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Sweetening Keg Cider

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Bribie G

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With hordes descending for Easter I just bought a Black Rock kit and 6L Aldi apple juice. Intend to adjust to 1055 with dex then ferment out and keg. No doubt it will turn out as dry as a nun's but I prefer something like Strongbow / Mercury Draught.

Considering kegging onto some sugar syrup and chilling to 2 degrees which will be fine as the other 2 kegs will be CervezaMegaVB rellie lube.

Anyone use this method? I don't really know how sweet sugar is -wondering how much to add.

The other off topic issue - what is the best fermentation temp? The tin says 23 -27 and seem quite firm on this. I would guess cider yeast aint ale yeast.
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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And what sort of adjustment for lactose quantities for those of us who are currently not kegging and back to bottling :angry:

I will be making Roadcider and unless I get hold of a massive quantity of pears cheap, the only way to backsweeten will be lactose. I'd like to be able to give it away rather than saying "it's dry, like a chardy".
 

GalBrew

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When I sweeten my cider, I add syrup (of artificial sweetener) into the full keg to taste rather than racking onto the syrup. It's a bit of a pain but allows you to fine tune the level of sweetness. I ferment my cider at 17oC using Craftbrewer cider yeast.
 

mxd

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you can just add juice to the keg.

For my first I added DME and it fermented out till 1.008 (US05), so was sweet enough, I prefer my current that got to .998 with Craft Brewers cider yeast.

Fermented both around 18
 

QldKev

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Chuck some pear juice in there, it will help sweeten it. The kit has artificial sweeteners in it, so you are only really trying to balance out the extra apple juice you are adding. Otherwise as mentioned above try throwing some lactose in it. I ferment the cider kits at 22c.

QldKev
 

Airgead

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Hi BG

I do something similar with quite a few ciders. I usually add honey rather than sugar though as the missus prefers the flavour. I'd suggest adding the sugar to the cider rather than racking onto the syrup. You can fine tune the amount that way - its much easier to add more than it is to remove some if you add too much.

As a guide I use about half a cup of honey in a keg. That's enough to give it a touch of sweetness.

I'd also taste the finished cider first. Those kits are, as someone mentioned, usually artificially sweetened and will end up (to my mind) sickeningly sweet anyway.

You could add some pear but the difference will be very slight in the quantities you are looking at. Much easier and more reliable to back sweeten in the keg.

Cheers
Dave
 

Bribie G

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I just checked the ingredients and there's only apple juice. Never thought about using the juice in the keg. I might brew a bit over gravity and add a 2L bottle to the keg. If it ferments a bit in the keg I can always pull it out and pour more juice in
.
 

Greg.L

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A couple of rackings a few weeks apart should help to stabilise your cider. If I want sweet cider I just add a splash of juice to my glass, easy.
 

Rodolphe01

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I did a cider a few months ago, fermented 16L and back sweetened in the keg with 4L of juice. If it helps you work out the sweetness using a dilution calculator the juice finished at 1.008 and the OG was 1.043.
 

Bribie G

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Assembled the cider last night (as a beer brewer I would say that "assembled" is more accurate than "brewed" :D ). I only went for 1050 in the end which should give me around 6.5% ABV. I measured the OG of the Aldi juice and it's a respectable 1044 which would give around a Mercury Draught alcohol strength (5.3%) using just the juice. With Aldi juice at a dollar a litre bang on, that's a tad cheaper than using a kit and how simple!
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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Easy as, huh Bribie.

At least you have an ALDI in your new place, we don't have any down here.

ALDI cider is the easiest alcoholic beverage to make in the entire universe.

Not sure if you want to try Bribie, but I CC'd a fermenter of ALDI cider and whacked in (when on special at Coles or ALDI) frozen berries (I chose only strawberries) when it was 2 degrees (to save fermentation).

Left it for another week to steep and then transferred straight to keg (same rules apply here as hop flowers or plugs in fermenter taps), and gassed up. The ladies love it, and I was partial to a bit myself.

If I do it again, it'll either be fresh blackberries (a pest down here, I'll get non-sprayed ones), or some peaches (if I can get them). Then again, I'll be doing roadcider this year from fresh apples.
 

Bribie G

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Oh boy, who's a clever little lad now !

