Newell's Groundhog Cider (woodchuck amber clone)

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newell456

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(there is a dead giveaway to which one is mine. The other is Woodchuck)


(This recipe is for kegs. If you aren't using a keg, I added some ideas for making a still cider, because
whenever someone posts a recipe just for kegs, people without kegs want to know what they can do, but
I can't vouch for how this would turn out if not carbed.)

ABV- 7.2% (Woodchuck Amber is 5%)

Ingredients for Primary Fermentation:
4.5 gallons of apple juice containing no preservatives other than ascorbic acid (vitamin C).
(I made mine from concentrate because that was what was on sale at the time.)
Corn sugar or apple juice concentrate (enough to boost OG to desired ABV)
2.5 teaspoons yeast nutrient (optional)
1 tbsp pectic enzyme (optional)
Chamagne Yeast (I used red star)

Ingredients to back sweeten.
2.5 teaspoons of potassiam sorbate (don't add this until after fermentation is over)
7 cans of apple juice concentrate (I used old orchard in one batch and Meijer brand in the
second batch).

Fully aerate the apple juice. If using bottled cider, you can aerate by pouring a litte from each bottle
into the fermenter, then shake each bottle. I used concentrate, so once I had it all mixed with water,
I poured it from one pail to another until it was fully aerated.Take hydrometer reading and add enough
sugar or apple-juice concentrate to boost the OG to the ABV that you want. (I used corn sugar to get
my OG to 1.055. I mostly kept good notes but neglected to write down how much sugar I used, so
you'll need a hydrometer).Add the yeast nutriet and pectic enzyme if using it. (This recipe is mostly
built from EdWort's Apfelwien, but I see that Jack Keller uses both in these quantities when making
wine from apple-juice, so I threw it in). Transfer to carboy, pitch yeast, and attach airlock. I made this
ahead of time for my brother's wedding, so I let it go for 2 months, but it could be ready in 30 days.
(I know EdWorts Apfelwein does well in 30 days with montrachet yeast.) I did not use a secondary.

For kegging:
After primary fermentation has ceased (this finished at. 1.0 for me).
rack the cider into a standard 6.5 gallon ale pale, then add apple juice concentrate until you reach a
gravity of 1.029, (Note: this is the gravity of a flat woodchuck.)

Add you potassium sorbate, then keg and carbonate to your desired carbonation level. I prefer the
shake-the-hell-out-of-it method of force carbonation because I color outside the lines and run with
scissors, but a lot of people here will tell you that this method will kill Lassie or something (I wasn't
really listening because it works for me IMHO.)

Once you know how much concentrate you are going to need (sugar level could vary by brand), you
can just add all of this to the keg next time, then purge the o2 and shake to mix all the goodies, then
carbonate. You can get
some renewed fermentation, but this is minimal and not a big concern when kegging IMHO.

For a still cider:
You will need to add the cider, concentrate, and potassiam sorbate to a bucket, but add the concentrate
a little at a time because the amount of sugar used for cider that will be carbed will be cloyingly sweet
in a still cider. Then transfer this all into a carboy, afix an airlock and wait 3 days with no signs of renewed
fermentation before bottling, or you could be making bottle bombs (Note: I have never used the pottasiam
sorbate to make a still wine or cider, so tips from those familiar with this method would be helpful for those
that want to do try this. 3 days may be overkill. I don't know.)

Results: IMHO I came pretty close. I was not concerned with color,
but when I did a side by side taste test, I noticed the color between mine and woodchuck was spot on,
so I think they use some sort of concentrate to backsweeten, although I assume it has more tart apples
than mine did. WC has a slight tartness that mine was missing, reminiscent of granny smith. Mine also
has some esthers not detecteble in the WC, but I preferred these esthers to WC. Several people told me
that they detected a hint of apricots. I don't know when I last had an apricot, so I can't say, but there were
nice hints of other fruits. I took 2 cornies of this to my brother's wedding and it was a big hit. A few people
told me that they drank woodchuck frequently but preferred mine to woodchuck, but mine was on tap, so it's
not a fair comarison to bottled cider. It wasn't for everyone, but the people that liked it could not get enough.
Women really liked it, and I converted a few from the bud-light only crowd with small samples of it. I really
could have brout 2 more cornies because we went through the first keg in about an hour and a half, but the last
one lasted only 1/2 once the word spread (and this was when the drinking had started to slow because it was
heaviest for the first hour. (I tended the bar). It's really good with a dash of cinnamon in the cup just before
he pour. If you have never brewed for a big event, it's very rewarding, but you have to make crowd pleasers as
opposed to the stuff that we drink, because you'd be lucky if 5% or people like an IPA, at least in the boonies
where I was. I won't try to make this more like woodchuck because I prefer it with more character. I'm drinking
the last of the woodchuck now from when I bought a 6 pack to take a hydrometer reading of a flat sample, and
the bottle doesn't taste right to me. But I'm also biased in favor of anything from my basement.

