As Brew Dudes, we don’t just brew beer. Oh yes, we dabble with other fermented beverages. We have made cider in the past since it’s enjoyable and many people we know really like it. It’s also very easy to make. The time needed to start a cider fermentation seems rather small when comparing it to brewing beer.
With that said, we have made good ciders before but I can’t say we’ve made excellent ciders. Since it’s so simple, there aren’t many levers to pull to improve the product. One of the biggest factors is the choice of yeast strain. Your cider’s quality is largely dependent on a yeast that produces a great cider product.
We’ve used beer and wine yeast in the past with mixed results. When I saw that there were dry yeast strains that were specifically manufactured to be used to make cider, I bought a packet. Here’s our take on how Fermentis SafCider AC-4 yeast performed for our latest cider adventure.
The Cider Journey
In the early days of Brew Dudes, we made were interested in making ciders since we had the equipment and knew it was easy. Well, it was easy as long as you didn’t press the apples. We did that once. Once.
We brewed different kinds -some fortified with extra sugar, some with added fruits. As we made more cider, we learned more about the process and the product. We honed in getting the right juice and using the best yeast.
The search for good juice came from going to different apple orchards that made great blended pressed juices. We chose Cider Hill Farms for our juice of choice. The yeast was harder to choose. We tried many different strain and even posted our own cider yeast strain comparison.
Even with our investigation, we felt like we were placing a square peg in a round hole. We wanted to use strains made for cider.
Our Thoughts on AC-4
Finding dry yeast strains at our preferred local homebrew shop spurred our interest in making cider again. Looking through the different strains Fermentis offered, we chose the AC-4, which claimed on the packet that it produced “fresh and crisp” ciders. That description sounded like the cider I wanted to make.
We have to say, the strain didn’t disappoint. The apple aroma was strong and pleasant. The flavor definitely matched the packet’s statement. The acidity of the cider was just right along with the crispness in the finish. It captured the essence of the apple without being too sweet.
It is not hyperbole to state that this is the best cider we have ever made. If you haven’t had luck with making cider in the past, pick up a packet of Fermentis SafCider yeast. You will be glad you did.