I can't believe I've just turned out something that even out of the fermenter tastes just like Mercury Cider albeit flat at the moment - it's got the TASTE :) No off flavours, no twangs, just Cider. In fact it tastes a bit like the "Screech" you could get in Cardiff back in the 70s, that was the colloquial name for scrumpy which was imported from Somerset and served on handpump and would get you hammered on a quid.

I fermented for about 8 days, crashed it to -1 for a couple of days and kegged today. Taste test had it dryish so I tested a few mixes with some apple juice and went for a litre of juice into the keg, which should bring it down to about 6.2% and it's turning out like Mercury Draught. Can't wait for it to drop out and gas up.

Also no gooey slime on the sides of the fermenter or massive yeast cake, this cider yeast is doing a nice clean job.

I know this is heresy but I'm thinking of now doing alternating beer and cider brews. No bag, no mashing, no brewbrite, no finings, just slosh in the apple juice and 2 weeks later you are rolling in the Zummerzet hay rigs with the wenches and doing a hornpipe along the wharf at Tintagel. aaarrrhhh.

BTW Coles do a 3L goonie of apple juice for three bucks same as ALDI, no preservatives. Used it to back sweeten, so you should be right LRG. I would imagine Woolies do the same deal.

Cider.jpg
 

MashPaddler

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Bribie G said:
Oh boy, who's a clever little lad now !

I can't believe I've just turned out something that even out of the fermenter tastes just like Mercury Cider albeit flat at the moment - it's got the TASTE :) No off flavours, no twangs, just Cider. In fact it tastes a bit like the "Screech" you could get in Cardiff back in the 70s, that was the colloquial name for scrumpy which was imported from Somerset and served on handpump and would get you hammered on a quid.

I fermented for about 8 days, crashed it to -1 for a couple of days and kegged today. Taste test had it dryish so I tested a few mixes with some apple juice and went for a litre of juice into the keg, which should bring it down to about 6.2% and it's turning out like Mercury Draught. Can't wait for it to drop out and gas up.

Also no gooey slime on the sides of the fermenter or massive yeast cake, this cider yeast is doing a nice clean job.

I know this is heresy but I'm thinking of now doing alternating beer and cider brews. No bag, no mashing, no brewbrite, no finings, just slosh in the apple juice and 2 weeks later you are rolling in the Zummerzet hay rigs with the wenches and doing a hornpipe along the wharf at Tintagel. aaarrrhhh.

BTW Coles do a 3L goonie of apple juice for three bucks same as ALDI, no preservatives. Used it to back sweeten, so you should be right LRG. I would imagine Woolies do the same deal.
Looks the goods. What pressure did you keg at?
 

Bribie G

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I usually keg it at 100 kpa initially, but the sweetened cider keeps fermenting itself in the keg and fizzing up, so after a couple of days it's as fizzy as bottled cider. Then I turn the gas tap off and the cider not only serves itself but also provides plenty of gas for the ales on the other taps.

Also, as posted above, I now run three or four batches through on the same yeast cake - the fermenter stays nice and clean so why fix what ain't broke ;)
 

HalfWit

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If I added 2 liters of apple juice that has preservatives in it to the keg before filling with cider, will this ferment out? I'm after a mid strength cider.
 

431neb

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As LRG1 has noted this is pretty easy. My last attempts were successful until I started to get complicated. An easy change is to throw in a few of the apple and blackcurrant juice bottles with the majority apple juice. I even tossed in a one of the cranberry juice bottles. It was awesome and very popular. I was bottling the last time I did this but with kegs I can see that crystal clear and easily sweetened cider will be about as simple as cheap quaffing booze can get. The wife generally looks down her nose at my brewing exploits but I'm sure a couple of kegs of Rekorderlig style rubbish at her upcoming birthday bash will get people on the dance-floor.
 

simplefisherman

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I'm a fan of using the cloudy apple juice to backsweeten, at about 10% juice is where I like it. The Mrs seems to enjoy it too, she's got an order in for a keg of it when she stops breastfeeding ha ha.
 

Bribie G

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The preservatives wouldn't stop it fermenting, AFAIK it would be sulphites which some people are allergic to, but shouldn't affect the yeast. Best way of backsweetening in keg and keeping it sweet is to drop the keg as cold as you can in the fridge.
 

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