Quantcast

Re-brewing a Weak Cider. Pointers??

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Aróchito

Active Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
1
Hello folks,

Not sure why, but after following the same recipe (with a different yeast with high abv potential and different brand of juice) I made a weaker cider than I would have liked. My guess is 2-3%abv (as I didn't take a gravity reading) when last time the same recipe ended up closer to 12abv.

My goal is to use champagne yeast and to add the same amount of sugar as before-- 2lbs/5 gal.
Will also be adding 9lbs honey to the other 5 gallons of cider-- so 1 cider, 1 cyser.

As I am adding yeast and more sugar to albeit weak alcohol, is there anything I should be aware of as far as re-brewing already made alcohol? Never done this before.
Thanks in advance.
 

S-Met

Department of Redundancy Department.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
4,996
Reaction score
5,007
Location
Nor Cal
Asking the question: how do you know the abv if you didn't take a gravity reading?

Assuming your yeast didn't ferment dry, the obvious concern is that your apple juice has a preservative, probably sorbate which inhibits yeast reproduction. Some people claim to have had limited success with similar situations by massive starter pitch, but I can't speak to it personally.
 
OP
Aróchito

Aróchito

Active Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
1
By 'ferment dry' do you just mean a dry cider?
I am measuring the abv by taste and effect.
Nothing added to juice. Just ascorbic acid.

Asking the question: how do you know the abv if you didn't take a gravity reading?

Assuming your yeast didn't ferment dry, the obvious concern is that your apple juice has a preservative, probably sorbate which inhibits yeast reproduction. Some people claim to have had limited success with similar situations by massive starter pitch, but I can't speak to it personally.
 

S-Met

Department of Redundancy Department.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
4,996
Reaction score
5,007
Location
Nor Cal
By 'ferment dry' do you just mean a dry cider?
I am measuring the abv by taste and effect.
Nothing added to juice. Just ascorbic acid.
Yes. High abv yeast is will eat all sugar until alcohol tolerance is reached, providing no preservatives are present and no other conditions prevent healthy fermentation.

Most commercial juice will ferment to 5-7%abv depending on natural sugars. You added 2lb of sugar which puts you in the 6.5-8.5% potential abv. These numbers are only guessing based on commercial store juice.

The best advice/suggestion is that you get a hydrometer and learn how to use it. Otherwise we are only guessing at the most likely causes. Also, a better description of your fermentation practice could help us look for possible technical problems with your process.
 
OP
Aróchito

Aróchito

Active Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
1
Yes. High abv yeast is will eat all sugar until alcohol tolerance is reached, providing no preservatives are present and no other conditions prevent healthy fermentation.

Most commercial juice will ferment to 5-7%abv depending on natural sugars. You added 2lb of sugar which puts you in the 6.5-8.5% potential abv. These numbers are only guessing based on commercial store juice.

The best advice/suggestion is that you get a hydrometer and learn how to use it. Otherwise we are only guessing at the most likely causes. Also, a better description of your fermentation practice could help us look for possible technical problems with your process.
As far as my fermentation practices go, (did this with 2 five gallon carboys) I poured in the juice, poured in the Red Star Red Wine Yeast, shook the hell out of the FVs for several minutes, cooked the sugar down into a solution, poured in the cooled sugar solution, added about 5 teaspoons of yeast nutrient, and let it do its magic. The last brew (not this one) was with champagne yeast and it was quite strong.
Both yeasts say the temp's gotta be max 70 degrees which I believe it is as it's been quite cool in L.A for the last several months.
 

S-Met

Department of Redundancy Department.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
4,996
Reaction score
5,007
Location
Nor Cal
Most of the redstars are strong fermenters wine 12-16%abv tolerance. I'm not saying that adding add a champagne yeast won't help, but I don't know if it will.

Your Practice sounds good, nothing blatantly standing out thst is amss. Still confused with your claim to 2-3%abv.
Did you take gravity readings on your 1st batch?
What brand juice did you use first 1st vs 2nd batch and how many grams of sugar per serving?
Where did you purchase your yeast and how did you store it?
How would you describe the flavor?
 
OP
Aróchito

Aróchito

Active Member
Joined
Apr 24, 2019
Messages
28
Reaction score
1
On the first batch, I didn't take a reading.
That first batch was TreeTop 100% pure pressed juice, and this most recent one is Gonzales 100% apple juice, bought at the market by my house. It's a fine, tasty juice, the cheapest one at the market without any preservatives.
For both batches, I used 2 lbs sugar per 5 gallons.
I bought the last yeast at homebrew shop, and the one I'm about to use on this batch online. both stored in my room. My brother suggested that I put it in the fridge so that's where it is now. For both, I just poured in the powder and mixed/shook incessantly for about 5 mins. Would it make a difference if I hydrated the yeast?
Now that I think of it, there's a SLIGHT possibility that the yeast MAY have possibly gotten a little hot in the car for an extended period of time. It's a possibility.
The taste of the batch in question is rather pleasant for a young cider. Pretty dry, mild. The weak ABV though is self evident.
Thanks.
 

S-Met

Department of Redundancy Department.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
4,996
Reaction score
5,007
Location
Nor Cal
Hot yeast may have "killed" it,but if it tastes dry and not like sugary juice,then it fermented out. I looked up the brand of juice you used, approx pre gravity including the two lb added sugar puts your starting gravity @ 1.056. If it does not taste sweet, it fermented dry and 1.000 puts it around 7.5%abv. Some cider yeasts top out at 5-6% abv but that would leave you with an alco-pop flavor similar to angry orchards.

Many yeasts ferment apple juice dry. Additionally, most apple juice lacks tannins and adequate acid to make it complex. Additionally, Gonzales juice has HFCS according to the label. While this adds to the "sweet" of the juice, it does not add anything to body or mouth feel as there are less tannins available.

What you likely ended up with is the equivalent of coors light cider, thin and watery to the taste. But don't confuse lack of body for lack of abv, two different aspects of fermentation.
 

RPh_Guy

Bringing Sour Back
HBT Supporter
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
9,211
Reaction score
7,551
Location
Cleveland
Dunno with looking up and I haven't used them myself. From memory, i think White labs Scottish cider claims something like 5-6%. I thought one of the mangrove jacks also have some with similar claims.
I don't think any such commercial strains exist.
WLP773 ferments dry to at least 8% ABV.
 
Last edited:
Top