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When to add fruit flavour to cider?

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Chalkyt

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The experimenting continues...

I have just juiced a small experimental batch of apples (2 litres) which I will ferment with SO4. I have plenty of frozen pitted cherries from our own trees and want to try making "cherry" cider. When is the right time to add the cherries or juice?

I had thought of partly thawing some cherries to get Frozen Cherry Juice Concentrate, then using this before bottling to bring the FG up by .004 for bottle carbonation. Will this work the way I hope?

The other option might be to simply add cherries after racking to secondary but I don't have any idea how much to add. I wonder if the secondary fermentation will consume the cherry sugar and flavour and just leave the colour. Depending on what it tastes like at bottling time I can use sugar, FAJC or the FCJC to bring the FG up by .004f for bottle carbonation.

Given my past experience with SO4, I expect a fairly quick turbulent primary then transfer to secondary after a week and bottle after two months in the cold store. Fortunately some cool weather has arrived and the cold store is now around 55 degrees.

Any ideas on the best way to go?
 

Drewed

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Usually a pound of fruit is recommended per gallon of brew. When you add them is up to you. The later in the process, the less sugar will ferment out of the fruit and the less "wine" taste it will have.
I'd toss 1/2 a pound of cherries in a fermenter and then rack the cider onto them. Give it a week or two, depending on the temperature, check the gravity, and add juice to bring to the level you want for bottle carbing. I don't think you will need to "freeze concentrate" the cheery juice as it is pretty sweet on its own.
 
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Chalkyt

Chalkyt

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Thanks Drewed... what I have is a mix of windfall apples (about 4Kg) and the last of the pears (about 1Kg. Overall, I got 2.5 litres (1/2 gallon)of juice. The reason for the pears was that I read somewhere that pears have a fair amount of unfermentable sugars, so should result in some sweetness when fully fermented.

It is now in primary with SO4 and the turbulent foam is starting to form.

The idea is to use sugar to carbonate half to see if the pears do add sweetness. But it occurred to me that the other half would be good for experimenting with cherry cider. So, are you suggesting adding cherries when I rack to secondary or when it is fully fermented, then add juice (cherry or FAJC) to bring the SG up for bottling?
 

bernardsmith

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Usually a pound of fruit is recommended per gallon of brew. When you add them is up to you. The later in the process, the less sugar will ferment out of the fruit and the less "wine" taste it will have.
I'd toss 1/2 a pound of cherries in a fermenter and then rack the cider onto them. Give it a week or two, depending on the temperature, check the gravity, and add juice to bring to the level you want for bottle carbing. I don't think you will need to "freeze concentrate" the cheery juice as it is pretty sweet on its own.
Drewed, Where's the evidence that the later in the process you add fruit the less it will ferment? If you are working at the high end of your yeast's tolerance that might be true but that then has zip to do with when you might add the fruit in any literal sense. If the tolerance for alcohol has not yet been reached the yeast will plow through the sugars in the fruit day 1 or day 60 or even day 365.
What happens , I think, when you add fruit to the secondary is that you now have alcohol to extract the flavors. You don't have that when you have just pitched the yeast so if you add fruit to the secondary the fruit tends to taste more "fruity" and upfront fresh. But that has nothing to do with the sugars being left unfermented.
 

Drewed

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I totally can agree with that. You logic makes more sense than mine. In actuality I don’t know why it happens, but the later you add fruit, the more “fruity” and less “winey” it seems to taste.
 
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Chalkyt

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The logic of alcohol extracting flavours makes sense. So, when is the best time to do this? If I add the fruit to secondary (just after racking from primary, say at something like SG 1.020) there is still a lot of sugars to be consumed until it gets down to 1.000 or so, and it will sit for another couple of months before priming and bottling.

Adding the fruit at priming time has more alcohol available and it will be at least a couple of weeks (probably longer) after bottling before being opened.

Which approach is likely to get the best results re a subtle cherry (sweet?) flavour?
 

bernardsmith

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I don't have any hard data but adding fruit (or fruit juice) just before priming seems a little late (I am assuming that we are talking about wine and not beer and so making a sparkling wine takes place in the bottle and not the carboy or barrel. I would add the fruit after the first racking but I rack when the wine is getting close to 1.005 and not when there is still about 20% sugar still left to ferment.
 
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