Author Topic: Acid in cider  (Read 11231 times)

Offline gmac

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Acid in cider
« on: March 14, 2012, 02:27:59 PM »
I got the results for my first cider back from a competition I entered.  I scored 40 on it but it was mentioned that it wasn't acidic enough.  I didn't add any sort of acid to it.  So, what do I need to add to a 5 gal batch of cider in order to make it acidic enough?  The cider is done fermenting and I'm going to add tannin, stabilizer/campden tabs and back sweeten just a bit but how much acid should I add?  Malic?  Citric? Blend?
Thanks

Online morticaixavier

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2012, 02:42:17 PM »
Wow, 40 is a really good score! you can add any off those acids you mentioned, just not LSD, the dose would to high by the time you got your desired tartness level. 8)
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 02:44:56 PM »
Wow, 40 is a really good score! you can add any off those acids you mentioned, just not LSD, the dose would to high by the time you got your desired tartness level. 8)

But just think about how many more things he could experience in his cider.   8)

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 02:50:28 PM »
A rule of thumb I read was that you want the finished pH to be in the 3.4 to 3.6 range.  I used some phosphoric acid to bring it down, it didn't take that much.  Measure, adjust, measure again, adjust a little more if you need to.  Mine got a 38.5 in a local competition. 
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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 03:32:04 PM »
First - nice score!
 
I always add to taste. Here is my method which I use for acids, flavorings, etc. -
 
1) Figure out how much acid I think I will want in 5 gallons (many jars of acid come with 'recommendations'.
2) Dissolve 1.5X that amount in 1.5 cups of your fermented beverage (I like cups because there are 48 teaspoons in a cup and a 5 gallon batch is close to 48 12oz servings - makes for easy dilutions).
3) Pour several 6oz portions of fresh cider.
 
4a) Add 1/4 tsp to one (This is a half dose).
4b) Add 1/2 tsp to another (Full dose).
4c) Add 1 tsp to another (Double dose).
4d) etc - You can decide what dosages you want to try.
 
5) Stir, taste and decide which tastes best. Try other dosages if you think it needs it.
 
6) Use the original dosing cider to add acid to the full batch. If you like the 'full dose' version best, then add 1 cup to 5 gallons. 1/2 dose would be 1/2 cup in 5 gallons. If you want to increase the dose from your original estimate, you might have to mix up more.
 
I use malic acid since it is the acid in apples. I know other people use acid blend too.
 
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 05:48:55 PM »
Malic acid is the acid naturally found in apples.  Personally I use tart apples in my blend so I don't have to worry about not enough acid.  If anything, my ciders are a little TOO tart.  Nothing that a little backsweetening can't fix though.
Dave

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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 07:02:39 PM »
First - nice score!
 
I always add to taste. Here is my method which I use for acids, flavorings, etc. -
 
1) Figure out how much acid I think I will want in 5 gallons (many jars of acid come with 'recommendations'.
2) Dissolve 1.5X that amount in 1.5 cups of your fermented beverage (I like cups because there are 48 teaspoons in a cup and a 5 gallon batch is close to 48 12oz servings - makes for easy dilutions).
3) Pour several 6oz portions of fresh cider.
 
4a) Add 1/4 tsp to one (This is a half dose).
4b) Add 1/2 tsp to another (Full dose).
4c) Add 1 tsp to another (Double dose).
4d) etc - You can decide what dosages you want to try.
 
5) Stir, taste and decide which tastes best. Try other dosages if you think it needs it.
 
6) Use the original dosing cider to add acid to the full batch. If you like the 'full dose' version best, then add 1 cup to 5 gallons. 1/2 dose would be 1/2 cup in 5 gallons. If you want to increase the dose from your original estimate, you might have to mix up more.
 
I use malic acid since it is the acid in apples. I know other people use acid blend too.
Yes taste it before, and at all of the additions.  Forgot to say that. 
Jeff Rankert
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Offline nateo

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2012, 07:38:27 AM »
Keep in mind pH and titratable acidity are different. Certain acids like malic are perceived as more "sour" than, say, lactic. Malic acid is associated with crisp freshness in fruit. Citric acid isn't too hard to find for canning, and you can probably get malic, tartaric and lactic individually at your LHBS.
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Offline garc_mall

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2012, 10:27:33 AM »
The other thing is that in most traditional ciders, about 4-6 months after fermentation is complete, there is a secondary malo-lactic fermentation, where malic acid is converted to lactic acid. lactic acid is said to be a smoother tartness, and not quite as harsh as malic acid.

