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Hard Cider

Discussion in 'Beer & Ale' started by wildcatter, Oct 28, 2013.

  1. I made cider last year, and it was disappointing. I was expecting it to be crisp and sweet like the commercial stuff- it wasn't at all. I let it ferment completely out, primed with corn sugar and bottled it just like beer. How do you keep it a little sweet?
     
  2. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Bump
     
  3. vaquero01

    vaquero01 Smoke Blower

    I make cider every year. I keg it in Cornies....because bottling sucks. Two questions...what kind of apples are you using and what kind of yeast are you using? Not all apples are created equal when making cider, and the easiest and friendliest yeast to use is plain old champagne yeast.
     
  4. I bought fresh, unpasteurized cider from the Amish. It's fantastic fresh, I figured it would only get better with alcohol. I used ale yeast. I'll try champagne yeast with a gallon.
     
  5. vaquero01

    vaquero01 Smoke Blower

    If I were a betting man (and I am) I'd lay odds the yeast is the culprit here. I have a 5 gallon batch going now with Pasteur Champagne Yeast. If everything works the way it's supposed to, I should end up with an Alcohol Content of about 17-18%.
     
  6. +1. Yes it does.
     
  7. link

    link Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member


    What is the process for making hard Cider. I would love to give this a try.
     
  8. millerk0486

    millerk0486 Meat Mopper

    I am in the midst of my first attempt at making hard cider. I intend on adding some splenda to sweeten it up since sugar will get devoured by the yeast. I am still in the fermenting process and am shocked at how long it has taken... been about 5-6 weeks now... I thought it would only be 2-2.5 weeks. I have also heard that to get that Redds commercial taste, people add concentrated apple flavoring in the end along with the splenda.
     
     
  9. millerk0486

    millerk0486 Meat Mopper

    I have a post on a recipe that I am following. This is my first attempt, so i don't know what the end result will be yet. Below is a link to what I am doing with pictures.
     

    http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/149057/first-home-brewed-hard-cider#post_1058914
     
  10. vaquero01

    vaquero01 Smoke Blower

    Link, If you'd like to PM me, I can send you a couple links for basic recipes. Honestly though it's about the easiest thing in the world to ferment. The favorite way for me is to take two 5 gallon carboys (5 gallon water jugs that go on the water coolers in offices). Fill one with fresh pressed cider, add yeast, I usually add a half cup brown sugar and (the wildcat in the operation here) a half cup of local honey, put stopper on with air lock and let set two weeks. After two weeks you will notice the fermentation has slowed down and the bubbling has nearly stopped by now. Siphon from first Carboy into the second at this point. While siphoning I usually take a little test and see if it's sweet enough, if needed add a little stevia to it. If your not familiar Stevia is an all natural sugar alternative. I actually grow it in my garden. Anyways you want to use that instead of sugar because the yeast won't eat it and start the fermenting process all over again. Once it's in the second carboy put the stopper and airlock back on and let it age for another 3 weeks. This is where I keg mine, if your bottling I suggest growlers, again because bottling sucks!

    Good luck and enjoy.
     
  11. link

    link Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  12. ej0rge

    ej0rge Newbie

    Most if not all ale and wine yeasts will result in a dry cider that has to be filtered or pasteurized or stabilized with sorbate and k-meta before back-sweetening. If sweet was what you wanted.

    That, or cold crash and then kill off or remove the yeast using any of the same methods before it goes dry. Otherwise you have to keep it under refrigeration.

    Champagne type yeast in particular will result in a very dry cider. It can go near 20% alcohol. Most ale and wine yeasts will do over 15%.

    Some people have reported good results using wyeast sweet mead yeast in cider. Haven't tried it myself.

    . :Sent by pneumatic tubes
     
  13. vaquero01

    vaquero01 Smoke Blower

    I have not tried the mead yeast myself either BUT, that sounds like a heck of an idea seeing how I like to use honey as a sweetener. As far as killing off the yeast, I have never pasteurized or hit mine with any additives, with that said though, I have a barn that I keep mine in after secondary racking....and I don't tend to leave IN until early November, temps most likely kill off any wild yeast strains that may persist. By the time I get home to New Orleans with my kegs, it's happy tapping time. Have never had a bad batch yet in 8 years. 
     
  14. ej0rge

    ej0rge Newbie

    Yeah, just that the question was how to make it sweet. I'm pretty sure the commercial brands are filtering. Either after a cold crash when fermentation is at the right point or after it goes dry and before sweetening.

    Homebrewers can filter too, but the initial investment isn't trivial, especially if you aren't already kegging.

    K-sorbate and k-meta are flavors people are used to in juice and wine, so that works for a lot of people.

    . :Sent by pneumatic tubes
     
  15. I had a neighbor that use to make apple jack every year a barrel at a time. He used sugar, yeast raisins, and corn flakes. Don't have the full recipie he died a few years back. This was the best I have ever tasted
     
  16. vaquero01

    vaquero01 Smoke Blower

    After re-reading the original post, it very well could be when the sugar is being added as well. If corn sugar is being added during the initial fermentation most of it is being eaten by the yeast to produce the alcohol and very little is left for sweetening. I have no experience using corn sugar for back sweetening and will ask around for any input.
     
  17. What is cold crash?
     
  18. vaquero01

    vaquero01 Smoke Blower

    Cold Crashing is putting your cider into the fridge or outside on a cold night to kill off any remaining yeast. Mostly used when you dont use a hydrometer to track when your carbonation as quit. It's kind of a safety net for beginner that could have bottled before all the fermenting is done. It will keep the carbonation fizz but kill off any remaining yeasts so when you finally pop the top (if you bottle) you dont get a geyser.
     
  19. Cold crashing wont kill the yeast. You can still get bottle bombs if you cold crash and then the beer warms up again
     
  20. vaquero01

    vaquero01 Smoke Blower

    My apologies, Jeep is right, that certainly can happen. I am definitely wrong here. I have never had it happen, but than again (I may have mentioned before) I don't bottle. Cold crashing, suspends the fermentation...it does not totally kill the reaction off, it also helps clarify (clear) the cider.