Author Topic: Hard Apple Cider  (Read 8165 times)

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Hard Apple Cider
« on: November 07, 2011, 04:24:43 PM »
Just wondering if anyone here has any experience with cider.

I've tried a few batches in the past, and wasn't too impressed.

One I used champagne yeast and it was painfully dry, as is to be expected with that yeast.

A couple years ago I fortified five gallons of cider with a couple pounds of extract before fermenting with Safeale 05, and again wasn't that impressed.  I force carbonated in a keg.  Towards the end I would put a tablespoon of simple syrup in the glass before filling it, and that wasn't half bad.

I think it is a matter of residual sweetness.  I was considering steeping a pound of crystal malt in a gallon or two of cider on the stove to boost the flavor and final gravity. Maybe find a low attenuating yeast.

I have read of people bottling, testing a bottle every day after a week or two, then pasteurizing once desired carbonation is achieved, leaving sugar in the bottle.  That doesn't appeal to me at all.  Especially since I plan to put it in a keg.

My idea of an "ideal" cider would be comparable to K.

That stuff rocks!

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline RGWilder

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Re: Hard Apple Cider
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2011, 04:47:07 PM »
We did our first cider, a few months back, and the wives love it.

5 Gallons of local, UV pasteurized cider (not heat)
2lbs of brown sugar
7 sticks of cinnamon
1/2 lb of local dark maple syrup.

Pasteurized all ingredients at 160º-165º for 20 minutes, put in 5 gallon plastic carboy, with the cinnamon sticks, for 5 weeks with WLP775 (English cider yeast) and fermented it at 60º-70º

Got an OG of 1.076 and FG of 1.008 (9% ABV)

I wish I had added some of the maple in, during late ferm, or kegging.  I have two more 5 gallon batches in the basement now.  I'm planning on adding 4oz of maple back in, at kegging.

It actively bubbled for a whole month, then slowed after that.  I'd like to start aging for several months, but demand prevents it.  Gotta make more!

Offline kcreiglow

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Re: Hard Apple Cider
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 04:03:12 PM »
I made my first hard cider.  I was experimenting, so I decided to only do a 1 gallon batch.  I used 1 gallon apple juice, 1 cup of brown sugar and household bread yeast.  It fermented for 2 weeks and I carbonated with a tablespoons worth of priming sugar.  I tested my f.g. At 1.000 it was dry like champaign.  It didn't taste much like apples at all.  It was strong though 9% with my calculations.  I don't think I will be making this again with the current recipe unless there is a huge difference in taste by carbonating it.  I will wait 4 weeks and try it again.

What does the standard hard cider taste like?  Could I add something to the finished 1 gallon to sweeten it up or make it taste more like apple cider with a kick?

I think I will try a 5 gallon batch of RGWilder's recipe... It sounds good and it's obviously in demand.  I hope it tastes like cider and not dry and champaign like!

Offline Myk

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Re: Hard Apple Cider
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 09:02:26 PM »
My favorite method is to run one naturally sweet batch dry. Run another batch sweetened so the total SG is above the yeast's alcohol tolerance by 2-3%. Sorbate and blend.

Narbonne is my favorite yeast for cider.

This leaves you either with still or force carbing, the later shouldn't be a problem since you plan on kegging. I've grown to like still.

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Hard Apple Cider
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2011, 04:28:00 PM »
Thank you all for the replies.

I think for my next batch of cider I will use cider yeast. It must be labeled "cider" yeast for a reason.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Big B

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Re: Hard Apple Cider
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2011, 10:46:52 PM »
I made a really good batch of Cider.  I started with 6 gallons of local unpasteurized cider, added 10lbs of Domino's sugar, some Wyeast Labs 5526 Brettanomyces Lambicus, which is a Belgium Lambic yeast.  I fermented in the primary for a month, racked it into the secondary for 10 days.  I added a bag of sweet orange peel and heather tips into the secondary.  Let that sit for 10 days, then racked it again and let it age for 3 months.  What I was left with was an awesome Sour Apple Wine.  It won second place in the specialty cider category at War of the Worts competition.  That Lambic yeast did it's thing.
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