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Hard (Yet Sweet) Cider

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 October 2015 at 21:25
I started a 1-gallon batch of sweet cider tonight, using yeast that I got from Brooklyn Brew Shop:

Good Information: http://brooklynbrewshop.com/hard-cider/hard-cider-refill-pack-sweet

Instructions: http://brooklynbrewshop.com/directions/Brooklyn_Brew_Shop_Hard_Cider_Instructions.pdf

Awesome, Must-See Video: https://vimeo.com/106141749

Even More-Awesome Label Designed by a Friend on Another Forum: http://cdn.homebrewtalk.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=243610&stc=1&d=1419277068

I made BBS's "regular" hard cider last year, and was duly impressed. That cider used Premier Cuvée and was quite dry; nothing wrong with that, as it is quite refreshing on a hot summer day. However, the idea of a slightly-sweeter, fruit-forward cider really appeals to me. I'm not sure which yeast this actually is, but I am looking forward to seeing how this turns out. 

More as it happens, etc. &c.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 October 2015 at 06:56
   Sounds real nice, Ron!  Can't wait to hear how it turns out.  We've got two ciders going right now.  One using Belgian Ardennes Wyeast and the other fermenting with only wild yeast...no yeast added.  It was fermenting well and first taste proves to be good...so far.  Using yeast, especially depending on wild yeast...you never know what you're going to get.  We've got two meads going too.  The Honey and apples were all locally sourced.   Last beer I finished was with my first harvest of hops.

  *cheers*
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 October 2015 at 01:38
Only cider I've used so far this year was in a wonderful pork roast last night. Just some cider, granny smith apples, dried cherries and dried cranberries.
Came out very nice...can't wait to see what you guys do when your cider is finished.Thumbs Up
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 November 2015 at 19:31
Thanks, guys!

I neglected to mention above that I used a one-gallon bottle of Tree Top apple juice for this; pasteurised, no preservatives. Fermentation on this batch was very nice and once it slowed down a bit, I switched from a blow-off tube to an airlock. Everything looks good so far.

On October 29th, I started a second batch that is pretty much the same as the first, except for two differences:

a) I saw some Tree Top "3-Apple Blend" at the store, and decided to give it a try:


I have learned from several sources that a blend of apple juices makes the best, well-rounded cider, so this looked like a good opportunity to see how it is. Like the original Tree Top juice that I used with the first batch, it is pasteurized (which is good) but has no preservatives (which would inhibit or prevent fermentation).

b) With this second batch, I did add a good-sized cinnamon stick and some whole clove. I wasn't entirely sure how many cloves to put in, but I do know that they are strong suckers, and these were of very good quality, so I only put in one small one and one large one. If it was too much, we'll remember for next time - but for now, I'm happy with what I did.

As with the first batch, initial fermentation was very healthy. Temperatures are staying in the 65- to-68 degree range, which is just fine as far as I know. They might be dipping a little lower late at night, but I doubt that this is a problem, based on the good fermentation that I have seen. 

I'll do my best to ignore both batches of cider for two or three weeks until they clear. I will then bottle them and give them a little time before sampling. I have not yet decided whether to carbonate the cider or leave it still; I'll think it over....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 September 2016 at 09:40
#2 son got into those batches of cider last year before they were finished - no comment necessary....

Moving on ~

Following a recent visit to her hometown of Cañon City, Colorado, my mother brought back a gallon of natural cider from an orchard there called DiNardo's that has been in operation since she was young. Naturally, I am thinking that this will make some wonderful hard cider, so I went ahead and got some started on 24 September 2016, using Brooklyn Brew Shop's "sweet cider" yeast. I told the boy to stay away from it, on pain of banishment....

There isn't much on the website about the details of the yeast:

Quote Easy-drinking, fruit forward and just a bit lower in alcohol than our dry cider. Our Sweet Hard Cider Refill Pack comes with 3 packets of yeast and 3 packets of no-rinse sanitizer for sweet, bubbly and naturally gluten-free hard cider.


I emailed BBS asking if they could provide a few other details about the yeast; hopefully, I can figure out what I'm dealing with, or close to it.

With EdWort's Apfelwein in mind, I did add some sugar to this cider, hoping to boost the alcohol a bit and perhaps add some sweetness. Afterword, I got to thinking that this might have been a bad idea with this yeast, which is already touted as on the sweet side. I probably should have used Montrachet, since that is the yeast that is prescribed by EdWort's recipe, but too late now, it's done - so we'll see what we end up with.

