First Time Cider Maker

Cider is feremented fruit juice, such as apples and pears.

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First Time Cider Maker

Postby kicking1012003 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:40 pm

So I started my first cider today. Not sure how it'll turn out, but I hope for the best. Any opinions on a couple of things?
1) Thoughts on keg conditioning? Conditioning warm vs. cold?
2) The recipe was really simple (something I found in the halls of the internet) 5 gallons Tree top apple cider, 1.5 lbs corn sugar, and Cote des blanc yeast. I plan on back sweetening it(?) with some honey or molasses. Thoughts?
3) I have it fermenting in the room with 3 other beers and all of their liquid crystal thermometers read 70 F but the Ciders' reads 74-75. It is still fermenting but should I be concerned with off flavors?

Any thoughts/opinions would be great.

Thanks,

Matt
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby whiteManCanHop » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:10 pm

the cider will finish very dry. if you want to back sweeten you must kill off the yeast so they don't consume your post ferment sugar additions. a campden tablet will do the trick.

i think your temps are fine. i make a similar recipe, minus the back sweetening, and ferment 69-73F.
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby kicking1012003 » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:05 pm

Cool thanks for the info. Any thoughts on the aging? Bottle? Keg? Warm? Cold? Something in between? If I were to bottle condition it would be carbing it from the start of the aging but in the keg I think I'd try aging without carbination. Thoughts?
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby whiteManCanHop » Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:43 am

kegs are definitely easier. i usually let mine sit a month or so at 70F. to be honest, i dont know how you can make a sweet cider in a bottle. to get the sweet, you need to kill the yeast and add sugar...but to bottle you need the yeast for carbonation. the cider is better at a high volumes of co2 which may explode in bottles. i would keg... it will allow you to easily back sweeten as well as carbonate as high as you like.
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby thetooth » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:39 am

We like our cider dry, so I have no real advice on back-sweetening it. I found kegging to be the easiest method, and I have just left the keg in the house for a few months... so 70-ish degrees has worked for me. Now that I have a small wine-cellar area (55 - 60 degrees), I'm going to start keeping them in there.
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby kicking1012003 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 8:29 pm

So how long do you all let it sit in primary for? Do you secondary it at all? or just toss it straight in to the keg, close it up, and let it sit?
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby kicking1012003 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 10:30 pm

Another quick question I had whilst I was at it is I read about a lot of people back sweetening with apple cider, but I was thinking either honey, brown sugar, molasses, or some combo of the three. So I starting thinking about back sweetening with one of the three plus apple cider. Since I've never back sweetened I was wondering if I could get a recommendation. I was thinking between 1 and 2 quarts apple cider and .5 lb honey or 1/3 molasses or about 2 cups brown sugar. Are these proportions gonna give me a really sweet cider? I just want something with some nice flavor and a little sugar, not something similar to a mcdonalds mocha or something super sweet.
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby thetooth » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:06 am

kicking1012003 wrote:So how long do you all let it sit in primary for? Do you secondary it at all? or just toss it straight in to the keg, close it up, and let it sit?


I let if ferment for 3 - 4 weeks in the primary... then I rack straight into a keg, close it up, and let it sit.

Honestly, back-sweetening isn't necessary if you let it sit for 6 months. The flavors will meld and you'll get a ton of great apple flavor without having to resort to sugar and other gimmicks.
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby kicking1012003 » Fri Oct 23, 2009 10:58 am

Unfortunately I got a slightly late start this year, I am getting better seeing as last year I had the idea to start it about 6 months before christmas... but as just stated it's for christmas so I don't have that much time. So I think I'll back sweeten it and start next years earlier.lol

Anyone ever use spices like cinnamon or clove or allspice in their ciders? How much did you add? Was it too much/little? I was thinking of adding this when I back sweeten. Make it more "christmas-y" :P
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Re: First Time Cider Maker

Postby kicking1012003 » Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:49 am

So I was wondering about the backsweetening from anyone who has experience with it. Do the proportions listed above look good? Also is it a bad idea to add the campden tablet after fermentation is complete but before I rack to the keg? I was thinking campden at the end of primary and then putting my backsweetening stuff into the keg and then racking into it. Thoughts?
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