Conditioning and Back Sweetening Cider - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by AHarper, Nov 23, 2022.

  1. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    OK. I have fermented out my cider - FV = 1.000 but now it is dry I want to condition it - and make it sweeter.

    Suggestions on how to sweeten the cider then bottle condition it WITHOUT creating bottle bombs.

    I have recently re-bottled 2017 cider bombs (opening bottles into a bin to release the pressure in the bottles then immediately re-capping.

    This may be difficult to achieve - a sweeter, fizzy cider - but I do NOT have a keg so killing the yeast, adding sugar to sweeten then force carbing is not an option.

    I will use a barrel to store some cider as still and put some as still in glass flagons (growlers) but Mrs H prefers the sweet, fizzy kind.

    Suggestions please,
     
  2. MaxStout

    MaxStout Active Member

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    You'll need to stop the yeast from continuing to ferment before adding sugar. Add metabisufites and sorbates. Alternatively, you could pasteurize the cider. Otherwise, any sugar you add will be fermented by the live yeast.

    A third way: add artificial sweetener.

    Fourth way: don't add anything to the cider before bottling, then back-sweeten the cider when you pour. You can use a splash of 7-Up or a little simple syrup.
     
  3. Minbari

    Minbari Well-Known Member

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    Second method 2 and 4. You can't sweeten it and then bottle as is. You won't have a bottle survive
     
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  4. MaxStout

    MaxStout Active Member

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    If you're thinking the pasteurization route, I found these from a quick GIS.

    I've never done it myself (I like my ciders dry), but if @Yooper is around maybe she could help.

    65C.png

    70C.png
     
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  5. Zambezi Special

    Zambezi Special Well-Known Member

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    I would back sweeten in the glass.
    Either plain sugar, or apple juice. Sprite or 7-up is a good suggestion as well

    Alternatively, artificial sugar like sorbitol.

    Luckily I like my cider dry ;)
     
  6. Dornbox

    Dornbox Active Member

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    Monk fruit sweetener is non fermentable. Research it but it should do the trick! Stevia should work as well but I don’t care much for the flavor.

    For the record, super dry cider on crushed ice is the best!
     
  7. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Sodium MBS at bottling is likely to oxidise the product, any addition of fermentable sugar is likely to start fermentation again.

    The commercial producers over here back sweeten and carbonate/pasteurise at bottling.

    We use ale yeasts rather than cider yeasts so they finish around 1.010 and the dryness is less of an issue. It will still ferment out further in the keg if left at the right temp though so the problem never goes away completely.
     
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  8. MaxStout

    MaxStout Active Member

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    The wine and food industries use K-Meta and Na-Meta extensively as an antioxidant. (Buy a bottle of wine and chances are the label says "contains sulfites") Perhaps you are thinking of something different? K-Meta/Na-Meta are also employed by LODO homebrewers as a stabilizer at various stages of the process.

    I did read somewhere (can't recall the source) suggesting the use of ascorbic acid plus meta at packaging. Both are antioxidants and provide shelf stability, and apparently they complement one another.

    Commercial producers where you are may use pasteurization as an alternative to avoid adding sulfites, as some people are sensitive to that. Perhaps there are local laws restricting their use.
     
  9. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Sodium mbs is used in cider making, generally as a stabiliser before fermentation when dealing with raw apple juice. It isn't used for killing yeast after fermentation. I think partly because there's a risk of adding the oxidised/off flavours and partly because there's an overall limit (at least here in the UK) of how much is allowed.

    Interesting piece here:

    http://www.cider.org.uk/sulphite.html

    I did get into this a couple of years ago with @Yooper and had said exactly the same, that sodium MBS will kill the yeast post fermentation. I was told then that I was wrong so went away and learned a little more.

    Could always try it and see what happens I guess.
     
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  10. MaxStout

    MaxStout Active Member

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    #10 MaxStout, Nov 24, 2022
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2022
    MBS will not kill yeast by itself. To stop fermentation, you need to use it with sorbate.

    How does MBS add "oxidized/off flavors"? Can you provide a source? Truly curious here. Your linked article says nothing about MBS adding oxidized flavors; rather, it addresses its antioxidant properties as a stabilizer.

    I don't see how it can be both a "stabilizer," and also add oxidation effects. That seems contradictory.
     
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  11. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    Well I have made a decision:
    I will fill a barrel (like pic below) and add sugar to carbonate it. The barrel has a pressure relief valve (I hope works) so that's where the sparkling cider will be. The rest will be bottled as Still cider - that can be sweetened to taste at the point of consumption.
    Sorted...
    upload_2022-11-24_23-53-2.png
     
  12. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Just try over dosing water, see what happens. The sulphurous flavours are pretty bad.

    I did a week long course at the national cider and perry centre last summer. Can't remember all the correct terms around the processes, can't be fluffed rooting out my notes.
     
  13. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Back sweetening with artificial sweeteners is what I've read about that will give you some sweet to the dry...getting it to naturally carb can be done but when I did it, I erred in the side of caution and got a low carbonation, drier than I wanted cider that wasn't my ideal. .....so I stick to beer! Good luck Alan!
     
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  14. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Actually, K-meta and Na-meta are used as a preventative for oxidation, as @MaxStout alluded to.

    The simple explanation is that the sulfite is added and is both free and bound S02. The free S02 is what protects the wine from oxidation. Please see https://www.extension.iastate.edu/wine/total-sulfur-dioxide-why-it-matters-too/

    I did a (long) talk on this a few years ago, and don't have my notes with me now, but that's it in a nutshell. I use K-meta in my wines, ciders and even meads at a fairly low amount (about 40 ppm estimate as I don't currently have an SO2 meter). It dissipates so that is will it is added again several times, and at packaging.
     
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  15. MaxStout

    MaxStout Active Member

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    I add about 10ppm each of Kmeta and ascorbic acid to the beer just before bottling. I haven't compared this to a baseline of beer without it, but it appears my beer lasts longer in bottles since I began adding it. Could be some confirmation bias on my part, but it's an easy hack and I seem to get results. 5ppm metabisulfite will scavenge 1ppm O2.
     
  16. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Yeah that's why and how I use SMB as an Antioxidants in packaging it's also widely used as a food preservant it prevents oxidation of food product that classic browning affect on fruits ect.
    .4g/20lt batch I use its powerful stuff.

    SMB or PMB in conjunction with Ascorbic Acid is a powerful antioxidant. Source LODO brew site.
    https://www.themodernbrewhouse.com/we-now-have-forums/


    That barrel looks like a great Idea @AHarper

    This way you get the best of both worlds some sparkling some still.
     
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  17. highlanderninerkc

    highlanderninerkc New Member

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    I’ve been making cider and low carb beers with a bit of monk fruit sweetener. Works great. Tastes better than the other non-carb sweeteners.
     
  18. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    Can't seem to get that here... import from USA yes. I don't think the cost warrants it though.
     
  19. MaxStout

    MaxStout Active Member

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    Have you checked local Asian grocers?
     

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