My First Cider, So far, so ...yum

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Well-Known Member
Mar 29, 2005
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Milwaukee, WI
Ok, I moved my first Cider from primary to secondary last night.. (had to test/taste some)


Ok, I was going for a "Sweater" Cider so I went with an Ale Yeast (Coopers, dry)
I bought 5 gallons of pasteurized apple cider/Juice (sorry purists...if I had fresh stuff I would have used it) I did make sure it was 100% juice though, and had NO preservatives.
I cleaned and Sanitized a 6.5 gal Carboy
Poured 5.75 gallons of the juice in it.
I disolved a cup (just a little) Brown Sugar
I disoved 5 tsp of Yeast nutrient in the remaining Juice (by boiling..blah blah)
then poured it in with the other juice..

Then I Mixed it around reallllll good (shoock the hell outta it!!)
O.G =1.050
Then tossed in the Yeast. and Shoooock the hell outta it again)

popped on the airlock, and wham...

12 hours later, it was bubbly and stinky!

So, it sat in the primary for about 6 days, just transfered it last night, wanted to taste it... Not a ton of apple flavor but not tooooo shabby, and still a *bit* yeasty but it has some time... and I had to do another gravity reading (i know not necessary, just curious) and before the secondary it is now 1.002... SOOO, its got some alcyyyy in it..
Yum, and It will be the perfect CHILLLLLLEDD beverage for the coming warm days!!!

When you have a carboy laying around and don't feel like boiling a bunch of stuff.... make some cider... so far soooo good!
If you want more apple taste, throw a couple of cans of apple juice concentrate in with your juice.

I'm using 1 standard can of frozen apple juice per gallon and it's quite nice! Get's that apple flavour back. 2 cans per gallon doesn't work for some reason, or at least hasn't proven beneficial in my attempts.

I was also curious about your use of Coopers yeast as opposed to a champagne yeast. I asked my local brewmeister about this ( a big cider brewer as well as beer ) and he reckons
that Ale yeast could produce a dry beverage just as much as the champagne yeast...I too didn't want my cider turning out to be super dry ALL the time and asked him about this.

You would have to essentially stop the brewing process chemically in order to prevent further dryness...or do what I do and add the apple concentrate.

Well done on your last batch!!
As far as the Juice concentrate... i will try that on the next one.. thanks!

As for the coopers ale, I went with it quite simply because the owner of my HBS said that the ale yeast wouldn't tear through it "as much" as a champagne yeast would, thus leaving it a tad sweeter...??? (i don't know if this is true or not)

we will see how it turns out i guess. I will be bottling the cider at the end of this week OR early next..
I just drank the last remaining bottle of my first batch of cider last night. :(
I too used an ale yeast, thinking that it would not ferment down as far and leave some nice sweetness behind - but I know now that this is NOT the case. Mine went down to .996, just as far as any other yeast would take it. So it came out very dry and tart. Since then I have learned that you can take gravity readings and taste tests and stop the fermentation when you choose (usually no lower than 1.010) to retain some sweetness by adding sulfites. You would have to look into this further as that is all I have read. In my case, I used an artificial sweetner (Splenda) to sweeten half of my batch at bottling and left the rest to age on it's own. The sweetened half was very good at first, but did not age as well as the unsweetened half, which really peaked at 3 or 4 months and was damn good! So if I were you, I would just let it ferment out all the way and see how you like it at bottling. If you then want to sweeten it, go for it, then you know that next time you can try stopping the fermentaion when you want it to. Good luck. Also - ale yeast is sluggish in cider, mine took about 1.5 months to ferment all the way to terminal DONT want to bottle it before it is done or you could get exploding bottles!
I had heard that ale yeast can be sluggish in cider, that's why I used the yeast nutrient... I am hoping that would speed it up a little? am I wrong in that assumption?

Anywho, all good ideas, thanks a bunch.
Well - I'm not certain but I have an idea. I made a big healthy starter for my yeast, this usually means rapid 3-4 day fermentation in a beer, but it STILL took a long time on the cider. Something about the yeast processing the fruit sugars in "must" simply taking more time that than the simple sugars produced in wort...complicated chemistry isn't my thing. :D So I don't *think* that the fact that you used nutrient will help you out much as far as a fast fermentation goes. I think about how essentially you are making apple wine - wine needs time to condition, mellow, and do its thing - just the way it is. Really though, you can't go wrong leaving it in secondary for a while till it finishes up - mine was rank and not good until 2 months in bottle.
well so far the activity has stopped, I get like 1 bubble every 5+ minutes...

ONce I have some time, and some bottles ??? I guess it is time to prime...

The fermentation in primary only lasted (vigorously) for about 4 days, and died off pretty quick.... the OG was 1.050 and the SG when I transfered was 1.002.... My guess is that it has dropped below 1.000 now. I will taste it when I start bottling...

Hurray for BEER, umm, and CIDER TOO!! :)
What exactly are the preservitives that you want to look for in apple juice?

Thinking about making my first and i'm not sure what to exactly look for on the labels.
Well - just like in beer, the quality of the final product depends on the quality of what you use to make it. For the most authentic hard cider, I would recommend using local (if you can find it) fresh squeezed apple cider. I would not recommend anything with artificial flavor, color, preservatives or other gunk. Pastuerized is fine though. Search around a bit and it should be easy to find. Good luck.
Yes - as I said, pastuerized is fine, but preservatives are what you want to avoid - they can be funky compounds that will mess with your fermentation and leave weird byproducts in your finished cider. Cheers!
Another way to stop the fermentation, short of the full run, is to use Camden tablets. This will stop the action on the yeast. This should leave behind more apple flavor. The down side, in the eyes of some, will be a lesser alcohol content.


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