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My first crack at cider

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Spanky

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Hi all,

Apologies in advance if I am rehashing an age old subject.

I am about to do a Black Rock cider kit. I am happy enough with it coming out dry but would like to just take the edge off the bitterness. Would just 2L of juice be enough to do this?

What sugar do I use? Do I stick with dextrose?

The can says to use a teaspoon of sugar when bottling. Does this mean give the carbonation drops a miss?

Apologies for asking such newbie questions.

Many thanks.
 

Deep End

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Adding juice at the fermentation stage wont do anything for sweetness, might add some body and a bit more kick.

Sugar or dextrose the choice is yours and the same goes for carbonation drops, all do the same thing
 

bum

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Spanky said:
I am about to do a Black Rock cider kit. I am happy enough with it coming out dry but would like to just take the edge off the bitterness. Would just 2L of juice be enough to do this?
Have you brewed this kit before? It shouldn't really be "bitter". If it is you might need to look for the cause elsewhere in your process. If you just mean that the dryness is overly aggressive then maybe some lactose will take the edge off (maybe 150g to start since you still want it dry). Adding a dash of apple juice at serving will also work.
Spanky said:
What sugar do I use? Do I stick with dextrose?
Yeah, dex is fine but remember if you do add juice to primary it will also add fermenatbles which means more alc. Keep this in mind if you have particular requirements.
Spanky said:
The can says to use a teaspoon of sugar when bottling. Does this mean give the carbonation drops a miss?
Carb drops will be fine. Carb the same way you do your beers.
 

Spanky

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bum said:
Have you brewed this kit before? It shouldn't really be "bitter". If it is you might need to look for the cause elsewhere in your process. If you just mean that the dryness is overly aggressive then maybe some lactose will take the edge off (maybe 150g to start since you still want it dry). Adding a dash of apple juice at serving will also work.
"Bitter" may not have been the best choice of words. Thanks.
 

Spanky

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Dumb question #4126. Is Home Brand apple juice ok to use? No additives or preservatives.
 

manticle

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Anything with no preservatives is fine to ferment (and you could ditch the kit and make cider from the juice only). If you are adding juice just to sweeten, just find one you like the taste of.

Just to clarify the above - carb drops OR tsp of sugar, NOT both.
 

Spanky

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Thanks everyone for the help. Sorry to ask dumb questions.
 

Bludger

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The only dumb question is the one that you don't ask. (Unless you are a politician and then you only ask a question if you already know the answer. Sigh)

Plenty of other questions in the forum like this, but I will clarify a few points.

The yeast in your kit will convert all of the fermentable sugars that it can into alcohol. It will stop when one of two things occur. 1. It runs out of sugar or 2. It poisons itself with alcohol. Generally 1 is what happens. That's why bum recommended lactose, it is not fermentable by your yeast and so will leave some sweetness behind.
If you add juice at any stage, other than when you drink it, the sugar in it will be fermented.

I am not familiar with the black rock kits but I think that they include some unfermentable sugar to provide some sweetness.

A teaspoon of sugar ------- in my opinion you need to be more precise than that when bottling.
You can use a plastic measure that is readily available at BigW or your brewing store. If you have been brewing beer you probably have a measure - it will be the same.
Or you can weigh it. A pain in the date.
Or bulk prime but that is a different conversation altogether.
Or use the carbonation drops - same as beer.

If you use juice for future brews make sure that it is preservative free. It is easy, and can be cheaper than kits.

let me know how it turns out, I have not tried a black rock yet.
 

Spanky

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Ok. I went with 3L of Home Brand apple juice and used dex. OG came out at 1046.

Fingers crossed.
 

bum

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Sounds very similar to the recipe I used when I did that kit. Keep your temps as low as the yeast will tolerate and be patient and it should work out nicely.
Bludger said:
That's why bum recommended lactose, it is not fermentable by your yeast and so will leave some sweetness behind.
If you add juice at any stage, other than when you drink it, the sugar in it will be fermented.
Good clarification, I should have pointed that out myself. If you say things enough times I guess you forget that others don't always think it is as obvious as you do. Cheers.
Bludger said:
I am not familiar with the black rock kits but I think that they include some unfermentable sugar to provide some sweetness.
Definitely true for some kits but I believe the only significant ingredient in the Black Rock kit is apple juice concentrate.
 

Spanky

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Dumb question #5284.

The cider is bubbling away nicely so no alarm bells at this stage. Quick question about bottling though. Is there any reason to limit the size of the bottles used? And will it still be a case of 1 carbonation drop per 375ml?

My kids drink apple juice like it is going out of fashion so I have a few 3L bottles there to be used if need be. Would it be fair to guess that the cider will lose its fizz pretty quickly in a 3L bottle once opened?
 

manticle

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No real difference between carbing cider or beer. Still calculate preferred level of fizz the same way.

Personally I would find 1 carb drop in 375 mL too much but I prefer lower fizz in most things, including cider.
 

Airgead

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Spanky said:
Dumb question #5284.

My kids drink apple juice like it is going out of fashion so I have a few 3L bottles there to be used if need be. Would it be fair to guess that the cider will lose its fizz pretty quickly in a 3L bottle once opened?
I so want to help you but I deeply hate politically motivated avatars on a brewing forum so I'm torn.

I really want to play it for laughs and say - Use the 3l bottles... add a bunch of carbonation drops and don't forget to leave them somewhere warm to really carb up fast. Preferably near something your wife/girlfriend values highly.

Seriously though. Those 3l bottles aren't pressure bottles. They will go foom.

Cheers
Dave
 

Spanky

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Thanks Dave. I figured it was a dumb idea and am happy for confirmation. Perhaps I should hide one in my ex-wife's house.

As a sign of gratitude I will change my avatar.
 

Spanky

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One week down and the bubbling has slowed down overnight. Took a reading and it came out at 1006. Had a curious sip and it tastes ok. Certainly better than beer does at that point.

Should be all good to go in a week.
 

NuggetSA

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I know for fact that he Coles smart buy lids just pop off after about a week and that was only 3 carb drops... Messy waste of cider, glad I only did the one when I ran out if glass.
 

Spanky

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Pulled the trigger on this yesterday and bottled it after days. FG was 1002 and hadn't changed for 2 days and bubbling had stopped.

Had a quick taste (more in the interest of seeing what it was like as a reference for the future) and it wasn't bad by any stretch but did lack a bit of body. Would this be somewhat normal? Will this be likely to improve in the bottle over the next couple of months?
 

Airgead

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It will improve somewhat but there is a limit to how good a cider made from shop juice can get. Juice for drinking is made from sweet apples so it has sugar and that's about it. To make a great cider you need some acid and some tannin to balance it all out and give some depth.

At the moment I get acid from granny smiths. I throw about 20% grannies in my apple mix but then I'm pressing whole fruit. The options for an acid juice from shop bought stuff is more limited. Tannin is quite hard to add from commercial apples (unless you have access to real bittersharp and bittersweet cider apples). I use crab apples for the tannins but again, that's only an option if you are making from fruit. Juice options are again, very limited.

You can try oaking it like a wine. Oak aged cider can be amazing. The oak adds a lot of depth to it.

Cheers
Dave
 

manticle

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You can buy tannic acid from homebrewing shops. I find 5g in 20 L gives a nice edge although oak helps out too.
 

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