NOTES: This will seem cloying until it is carbed. Carbonating has a strange
effect on sweetness perception, so what seems good flat will not be sweet enough when it's carbed and will have
a lot of carbonic bite IMHO. If you want to make this less sweet and carbonate it, do a test batch of 1/2 in 3
liter bottle and a carbonator cap until you find the level that you like.Make sure to force out all the air before
adding 02 or you'll oxygenate this while carbing it. Then do the math based on what you added to 1/2 gallon
to figure out how much to add to the main batch. (For example, if you made a five gallon batch so you had a 1/2
gallon test batch, you would take the amount of concentrate you added to 1/2 gallon and multiply that by nine.)

I used this same test batch method to decide on the recipe I used. I individually backsweeetned 4 test batches
of 1/2 gallon each before deciding on my method, anI I tried to backsweeten with dextrose, concentrate, and
combination of the two. If you want that apple-sweetness that WC has, then you gotta use concentrate. For
those wanting to bottle and carbonate and use an unfermentable sugar like splenda or dextrose, it won't have
that fresh apple taste, but give it a try and let us know.

There is some debate about whether comments "belong" in the recipe section. If that hasn't been resolved by
Admin, then I welcome your questions and comments here.
 

drunkatuw

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7-7.5 cans of apple juice concentrate seems like a ton to back sweeten. I did Edwort's apfelwein and it finished right around 1.000 FG, and after adding potassium sorbate to kill the yeast, I back sweetened with 2 cans of concentrate and had a gravity of around 1.014. I did some google searching and I found that apple juice concentrate is around 1.350 SG. If I put this into beersmith, this is what I get:

original volume: 5 gal
dilute with .19 gal (two 12 oz cans of concentrate).
specific gravity of wort: 1.350
FG: 1.013.

If you use 7 cans of concentrate into 4.5 gal of juice that fermented to 1.000, beersmith puts the SG at 1.050! That's some super sweet cider, although maybe I'm misunderstanding your procedure somewhere.
 
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newell456

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7-7.5 cans of apple juice concentrate seems like a ton to back sweeten. I did Edwort's apfelwein and it finished right around 1.000 FG, and after adding potassium sorbate to kill the yeast, I back sweetened with 2 cans of concentrate and had a gravity of around 1.014. I did some google searching and I found that apple juice concentrate is around 1.350 SG. If I put this into beersmith, this is what I get:

original volume: 5 gal
dilute with .19 gal (two 12 oz cans of concentrate).
specific gravity of wort: 1.350
FG: 1.013.

If you use 7 cans of concentrate into 4.5 gal of juice that fermented to 1.000, beersmith puts the SG at 1.050! That's some super sweet cider, although maybe I'm misunderstanding your procedure somewhere.
EDIT
I made a quick respsonse last night saying that WC was 1.055 flat, but I looked at my notes and it's 1.029 flat (which is also what I said in the recipe posted above. It was late, and I confused my OG for the batch with the the gravity of WC when I made the post. It should not come out as 1.050 as beer smith had it,. I have a gallon of this in a fermenter down stairs, so I'll double check that the right ratio will bring that to 1.029. And post my results again. I think the gravity you have for a 12 oz can of concentrate is much higher than what I was using. Just to make the juice to ferment, I added 12 cans of concentrate (each can makes 3 quarts) and then had to add corn sugar to hit 1.055. Thus, if I were to hit 1.050 like you had calculated, I would have to add about 12 cans to finished cider because it finished at 1.0. Sorry for any confusion.
 

