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Robert's Apple Cider

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RobertMT

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Do not boil apple juice, just water for tea.

This was inspired by several ciders here. Thanks to Pappy's, Graham's and a couple others.

3 1/2 gallons apple juice
Fifteen 12oz cans frozen apple juice concentrate (Yes 15 cans, this is for added sugar and flavor) (can sub 2lbs of brown sugar for five cans FAJC)
64 oz strong tea (steep 25 tea bags for 20min and squeeze dry)
2 tsp of yeast nutrient
2 tsp lemon powder or juice of 2 lemons or 1/2 can frozen lemonade
pkg of Nottingham or other dry ale yeast. (make starter)

Let tea cool, add it, lemon, YN and 1/2 thawed FACJ to carboy, shake to mix, add remaining three gallons juice, shake to aerate well, add yeast starter, shake to mix, add blow off tube. On day 2 or 3, add rest of FAJC and give it a swirl, replace blow off or airlock.

(I reserve 1/2 of FAJC for adding second/third day, lets yeast get better start, you could add all at once if desired.)

1.07 OG before adding second half FAJC (1.085 OG if all added at start) 1.010 - 1.020 FG, just slightly sweet, just above dry and 13-14% ABV. Tea adds some body, lemon adds brightness.

I take 1/2 gallon of the apple juice and make starter day before, just shake well to aerate and add your yeast, I cover with coffee filter and rubber band, pour cup or so of apple juice out first, to leave some headroom in jug for starter.

Rack to secondary after month, add any flavors desired at that time.

If you can find apple juice in gallon glass, they make good secondary's and you can try different additions, vanilla beans, cinnamon stick, chunk of apple or oak wood all work well.

For 5 gallon batch, I add 1/2 can FAJC or 4 oz simple syrup for priming.
 
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Lefou

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I am assuming you've done this before and your primary and secondary fermentation times are observed and calculated from experience. My first stab at this using S-04 had a starting gravity of about 1.070 and has taken a comparable period of time to drop significantly.
 
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RobertMT

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I've never used S-04, but give it time, there's plenty of sugars for yeast to work on. I've had it take three months in winter to complete fermentation, final month was at 45, knotty just kept chugging away.
 
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RobertMT

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Just bottled another batch. I put apple wood chunks in secondary and after month, capped it and put in frig to cold crash. Got busy and left in frig for six weeks, before siphoning onto can FAJC in bottling bucket. Bottling sample tastes a tad on sweet side and I doubt if it's going to add any more carb, due to high alcohol content, but goes down deadly smooth. Apple chucks or extra time, seem to have added even more apple flavor.
 
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RobertMT

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Started another batch, backed off the FAJC to ten cans, SG 1.070 should finish around 11% and be a bit drier.
 

MindenMan

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I generally start with 2.5 gallons of Tree Top 3 Juice Blend, 20 cans of concentrate and the juice of 6 pounds of Granny Smith apples. I add two teaspoons of 3 acid blend when racking out of the fermenter and into some bottles but mostly jugs to be freeze concentrated for applejack.
 
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RobertMT

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I've thought of freezing this down, but so far it's been strong enough and goes down mighty smooth. I froze another cider down and lost much of it's flavor, it was a sugar enriched one, so it's didn't start really flavorable.

Why the late addition of acid, just to add some tart? I would think the extra sugar, would offset it. Did you add all 20 cans from start or step them in?

I've tried less FAJC and finished too dry, adding more seemed to choke the yeast and leave it way sweet. I've upped the YN and aeration, but otherwise pretty much stick with 15 cans. I've been bottling it nearly flat, after leaving it final/extra month @40 in frig. I've tried reducing added tea and it's missed, not sharp enough without it. Same with citric acid/lemon adds a brightness/bite that's missing.

I noticed in recipe, I didn't list pectin enzyme, you can add it to get clearer cider, I use normal recommended dose, before yeast and aeration.
 

MindenMan

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Part of the differences in our batches is specifically the yeast.I use 4184 Sweet Mead Yeast and you are Not. (pun intended) I have used many different strains of yeast to make hard cider/apple wine and my hands down favorite is the 4184. The acid blend added at racking is just when I tried it the first time, and I don't want to change anything in my fermentation routine, it works well just like it is. I will say I can feel the tannin added from the FAJC, but I may be wrong, or I may be right I just don't know where my "tannin threshold" is yet, or is it tannin that is giving me the slight drying sensation after swallowing? What I am going to do is pull out a 1 gallon jug and mix the tea into a glass so I can see what ratio of tea to cider I like the best.
 
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RobertMT

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The last batch I used Cote Des Blancs and it took forever to ferment and clear, but result was pretty good.

"is it tannin that is giving me the slight drying sensation after swallowing? " That's probably what you're tasting, also described as crisp or puckering, normally is toward back of tongue or mouth. It also gives the impression of more body. It's often used to clear the sweetness and avoid cloying aftertaste.
 

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