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Malic bite in first cider from apples

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srqbrew

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Hi all,
I pressed my first cider in the fall. The apples were a mix (~745/25) of eating apples and crab apples. The varieties are unknown, as these were picked from strangers' yards around the city (after asking of course!). The fruit was scratted and pressed, heated to 130 for 30 min, cooled to 60F and pitched with S-04.

The fruit has been on its lees/yeast since then. Its in a glass carboy. I'd like to make adjustments and bottle it.

The cider tastes almost like 'apple la croix' at this point. It's quite bland. The major flavor is a malic bite, and there is a noticeable amount of tannin and mouthfeel.

My impression is that the tannins will round out with age and contribute to mouthfeel. Is this right?

Ideally I'd love to get more apple flavor from the cider. Would backsweetining increase the perceived fruit flavor, or would I need to add apple concentrate to achieve this?

Also, since the major flavor is malic acid, I assume I wont want to add acid blend, and I can skip picking that up at the store. Is this good intuition, or might I want even more acid?

I'm sure the answer to most of this make samples adjust, but I wanted some advice on what directions seem the most likely to help.
 
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srqbrew

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P.s. I am excited to read the Jocolier book when the library reopens! Fingers crossed I can make some serious improvements to next year's batch!
 

gregbathurst

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I always put my cider through MLF, it gets rid of the malic bite and I believe it improves the flavour, though some disagree. most English and French cider goes through MLF, but you need fairly warm temperatures, 18C or above. While MLF is in progress the flavour gets temporarily worse so you have to wait a couple of months for the fruit flavours to return. It is possible at this time of year that your cider is currently going through wild MLF and that is why the fruit flavours seem lacking, so it may just be a matter of waiting. You can try inoculating with cultured MLF.
 

madscientist451

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Hats off to you for scrounging up the apples that would have gone to waste and making something out of them.
Using eating apples for fermented cider usually results in a somewhat acidic drink.
Heating the juice to 130F for 30 minutes is an unusual step, you might have changed the flavor profile somewhat by doing that.
Frozen apple juice concentrate will provide some apple flavor and sweetness without reducing your ABV too much.
If you add the FAJC and then want to bottle the whole batch, you'll have stabilize before bottling.
If you have kegs, mix up batch of the cider and FAJC to taste and keep it cold while you're drinking it. The yeast may kick off again in the keg, but if you drink it all in a month or two, its not going to be a problem.
Another method I use is to sulfite the cider, rack to 1/2 gallon jugs, then when I want to drink some, I pour the cider into 1.5 liter wine bottles and add about 175ml FAJC per bottle and keep it in the refrigerator.
I make lots of experimental cider batches and when they come out too tart, sometimes I'll blend in the glass with a lager or light ale.
Many commercial ciders are too sweet for my taste, but if I blend 1/3 to 1/2 angry orchard with a homemade tart cider it comes out about right.
Don't give up on your scrounged apple cider, but next season, perhaps find a local orchard that sells seconds and use yellow delicious/jonathan/jonagold, or something similar, as a base (50%) and then add the scrounged apples. You can add sulfite to juice instead of heating it.
 
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srqbrew

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Thanks for the advice all. I think I will adjust the blend next year, plan to do MLF and use metabisulfite instead of heat pasteurizing. I am confident this cider has not undergone MLF (unless it is occurring now), and I do wonder if heating had a detrimental effect on volatile flavor compounds, or if the juice itself wasn't simply that interesting sans sugar.
 
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srqbrew

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For this batch, I will likely prime with an appropriate amount of apple juice concentrate and then simply bottle. I'd like to hand it out to some of the folks who helped make it, so kegging is less preferred
 
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