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Sweet Hard Apple Cider

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DarrenTheDrunk

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Hello Fellow Brewers. Happy New Year. I want to brew a sweet apple for a friend but I am not sure how to do this. I am a "lazy brewer" in that if it comes in a can...I want to use it. I am a better drinker than brewer although I must admit...I have done so very nice malty beer brews recently. My Executive Director of Technical Advice "@DazGore" has punched well above his weight so all of my success rests with him frankly. Is it just a matter of back sweetening or is there another way that you could recommend. Thanks in Advance
 

kadmium

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Use lactose to sweeten. Going down the method of stabilising with potassium metabisulphate and sorbate etc can be complicated.

For ease of use lactose is your friend just be aware that large quantities can give a milk type sweetness. But most commercial sweet ciders are lactose sweetened. Can be added at the start of the boil.
 

Brenton Edwards

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I have made it in the past by only fermenting for 4 days to get around 6%abv, then kegging and putting/keeping in beer fridge
that way i was not converting all the natural sugars and to cold for any of the yeast that got transferred to continue fermenting
 

JDW81

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Hey DTD,

There’s a few ways you can sweeten cider, from the simple to the complicated.

Firstly, are you going to keg this batch and put straight in the fridge or bottle and store at ambient temperatures?

If you’re going to keg and keep it cold, then a straightforward way is to keg/crash chill before kegging prior to fermentation is finished and leave some residual sugar there. You just taste and then crack on when happy with the result. You run the risk of leaving some byproducts of fermentation there though, which the yeast would usually clean up for you.

Lactose is another option, but I’ve always found it leaves a funny taste in my cider and I’ve never been a real fan (also not a fan of milk stout/beer which has lactose added either).

There’s a few artificial sweeteners people have used (stevia is one there’s been a thread on here), but I don’t know much about them. Again, likely to leave an artificial taste.

There’s various additives you can use to halt fermentation (potassium metabisulphate/sorbate), but I don’t have any experience with them.

Filtration is another option, although you need the gear and know how to do it. Same process as kegging prior to fermentation, you just filter instead of cool down when it reaches the desired level of sweetness.

Back-sweetening in the glass is probably the easiest and most reliable way. Just add a measure of juice to the glass and top off with cider (you may need to be a carbonate a little more to offset the juice you put in).

How you go about it will probably be dictated by your final packaging method and like all things brewing, it might need a little trial and error to get it right for your/your friends tastes.

JD
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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Use lactose to sweeten. Going down the method of stabilising with potassium metabisulphate and sorbate etc can be complicated.

For ease of use lactose is your friend just be aware that large quantities can give a milk type sweetness. But most commercial sweet ciders are lactose sweetened. Can be added at the start of the boil.
Ok thanks. I know it is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" but what would you add to a 19 liter brew just to give it that little bit of sweetness. Thanks
 

kadmium

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Ok thanks. I know it is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" but what would you add to a 19 liter brew just to give it that little bit of sweetness. Thanks
I'd start at 200g the general rule of thumb for a medium to sweet cider of 23L is around 250g so try 200 for 19. You can always up the sweetness next time!

I know this sounds dumb and I'm not being condescending but let people know it has lactose in it. My sister is lactose intolerant and didn't realise sweet cider has lactose in it. Always wondered why she got sick from drinking them.
 

dave_h

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If you are interested in something simple have a look at Mangrove Jacks cider kits (craft series), they are supposed to be quite good. Ive bought one but not used it yet. Brew shop did say they can take a while (month or two) to mature (sulfur byproduct of the yeast).
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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I'd start at 200g the general rule of thumb for a medium to sweet cider of 23L is around 250g so try 200 for 19. You can always up the sweetness next time!

I know this sounds dumb and I'm not being condescending but let people know it has lactose in it. My sister is lactose intolerant and didn't realise sweet cider has lactose in it. Always wondered why she got sick from drinking them.

Thank you and will do
If you are interested in something simple have a look at Mangrove Jacks cider kits (craft series), they are supposed to be quite good. Ive bought one but not used it yet. Brew shop did say they can take a while (month or two) to mature (sulfur byproduct of the yeast).
Thanks. DAZGORE has convinced me and my experience could not agree more that time is of the essence and well worth the "time investment". I do not even try a cider or beer under 6-8 weeks and am just amazed how much it improves over time. It was only due to an illness (still going) that cut me back on my consumption of the finer things in life that I got to experience the benefits of time...amazing
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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Just added 250g to a 2 can cider brew and it's ok but a little to sweet for my taste. I'll be trying about 175g next time.
Sounds good. I will start with 175 as well although not wanting to go on and on about it...that Snake Bite is very nice indeed
 

contrarian

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If legging I make cider from Aldi apple juice, 9 2L bottles, allow to ferment our completely and then add 2L of top notch apple juice to the keg and it tastes great.

If bottling though this will ferment out and make bottle bombs!
 

S.E

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If bottling though this will ferment out and make bottle bombs!
Could use PET bottles so you can give them a squeeze to check the pressure and release a bit if necessary.
 

DarrenTheDrunk

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If legging I make cider from Aldi apple juice, 9 2L bottles, allow to ferment our completely and then add 2L of top notch apple juice to the keg and it tastes great.

If bottling though this will ferment out and make bottle bombs!
Thanks for your reply. So many people suggest Aldi Apple Cider but I like your approach (no concentrate). I am so excited about trying this after I get approval from "The Professor" who threatens all sorts of harm if I do not run things past him!! Really love the idea and thanks again.
 

golfandbrew

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If you're after simple try adding sugar to your glass. People do this every morning with their coffee or tea. Would want to be careful no to stir too much and lose all your carbonation.
 

mje1980

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If legging I make cider from Aldi apple juice, 9 2L bottles, allow to ferment our completely and then add 2L of top notch apple juice to the keg and it tastes great.

If bottling though this will ferment out and make bottle bombs!
I just did a 9 litre batch with c1118 champagne yeast and kegged with bickfords black currant syrup. Dangerously good!
 

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