Needless to say, I most likely won't be carbonating this batch of cider, due to the sugar unknowns and risks of bottle bombs. If it dries out really well, I might give it a shot; but otherwise, no need...I like cider either way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 September 2016 at 12:40
Alright, I heard back from Brooklyn Brew Shop regarding their "sweet" cider yeast. I understand that they want to keep any proprietary information to themselves, but they did give me some direction, saying that it is an ale yeast that leaves more residual fruitiness, sweetness and body.

I seem to recall hearing similar reports about Nottingham, but I could be wrong. In any case, this should help in deciding how to treat this batch of yeast.

For one thing, it looks like it will be a little sweeter than I intended (I added half a pound of sugar to this 1-gallon batch). Having said that, I recall that the original cider product from DiNardo's is not terribly sweet to begin with, so it might work out just fine. I will most likely not carbonate this cider, due to the added sugar on top of the residual sweetness. This is no big deal, to me, as I like still cider just as much.

I didn't take any OG readings, but I can, of course, check the SG any time and see how "dry" it's getting. I'll probably do that in a couple of weeks, just to see where things are.

Also, since this will be a lower-alcohol cider that is made with ale yeast, I'll assume that it will have a shorter shelf life, measured in weeks rather than months. Instead of aging it for 9 months or a year, I'll enjoy it this autumn and maybe a bit into winter.

Anyway, there it is. Fermentation is really proceeding nicely, in spite of the fact that this yeast expired about a year ago. I had been keeping it refrigerated, so I took a chance on it and tried it, and it is performing like a champ. I'll leave the cider alone for a couple of weeks and see how it turns out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 September 2016 at 11:07
This batch of cider is cruising right along, and fermentation is still going strong. I am encouraged by the progress and looking forward to the results.

I am almost certain that this "sweet" cider yeast is Nottingham, by the way; regarding that, after reading about apfelwein made with Nottingham, I've discovered that the only real difference is that the end product "should" be more fruit-forward and "apple-y," giving an impression, I am sure, of added sweetness. On top of that, the sugar that I added will most definitely push the ABV up, which of course adds to the preservative qualities. Because of this, my conclusions about shelf life were probably wrong - folks have reported enjoying it after a year or more ahs passed. Anyway, it is probably safe do disregard my musings above on the subject.....

The main takeaway from all of this is that hard apple cider is quite varied (meaning that it is flexible), and extremely easy to make. For those of you who have Gluten issues, it is also Gluten-free! So why not pick some up and give it a go...you'll be glad that you did!

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 September 2017 at 14:16
Well, a late update on this -

Since my last posting, I racked this off the lees once, then put it away to bulk-age. For a month or so, I told myself to forget about it, and after a while, I did!

Somewhere in that time, I re-filled the air-lock a couple of times, and finally, a month or so ago, I put a 38-mm cap on the fermenter and put it in the refrigerator, hoping that it would pull down any vestigial sediment etc.

Last night, I bottled this cider, and I am thinking that I really have something nice. There was just the tiniest bit of sediment on the bottom of the fermenter; but otherwise, the cider seemed wonderfully clear and had a beautiful, caramel colour that was a little darker than expected; this might be from some oxidation, but /I am not so sure. It could just as easily be the colour that it is supposed to be.

I washed and sanitised all equipment, then got down to doing it. It was quite easy, thanks to my mini auto-siphon and bottling wand (thanks for the recommendation on that, PitRow!) - in fact, it was even easier than bottling beer. One thing I was eager to try was this handy gadget, which turned out to be very easy to use and made corking a breeze:

http://a.co/9P7ZAVw

It is currently unavailable at Amazon, it seems, but can be found here, also:

http://mastervintner.com/master-vintner-mini-corker/

I was expecting to get 4 bottles of cider from the batch, plus a partial fifth bottle; because of this, I used 4 bottles that were corked, and one with a screw top that I planned to keep handy for sampling and "quick consumption." I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that I did indeed get 5 full bottles. I had just enough left over for a small sample, and it sure was good. The cider was quite dry, yet did have a bit of residual sweetness that just peeked through. There was a hint of harshness there that could have been slight oxidation, but it didn't really taste like the descriptions of oxidation that I have read about, so I am not sure. There wasn't quite as much "apple-y" flavor as I thought it would have, but It wasn't bad, at all, and I am eager to see how it will be after some time in the bottle.

The bottles of apple cider are currently sitting upright, in the dark, while the pressure equalizes and the corks settle in. In a few days, I will store my cider horizontally and leave it alone for a few weeks while the "bottle shock" wears off. I am guessing that when the time comes to sample it, I'll be quite pleased with it.

Now, I should probably get some more started...for next year....
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