AJC16

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I have a question, lets say I want to end up with 4.5 gallons of cider, if I have to lose a half of gallon I do not care (I plan on carbing with my tap a draft). If the starting gravity of the cider I get is 1.050 and it ferments down to 1.000, how many gallons of cider should I start with and how much will I need to bring it up to 1.029 after fermentation to back sweeten?
 

kkocher13

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I have a packet of montrachet yeast. Do you think that would substitute for the champange yeast. Or would it effect the flavor?
 
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newell456

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I have a packet of montrachet yeast. Do you think that would substitute for the champange yeast. Or would it effect the flavor?
It will effect the flavor, but it will be fine. I went with champagne yeast just because that's what woodchuck uses.
 
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newell456

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I have a question, lets say I want to end up with 4.5 gallons of cider, if I have to lose a half of gallon I do not care (I plan on carbing with my tap a draft). If the starting gravity of the cider I get is 1.050 and it ferments down to 1.000, how many gallons of cider should I start with and how much will I need to bring it up to 1.029 after fermentation to back sweeten?
I wouldn't over think the math on this. This is a backsweetened take-off from edwort's apfelwein (sp). Make more than you need, and drink the rest, whether it's backsweetened or carbed or neither, it's still good.
 

matthewbasta

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Started this yesterday. 4.5 gallons of apple juice and 36oz. of frozen concentrate resulted in a 1058-1059. I'll post again when I get a final gravity.

-----------------------------------------
Final results:

Original Gravity = 1.059
Final Gravity = 1.008
ABV = 6.7% (Beersmith's Results)
Fermentation Time = 19 days

After adding potassium sorbate, I added 48 oz. of frozen concentrate.

Final final gravity = 1.029

I have it pressurized to 25# now for forced carbonation.
 
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newell456

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Started this yesterday. 4.5 gallons of apple juice and 36oz. of frozen concentrate resulted in a 1058-1059. I'll post again when I get a final gravity.

-----------------------------------------
Final results:

Original Gravity = 1.059
Final Gravity = 1.008
ABV = 6.7% (Beersmith's Results)
Fermentation Time = 19 days

After adding potassium sorbate, I added 48 oz. of frozen concentrate.

Final final gravity = 1.029

I have it pressurized to 25# now for forced carbonation.
How did this turn out?
 

matthewbasta

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Tastes almost exactly like Woodchuck Amber except the ABV is a bit higher. The first week or so it was a little more cloudy than Woodchuck, but it has settled out now. I used all Wal-Mart brand ingredients (Great Value stuff) and it only cost me about $17 for 5 gallons.

The fermentation is pretty intense the first couple of days, then it settles down. But it does take well over 2 weeks for full fermentation.
 
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newell456

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Tastes almost exactly like Woodchuck Amber except the ABV is a bit higher. The first week or so it was a little more cloudy than Woodchuck, but it has settled out now. I used all Wal-Mart brand ingredients (Great Value stuff) and it only cost me about $17 for 5 gallons.

The fermentation is pretty intense the first couple of days, then it settles down. But it does take well over 2 weeks for full fermentation.
Good to know. I let mine go for over a month, but it sounds like I didn't need to. It's quite interesting with a dash of cinnamon or even nutmeg in the glass before you pour.
 

rorichmond

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I made this recipe a few weeks back. My OG and FG were the same as matthewbasta's. It finished fermenting in about 9 or 10 days. After 16 days, I put the whole carboy in the fridge, and added some isinglass a day later. I am hoping it clears up better than is has - still quite cloudy. It seems as though it's gonna be pretty tasty though. Should be ready to drink in another week or so.
 

rorichmond

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Good to know. I let mine go for over a month, but it sounds like I didn't need to. It's quite interesting with a dash of cinnamon or even nutmeg in the glass before you pour.
I wonder what it would be like with cinnamon sticks floating around in the keg... may try that with batch #2.
 

j-rad

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Question on this recipe:

If I want to make this and bottle carb it, can I do the following?

After primary fermentation, rack to bottling bucket with the concentrate and bottle. Wait until desired carbonation, and heat pasteurize to kill the yeast (instead of the potassium sorbate step)?

Will it come out generally the same? Never done this before, so not sure if this is a dumb question or not.
 

kourtjestr

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I have never really looked into doing this before, but I am now very interested... Especially in a response to the previous comment, as I haven't put down the $$ for a kegging system yet.. I just don't see why it wouldn't be bottle carbonated like any beer. We don't kill the yeast in an ale, why should it be required in this? (I'm definitely new to this kind of brewing...)
 
