to crunch all the air out if you can, or else it will introduce off taste action.

That's it; simple and super delicious! Much room for experimentation. Cranapple is more interesting. You will see there is no need for fancy yeasts.
 

Jacob_Marley

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I fail to see the reason for all this complication, and I have gone thru it myself trying to replicate Normandy Ciders. Now that is probably a lighter, lower alcohol product than is being targeted above... but it allows an ultra simple alternative that I devised (and posted here as cranberry cider).

Just buy half gallon plastic jugs of apple juice, which of course will be pre-pasteurized. Open it up and chuck a tablespoon of bread yeast in it and recap, squeezing out most of the air. Depending on warmth, the bottle will be swollen in a few hours and available in high carbonated, high sweetness, low alcohol form.

For less sweetness and more booziness, put the firm bottle in the fridge for overnight or more. If the bottle gets too rock hard, open and drink a bit. Try to crunch all the air out if you can, or else it will introduce off taste action.

That's it; simple and super delicious! Much room for experimentation. Cranapple is more interesting. You will see there is no need for fancy yeasts.
If you “fail to see the reason for all this complication” (as you put it) then you obviously don't understand why the ingredients or methods are used ... or you wouldn’t have said it.
Each of my recommendations above is for a specific reason. If you *really* don’t understand the “why’s” ... unfortunately I don’t have the time to teach you.

The original poster specifically asked about cider ... which by most drinkers ... and certainly by cider producers, is an end product with specific qualities ... it is not just apple juice in the process of being fermented. I suppose you can call anything you like “cider” ... it’s a free country, right? ... but while you can bury a vat of apples under a pile of cowsh*t and after it ferments, strain it off and drink it ... that doesn’t make it cider. Hard cider is a bit more specific than that.

And the comment that there “is no need for fancy yeasts” ... really? ... Really?? Don’t know much about yeast, huh?

The method you suggest is fine as a beverage if that is the product you are after ... and it is a specific beverage.
Germans call it “federweisser” ... and it is fairly popular stuff in Germany and in Austria ... I like it, and it was the first alcoholic beverage I had as a little kid in the presence of my mom’s family. My mom’s side is German right off the boat and some of my Great Uncles made and drank federweisser in the late summer and fall (particularly while operating their smokehouse) ... they made both grape and apple ... on the way to being wine. In fact the old folks say it’s a sort of health drink.
“Health drink” or not, federweisser early in the ferment can definitely cause stomach upset and possible “digestive issues” the next morning ... if you’ve got an 8am business meeting you may want to reconsider drinking lots of the stuff the night before.

Also, as you described it, a ferment which uses bread yeast (which is a blend of strains) can have some distinct off-flavors. In JAO (mead which uses bread yeast) the bread yeast’s low alcohol tolerance is mostly why it is used (that and Joe Mattioli wanted it to be “ancient”) ... and the spices in the mead cover any off flavors or faults in the mead from the yeast.
There are NOT a lot of other good reasons to be using bread yeast in wine, beer or cider.
Lots of things contribute to the taste of cider ... just as they do with beer. Yeasts, fermentation specifics like temperature, aging, other ingredient additions and techniques ... lots of things done for very specific reasons.

The original poster is trying to make cider ... and also trying to learn how to make cider, making fermented apple juice as you suggested does nothing to help her really understand how cider (or wine or beer for that matter) is made and what goes on. Sure, she could make fermented apple juice like you say ... but “hooch” ain’t going to help her to learn the process ... techniques which are applicable in wine, beer and cider ... and the next time she makes it she’ll not have learned much about the real process and will be nearly right back at square one.
But ... like my grandfather used to say, “there’s never time to do it right the first time but there’s always time to go back and do it again.” ... right?
 

Descender

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well said. As a relatively noob of sorts, attention to detail, study,(Oxford comma!) and experimentation have lead to increasingly better results. That said, I'm working on a good pruno recipe as we speak...
 
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