Cider help

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by csu007, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. csu007

    csu007 New Member

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    So i have been tasked by a friend to make 2 ciders for a baby shower. I have good grasp on making beer but less so on ciders.
    here are all the details
    cider one- "Rose style"
    50%sweet. 35%sharp/crisp 15% bitter/tart
    Apples to use in blend
    Sweet- 25%honeycrisp, 10% ambrosia, 25%pear (anjou and bartlett)
    Crisp 15%fuji, 10%gala
    Bitter- 100% granny smith
    For color add blend of grapes/red berries/blueberries/ rose pedals

    cider two- 50%sweet. 35%sharp/crisp 15% bitter/tart
    Apples to use in blend
    Sweet- 25% honey crisp, 10% ambrosia, 10% autumn glory, crisp- fuji 15%, gala 10%, bitter 100% granny smith
    Add salted caramel sauce, the sauce will be added to secondary after primary is done

    both will be 5gal, bottled and carb'd
    we plan fresh pressing as much as possible. herein lies my first question. I have looking at many different sources in trying to figure how many pounds of apples i need to make 5gals. i have seen between 10-20lbs for 1 gal, which would equal like 1.5-2bushels for 5gals correct?
    second the the rose cider- i know that red flesh apples are available but not until the fall (in Colorado at least), so we were thinking of adding some red/pink fruit to give color but limited flavor. is there a good ratio for lbs of fruit to cider for color and not overwhelming flavor?
    my biggest questions after the amount of apples needed, is bottling.
    For the Rose cider we are looking for dry to semi-dry cider. from what i gather i can bottle like a normal beer?
    the second cider is tricky- trying to make a caramel hard apple cider- so sweet and carb'd. what is the best process to to have sweetness with natural carbonation?
    i know that on the pressing day i need to add Camden tablets and pectin enzyme and then wait a day the add yeast?
    any and all suggestions and knowledge is greatly appreciated
     
  2. 716Brewer

    716Brewer New Member

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    I was told to bottle with an unfermentable sugar to add sweetness. I didn't end up doing it because the cider was for my wife and she only likes dry cider. It was terrible.
     
  3. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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  4. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor New Member

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    Great post, great questions! I think I can help.

    Pounds of apples per gallon is based on your own process efficiency. Most processes should see an efficiency of 50% or more. The 50% efficiency means you need 17 pounds of apples per gallon. Personally on my kitchen juicer appliance I have averaged 53% efficiency which is 16 pounds per gallon. Pierre Jolicoeur is a respected cidermaker who suggests that 60% efficiency is pretty good, and 70-80% is about as high as most people could ever hope to expect.

    Also I have noticed that a very few apple varieties that have a lot of juice including Honeycrisp and Zestar will yield more juice than average. I can get 63% efficiency consistently with these 2 varieties, but only about 53% with almost all others on average.

    There are about 45 pounds to a bushel of apples. So... if you are wanting 5 gallons of apple juice... you'll probably need roughly 80 pounds of apples, which is indeed roughly 2 bushels or slightly less.

    Color depends on the particular fruit. With red apples, you need a very large percentage of red apples to give a red hue to the cider... I would say 30-50%. With other fruits, it is harder to say. Raspberries are VERY dark in color AND very strong in flavor, and just about 10% should provide some pink color, maybe 15%. Red or purple or "black" grapes... I am not sure... it depends on how dark they are. "Black" grapes would work best. I'd start with 10% for very dark ones, as I think they would be even darker than raspberries, but of course it mostly depends how dark your grapes are.

    All these berries, grapes, etc. will add some background flavor, but shouldn't overwhelm the flavor if kept to less than say 10-15% of the total fermentables. More than that and you'll really start to taste it more.

    Dry cider can be bottled exactly the same way as beer. I even bottle mine in beer bottles -- why not. Especially Grolsch-style bottles with ceramic tops.

    The best way to keep the caramel sweetness in your second cider is to add xylitol at bottling, which is an unfermentable sweetener that tastes exactly like sugar. You might want to supplement this with caramel extract as well, else you might not be able to taste much caramel. You can also try adding potassium sorbate near the end of fermentation along with backsweetening to try to halt fermentation, but just be warned... sorbate does NOT kill yeast, but only neuters them and prevents them from multiplying while conditioning, so results can vary some, and carbonation is almost a complete crapshoot -- 50/50 odds of overcarbonation, or no carbonation at all, and only very rarely something perfectly carbonated.

    I wish you all the best of luck! Cheers.
     
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  5. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    I have made a few ciders - always from mashed and pressed apples donated by friends and I have never made much of an effort to balance sweet and tart (except once by accident when I used Russet and Cox Orang Pippin from a friends only two trees) so I leave it purely by chance as to what turns out.
    My only bit of advice - ALWAYS ferment to full amount - as close to 1.005 or lower - as to terminate early, as I did last year to try and retain sweetness, results in bombs of nuclear proportion. I only lost 1 bottle to a weak bottle base but, opening a full pint left 1 inch of tasty but murky brown grog in the bottle. The rest shooting 12ft (I kid you not) across the kitchen!
    I decided to re-bottle the whole batch - 40 pints - after 4 months of lying in the garage - resulting in 30 pints that still has a great fizz.
    It does eventually go crystal clear. This is just after re-bottling in the original bottles - saved a lot of time.
    upload_2019-3-9_12-55-12.png
     
  6. ChicoBrewer

    ChicoBrewer Well-Known Member

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    I keep dry cider from Costco apple juice around all the time. It's simple. Ferment it then add frozen apple concentrate and bottle. I have made a few ciders including back sweetened and kegged with berries. I always go back to the simple one though because it is delicious and looks like champagne in the glass . . .
     
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  7. csu007

    csu007 New Member

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    Thank you all for your suggestions I ended up with 87lbs of apples and pears for the rose style. Went with 1pkg each raspberry, blueberries and strawberries.
    85.6lbs of apples the second
    I didn't add any sugar, brix were about 14, which is good for me . I was wondering for the caramel apple if I were "prime" the bottles with a caramel sauce would that both carbonate and add a touch of sweetness? I'm trying to avoid artificial sweeteners and flavors.
     
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  8. ChicoBrewer

    ChicoBrewer Well-Known Member

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    Any "sweetness" will be eaten by the yeast so if you add too much sweetness after the ferment and bottle you will create bottle bombs. The only way around it is to use something to stop the yeast (potassium sorbate) back sweeten and carbonate in a keg. If your stuck on bottles I suppose you could carbonate from the keg but I never tried it with cider. I suppose if you drank it all really fast that might work too.
     
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  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I made a radlar one time, pale ale with a lot of grapefruit juice and grapefruit cocktail mix, it was a a strange but delicious.

    I put it in a comp and a friend of mine told me not to use potassium sorbate because it will leave a flavor behind. It was fairly sweet, so there was quite a bit of sugar in it. He suggested I pasteurize it. It worked. Here's a link a link on how to do it:

    https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/easy-stove-top-pasteurizing-with-pics.193295/

    The other way would be to back sweeten it in a keg just before serving, but if you don't have a kegging system that would be out.
     
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  10. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    Brilliant information that. Thanks High Voltage.
     
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  11. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad I could help. See, I'm not completely worthless, only a little worthless.
     
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