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newell456

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I have never really looked into doing this before, but I am now very interested... Especially in a response to the previous comment, as I haven't put down the $$ for a kegging system yet.. I just don't see why it wouldn't be bottle carbonated like any beer. We don't kill the yeast in an ale, why should it be required in this? (I'm definitely new to this kind of brewing...)
You could bottle carb. But you can't bottle carb and back sweeten unless you use a non-fermentable sugar like lactose. Yeast are lactose intolerant, in a manner of speaking. If you don't kill the yeast and you back sweeten with apple juice concentrate or anything with fermentable sugar to the amount in the recipe, the gases from fermentation will burst the bottles. You will make bottle bombs. So your options are to (1) kill the yeast and bottle a flat, backsweetened cider, (2) bottle a dry (non-sweetened) but carbonated cider, or (3) bottle a carbonated cider, backsweetened with lactose.

I have have never used lactose, so I don't know anything about it.
 

CidahMastah

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I have to bump this recipe simply because it makes short work of "ok" cider. Usually I blend in the ok cider with better cider and get a pretty darn good cider. Well this time I decided to try this out. Basically I made cider from fresh apples with pasteur champagne - it was ok, but nothing special. I sugared it up ending with 9.6% alc. Here is what I then did.

Dry cider fixer:
3 month aged dry cider - 3.5 gallons
6 cans of apple juice concentrate
5 rounded 1/4 tsp of sorbate
water to top off to 5 gallons
Cane sugar to bring the mix up to 1.029 (6 cans of AJ didn't do it, and I was barely off the mark so I used cane sugar)

I tasted the mix (sweet) but tasty, like woodchucky. I threw it in to carbonate and will post the final tasting, but it is a no brainer. This one is gonna be good.

I used 3.5 gallons of the cider with water and AJ (1.5 gallons) to bring my Alc percentage down to 6.8 ish. Also, I will be able to do this again with the secon half of the carboy (it was a 6.5 filled to the top)

Very cool discovery - my wife loves wood chuck, not sure why I didn't think to try something like this earlier.

Thanks for the idea!!!

One other aspect I really like about this recipe is that if you have aged cider for 6 months, the yeast is likely toast. So you can force carb and bottle with relative confidence (no restart on the fermentation)! I might try that with some older "ok" cider.

And very lastly - you can always use fresh cider instead of applejuice to sweeten. Freeze your cider, partially thaw and pour off concentrated sugar liquid and leave unthawed ice portion out. You would have to address the yeast issue though.
 

CidahMastah

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Wanted to post a variation I tried. I found that using dry cider then adding the AJ concentrate left the cider without a tang, so I figured, why stop there what the heck. I added malic acid - worked great, I brought it up to a granny smith type tang and I now I truly love it. This is one of those drinks that would be a crowd pleaser at a party, easy to drink, medium alcohol, tasty. Mine came out at about 6.0% ish I think.

So then I thought, the lady loved this raspberry cider we bought at a local orchard... Last night we made this together and it came out very good. Would buy this stuff routinely good. Not too sweet, rasp notes with a zing.

Cider fixer two (Rasperry Cider):

3.5 ish gallons Dry cider
24oz frozen (or fresh if you have them) no sugar added raspberry's (thawed)
Sorbate
malic acid
7 cans apple juice concentrate
water to top off to 5 gallons

1. Add sorbate to bucket (f slightly rounded 1/4 tsps)
2. Add all the cider to a bucket.
3. Take whole raspberries and put them in a muslin and with rubber gloves smush the berries and tea bag style steeped them in the cider bucket. I kept agitating them, smushing them with a spoon to get the flavor out.
4. Add concentrated AJ to mixture checking Gravity, once you have about 6 cans in add water to 5 gallons ish and mix well take a gravity reading (brought mine to 1.028 since that is what 7 AJ cans got me)
6. Remove raspberries.
7. Add malic acid to tast (go slow and stir and wait, stir and taste - malic acid can sneak up on you)
8. Strain liquid if needed
9. Keg

For me, it then went into the keg, otherwise you would have to make this still since sorbate is added, and way to much sugar to not cause a bottle bomb. It has great raspberry notes and tasted really good, with good zing to it.

