Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stumbling into my 1st Cider Part #2

Continuing on my journey attempting to make a quaffable cider, (if your catching up please read part #1) It's time to back-sweeten the must.  My cider came in at .997 FG after primary fermenation (Which started at 1.060 OG) so back sweetening was a necessary part in the process as the remaining residual sugars are not present to support/balance out the cider.  Making it to dry for me.  I really wanted to be around 1.010 for a finishing gravity, (to cut out this step).  Which I overshot during the fermentation.  So to give the cider some sweetness I purchased another gallon of Organic Apple Juice and moved it over to a sanitary plastic bag and placed it in the freezer.  (Alternatively, you could also purchase a can of concentrate and skip this step.) What you are looking for is a mostly frozen block of ice.  The juice, with the lower freezing point will then be poured out the bottom of the bag into some sort of collection device. 

I figured the best way to collect the concentrate was to let it drip into a sanitary filter/glass jug combo.  Over the next couple hours I collected 1/3 of a gallon of sweet apple concentrate.  Forgetting to take a final gravity on the collected concentrate sucks, but I can't go back now.

I then poured the concentrate into the finished cider.  Now, while doing research I over simplified this step.  What you should do is blend the concentrate and the finished cider into a measured device.  Creating a blend that you like.  Now this is my first hard cider, so I wanted to just go for it.  Next time I will blend the cider properly.

I also added 1 Madagascar Vanilla Bean, cut length wise and added the beans into the cider.  I wanted a small hint of vanilla in this cider, so one bean for 3 gallons seems like a good ratio.  After the blending and the vanilla addition I cleared out a spot in the lagering fridge and placed the carboy in at 41 degrees.  I am hoping to crash cool the wort, stopping fermentation by dropping the yeast out of suspension.  Allowing the sweetened concentrate to stay as simple sugars and not converting into alcohol.  This blend was done last weekend (Oct 19, 2013) the Cider will be kept at 41 degrees for 2 weeks and then carbonated and pressure filled with my Blichmann beer gun. 

Total Costs so far:

  • 3 Gallons of Apple Cider Juice from Sprouts.  $6.99 each (2 for the fermentation, 1 for back sweetening)
  • 1 Cup of White Table Sugar $.50
  • 1 pack of 71B Wine Yeast.  $1.20 shipped on Amazon (Pack of 10/$12.00)
  • 1 Madagascar Vanilla Bean $1.00 shipped on Amazon (Pack of 5/$5.00) 
Total $23.67

Part 3 will cover Bottling the Cider and a Tasting Session coming soon.


  1. I would think if you don't sorbate, or pasturize in some fashion, even with cold crashing your cider will re ferment, and you could risk bottle bombs if they aren't kept cold. I've typically just kegged and cold conditioned, little risk of a keg explosion, and you can regulate desired carbonation. You might want to try a forced ferment test with a pet bottle to see how it deals being bottled after cold crashing. Just a thought.

  2. I need to figure that out as I go along. I really wanted to try pasteurizing them on the stove top in water, but sorbate just seems so much easier. I just do not like the idea of adding chemicals into my fermentations.


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!