« on: September 12, 2011, 05:49:53 AM »
First, I love Ben Watson's book. It has more information about apple varieties we commonly see (desert apples). Most other books concentrate on cider apples which are hard to find and can produce a cider that is a tough sell for many (very tannic, minimal apple character compared to common cider). If you are buying juice, you'll find most of the books not necessary. They spend most of their time talking about growing apples, crushing, blending, etc. That is 90% of the work. Once you have juice, just let it ferment and leave it alone.
I've used many beer and wine yeasts over the last 5 years and this is my absolute favorite. Last year I was given Premeir Cuvee by a winemaker friend who recommended cold fermentation. Premier Cuvee is cold tolerant to about 40F, so I put the cider in my garage (ave temp 45F) through during the winter. It fermented over about 4 weeks and had an intensly apple flavor and aroma compared to warm fermented versions I had done previously.
I also use sulfites (same as campden tablets, but I have a powder). Its pretty easy.
Its best if you can get some residual sweetness in the cider. A FG of 1.05 or so will have a lot more flavor than a fully dry version, but this is tough. If you can keg, use sulfates and sorbates to kill the yeast, back sweeten, and force carbonate. Its not really possible with bottle conditioned cider. Or consider bottling with no carbonation.