This is just a take off on the newell clone, but I thought it was worth commenting on because the lady was very excited when we were done.

Enjoy

Update: 1/18/11
The flavors have sort of balanced out a lot more over the past few days, so I am interested to see if they will change much more, I assume less. The one thing I would comment on is sugar. For me, I think these are too sweet. While the values are still 1.029 for regular and 1.028 for the raspberry, I could never see myself sitting down and drinking them all night. One here and there, that is perfectly fine. That said, the ladies may think the sweetness is perfect, but I do prefer less sweet and these seemed to get a little sweeter tasting from the initial mixing..., just sayin'.

Future plans:I think when I dig into another carboy, I am going to shoot for 1.015 instead, and see what that yields for flavor and dryness. Also, I am going to make the tarter "man hooch" a stouter ABV%, about 8-9. I brought the other ciders down to about 6.3-6.5%
 

Powers

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nice touch with the fresh raspberries. i still need to taste mine, but i might wait until the ~ 2 month racking time comes around in mid-february to avoid more oxygen introduction than necessary during aging...
 

CidahMastah

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nice touch with the fresh raspberries. i still need to taste mine, but i might wait until the ~ 2 month racking time comes around in mid-february to avoid more oxygen introduction than necessary during aging...
Thanks - I can't wait to see how yours turns out as well. Variety is the spice of life.

See update above
 

bbognerks

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Thanks for this. I brewed up a batch of EdWort's and then followed your lead to backsweeten. Man my wife must have a good sense of sweetness. I sweetend up to 1.025 and she said it still wasn't just quite as sweet as WC Amber. Who would have thought she could tell the difference in 4 pts. Oh well, I wanted it slightly less sweet for others to enjoy. Thanks for the guide, worked a treat and this turned out awesome.
 

FireRescueFL

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I just "brewed" this one and using WalMart's Great Value apple juice, I had to add 3.5 cups of dextrose to hit 1.055 OG. I actually got 1.056 but that's close enough for me. Looking forward to this one since I haven't had a hard cider in over a year.

---Chris
 

Crimsonwine

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Anyone try a heffenwiesen yeast or other ale yeast to retain some sweetness....

I prefer ciders on the sweet side...and plan on carbing mine....

Thanks
Edward
 

jamesseth

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Just kegged a 5-gallon batch of this. SWMBO absolutely loves it, and I enjoy a pint or two every once in a while. Very easy drinking cider that tastes a lot like Woodchuck amber! Thanks for posting this recipe!!!
 
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newell456

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A few people have mentioned it is a bit sweet by SWMBO liked it. WC is a bit of an alcho-pop, but a crowd pleaser. I think a person could easily check the gravity on a flattened bottle of strongbow and backsweeten a batch to that level for something a bit drier.
 

AJC16

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I used 5 gallons of apple cider, flash pasteurized and champagne yeast. I let it ferment out and use aj concentrate to somewhere around 1.030. After sitting in my keg for almost a year it tastes great. I almost dumped it early on because it tasted horrible but now its great disappointed I do not have too much left.
 

Deam

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Can anyone give a range of how much corn sugar I can expect to use when raising the OG in the first step, assuming I'm following the original recipe exactly?

I have all the ingredients, but only 0.5 lbs of corn sugar (force carbed a batch instead of using the sugar so it's left over), and I want to make sure its enough before I actually start mixing things.

Thanks!
 

barhoc11

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Dumb question, when I put in a starting OG of 1.055 and a FG of 1.029, I am getting an ABV of 3.5%. How does this cider have a 7.2% abv?

I am used to taking a OG and a FG for beer to determine ABV, is it different for cider?
 

CidahMastah

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Dumb question, when I put in a starting OG of 1.055 and a FG of 1.029, I am getting an ABV of 3.5%. How does this cider have a 7.2% abv?

I am used to taking a OG and a FG for beer to determine ABV, is it different for cider?
Because you are backsweetening. You ferment dry, 1.055 down to 1.000; then you add sweet back in to 1.022 or whatever your tastes dictate.
 

barhoc11

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Because you are backsweetening. You ferment dry, 1.055 down to 1.000; then you add sweet back in to 1.022 or whatever your tastes dictate.
If you are adding back in juice or whatever to backsweeten, aren't you actually watering/dilluting down the 7.3% abv that you had before you did so?
 

