Ok, I think I have my hard cider recipe for 2011.
4 Gallons of Cider from Cider Hill Farm.
2 pounds of white sugar
2 packets of Lallemand Nottingham Ale yeast
Someday, we’ll get back to pressing our own apples. This year, we’re going to get the process down. The last time I made cider, it came out really dry with no real apple taste.
With buying quality cider, I am hoping the base will be superior to what we pressed two years ago.
My plan is to add the sugar to the cider over some heat to dissolve the sugar and get my starting gravity to 1.060 to 1.065.
Instead of using sulfites, I am going to heat the cider/sugar mixture and hold it at 150°F for 20 minutes. I am looking to kill wild yeasts – maybe someday I will skip this step. This time around, I am looking to keep my variables to a minimum.
Chill it to 70°F. While it’s chilling, I will proof my dry yeasts and get them ready for pitching.
Before I pitch, I will aerate the sweetened, hopefully pasteurized cider.
Once fermentation has started, I am going to keep an eye on it. I think last time I let it ferment too long. I think once fermentation starts to slow, I’ll be stealing samples to taste for sweetness.
Rather than ferment too long and back sweetening, I plan to rack it, prime it, and bottle it when it comes to my sweetness preference.
Once it carbs up, I plan to cold crash it in my fridge so the yeast will stop fermenting and I won’t have bottle bombs.
I may pasteurize some bottles by boiling them in my kettle but we’ll see what I have time to do and what space I have in my fridge.
See you on Thursday when I get this cider going.
Wow, 2 pounds of sugar in 4 gallons!
You are going to let it carbonate and then heat the bottles to kill the yeast! I’d do that outside if i were you.
Thanks for your concern, Chris. I am going to add the sugar until I hit a gravity between 1.060 and 1.065. If it takes less than two pounds, so be it.
The last cider I did had a FG of less than 1.000. I am going to take readings and taste until it’s where I want it to be. I was planning to cold crash it once it carbs up in the bottle.
Love it! I’m about to bottle a gallon of cinnamon & honey hard cider. I saw some new cider juice at the market a few days ago so I may have to try this recipe in a few days. Looking forward to the taste test on this.
If you want to stop fermentation before it dries all the way out then you need to use sulfites. Racking it off the yeast won’t stop fermentation; it will slow it down slightly but the yeast will happily continue to eat sugar until they run out of it or until you kill them off.
If you don’t want to use sulfites then you might try something like a sweet mead yeast instead of Nottingham. Also note that if your apple juice is intended to be drunk unfermented then it is probably already plenty sweet. Like wine, juice that makes the best fermented cider is quite tart and hardly drinkable before it ferments.
I always wondered if you could add apple concentrate instead of sugar? I wonder if there is organic apple concentrate out there? That way you could beef up the cider and enhance apple taste…..obviously this is cheating…..but I do wonder what it would be like.
Lot of wondering going on in Ohio.
Erik – I think if I rack it, prime it, let it carbonate a bit, and then cold crash it, I think the yeast will slow down to dormancy and they won’t ferment any further. Bottles that don’t make it past the holidays I will pasteurize to kill the yeast.
chris – you could use apple concentrate. I read that some people use it when back sweetening their cider after fermentation. Sugar did the trick for me because I was looking to raise the starting gravity 20 or so points.