Testing/tasting Yeast Strains For Cider

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Howdy all,

I've recently conducted an experiment to try to find a yeast strain that will give me a cider I like.

I had several bottles of UHT apple juice (SG: 1046) and fermented them dry with the following results;

  1. Craftbrewer Cider Yeast - FG: 1008
  2. Coopers Brewing Yeast - FG: 1015
  3. US-05 - FG: 1005
  4. Nottingham Ale Yeast - FG: 1012
  5. S-04 - FG: 1010
  6. Redstar Premier Cuvee - FG: 1004
The yeasts were selected based on other peoples experiences found online, and I was hoping to find one with less attenuation than the others. However, I can't say I can tell a great deal of difference between them!

The cider was left on the lees for longer than intended (six weeks!) but they were bottled 22 Jan and I'm now working through them. I'm going to line them up side by side with some mates for a tasting soon - although I don't think there's going to be any striking differences.

This test wasn't a total waste of time (I still have 10L of cider) but I can't say my expectations were met.

I think the next brew will be with fresh juice. Can I assume that will taste different? So far I've only done small (2-3L) batches. I'm looking forward to scaling up!

I've still got some UHT apple/blackcurrant to try, and another few bottles of UHT apple which may turn into a cyser.
Please keep updating this thread and also do the experiment you plan. Could be one of your mates has a taste for tasting.

I'm interested in the results (even if there is no difference in flavour).
I would expect there to be a reasonable difference between the sweetest and the driest, you have 2.75% w/v difference in the unfermented sugar.
The problem with just using a yeast to make bottle conditioned cider is that, if you are inside the attenuation limit for the yeast, you will get a dry cider every time if your outside the limit, you cant carbonate in a bottle, without an extraordinary amount of dicking around.
Personally I use Muntons Gold yeast, make sure there is enough sugar in there to leave 2-3% unfermented (I like a semi sweet cider), let it finish and keg it and force carbonate.
If you want a good clean ferment you will need some Nutrient (not just DAP), it will ferment faster and the yeast is less prone to throwing off flavours with good nutrient.
Can be a very easy and tasty brew, improves dramatically with a couple of weeks of cold conditioning, with a fair amount of tonk (~10% ABV), its a bit of a stealth bomber.