Greghark

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The amount you dilute by depends on how you devide to backsweeten. If you just use juice you'll dilute it more than adding apple juice concentrate. But you could also use a simple syrup using a small amount of water and sugar/dextrose/sucralose/whatever. You'll dilute things a little but it is easy to calculate what you final alcohol content will be.
 

CidahMastah

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If you are adding back in juice or whatever to backsweeten, aren't you actually watering/dilluting down the 7.3% abv that you had before you did so?
Yes.

This is why I make my draft cider to about 9% abv, then I dilute (because I use a double sweet unpasteurized cider as I described before). So I end up with a 6-6.5% ish cider depending on how much I add. I have made strong strong ciders before and find that I don't like it like that. Draft cider should be somehting you can drink all day IMO. I think 6% is perfect.

so in short I go about 9%, then about 2/3 hard cider and 1/3 sweet cider to make a 6% draft cider. Your taste buds will dictate how much you need to add though, it varies from batch to batch if I change the juice or the base hard cider.

Using the cider (or even concetrated AJ) vs. sugar will make a superior draft cider.
 

liteluvr

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Just stumbled onto my first Woodchuck Amber tonight, and want more!
Love the above info... well laid out and easily understood.
Two questions....
1. What is the difference between still and kegged cider in your recipe? I assume still is uncarbonated, and the kegged is carbonated.... but sometimes I assume too much.

2. After racking to the 6.5 gal pail, I would assume I could let it clear for a period of days, re-rack again and add the sorbate and priming sugars, then direct to bottle and cap? I don't have a keg setup, and would rather bottle this into 12 or 20 oz bottles anyway, since that makes it easier to keep the garage fridge full.:rockin:

Also, I'm a brew newbie (brewbie?) with only a couple of batches of beer and wine under my belt, so I'm learning the ropes.
 

CidahMastah

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Just stumbled onto my first Woodchuck Amber tonight, and want more!
Love the above info... well laid out and easily understood.
Two questions....
1. What is the difference between still and kegged cider in your recipe? I assume still is uncarbonated, and the kegged is carbonated.... but sometimes I assume too much.
still is uncarbonated
2. After racking to the 6.5 gal pail, I would assume I could let it clear for a period of days, re-rack again and add the sorbate and priming sugars, then direct to bottle and cap? I don't have a keg setup, and would rather bottle this into 12 or 20 oz bottles anyway, since that makes it easier to keep the garage fridge full.:rockin:
if you add sugar back into this and bottle the only cider you can make is carbonated dry cider (no residual sugar) unless you pasteurize it like pappers method in the cider forum. Cider will always ferment dry unless it is super alcoholic. So you will add sugar and it may restart (likely) and they you will have bottles of cider blowing up in the refridge, or worse, in your face.

If you want carbed cider with residual sugar you either need to have 1. keg setup and sorbate and sulphite, or 2. patience, safety glasses and willingness to bottle pasteruize when the carb gets to where you like it.
 

liteluvr

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Thanks for the response.
Looks like at this point in time, it'll be a still cider.
Not keen on flying shrapnel.
 

CidahMastah

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Thanks for the response.
Looks like at this point in time, it'll be a still cider.
Not keen on flying shrapnel.
you can pasteurize relatively safely. Pappers gets consistent results every time. But some people have had bottles explode etc. I just thought it was safer to do it by kegging so I went for a system because I was more comfortable with that.

Check this out and decide for yourself. Pappers keeps up on the thread to answer questions
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-pics-193295/
 

liteluvr

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you can pasteurize relatively safely. Pappers gets consistent results every time. But some people have had bottles explode etc. I just thought it was safer to do it by kegging so I went for a system because I was more comfortable with that.

Check this out and decide for yourself. Pappers keeps up on the thread to answer questions
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f32/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-pics-193295/
Read almost the entire thread.... definitely feel comfortable pasteurizing using Papper's method. Going to re-read key parts and make sure I have the step by step in my head before I proceed.
 

nukinfuts29

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Here's a question, and sorry if it has been covered:

I have this going right now. How is woodchuck back sweetening when they bottle? I want to bottle it, carbed, and am thinking about using splenda like with Apfelwein. I just want to maintain the great flavor.
 
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