Just my 2 cents.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2012, 11:38:01 AM »
The other thing is that in most traditional ciders, about 4-6 months after fermentation is complete, there is a secondary malo-lactic fermentation, where malic acid is converted to lactic acid. lactic acid is said to be a smoother tartness, and not quite as harsh as malic acid.

Just my 2 cents.

Traditional ciders are also made with apple varieties that aren't readily available for most people. All of the grocery store and apple juice type of ciders are "dessert" apples, not cider apples. Even most orchards that make apple cider use dessert type apples. If you can't get the right mix and amount of acids and tannins from your apples, you need to add some yourself.

Granny Smith is the notable exception. It's a dessert apple, but it makes a decent single-variety cider.
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Offline s rails

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2012, 11:47:32 AM »
I always taste and check ph after the first fermentation. I use the strips to get in the ballpark.  I believe all the cider books I have read say to look for a ph of about 3.5 to 3.8.  A good acid level will brighten the cider up and help prevent spoilage.   If needed I will add malic acid since pears and apples contain more malic acid then any other acid.  Stay away from acid blends that contain citric acid.  I think citric acid is a harsh combination in a cider (my opinion).  Check with a winemaker or store that caters to winemakers regarding how to add the right amount.  I have also had success using tartaric acid when malic wasn't available. 

Boil about a cup of water, add the amount of acid they recommend until it disolves, then blend into the cider, and taste. One nice thing about using malic acid is that if it is a little overpowering you can add a vial of malo-lactic bacteria which will convert much of the malic to lactic acid (takes a few months).  Winemakers do this with wines like Chardonnay to give it the buttery mouthfeel (I am not talking about a diacetyl flavor).  The ph should remain the same but lactic acid can give the perception of a fuller or less thin cider.  You can taste it during the malo-lactic ferment and stop it when it hits the flavor you want by using potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfate in the recommed levels for your ph.  If the cider is too acidic you could add calcium carbonate or more commonly known as chalk (I've never had that problem or used chalk).   A good source for this info is from winemaking.  The MoreWine (MoreBeer) website contains pdfs on winemaking that you can download.  It gets into a lot of the detail about all that I mentioned.  The site is http://morewinemaking.com/content/manuals.  Hope my 2 cents helps steer you on where to get the right info.
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Offline nateo

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2012, 03:06:44 PM »
I've never actually used tannin powder. I get my tannins from oak chips and black tea. I tried Earl Grey last time, and it turned out to be my favorite so far, at one bag per gallon. You can't taste the tea, but the bergamot gives the cider a slight floral/citrus note. Pretty subtle, but it's there if you look for it.
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Offline stlaleman

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2012, 04:26:10 PM »
With a score of 40, the main question you need to ask is, "Do I like my cider?" If the answer is "yes", don't add anything, enjoy enter and watch your score bounce between 35 and 45. If you entered it 10 times, received low 20's every time, all with the same comment, I would think of changing it up.

Offline gmac

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2012, 06:22:01 PM »
With a score of 40, the main question you need to ask is, "Do I like my cider?" If the answer is "yes", don't add anything, enjoy enter and watch your score bounce between 35 and 45. If you entered it 10 times, received low 20's every time, all with the same comment, I would think of changing it up.

Good point.  Everyone who's tried it absolutely loved it.  If I could sell it, I'd be making it twice a week based on the number of people who have asked if they can buy it so maybe I should leave well enough alone...

Probably the best thing to do is split a batch and do some with malic acid and some without and see what I like best.  Don't get me wrong, given that it's my first attempt, 40 is amazing (but I owe most of that to the advice you guys gave me on here).  But with the NHC 1st round coming up, I just want to do my best.

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Re: Acid in cider
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 05:18:29 AM »
I get my tannins from oak chips and black tea. I tried Earl Grey last time, and it turned out to be my favorite so far, at one bag per gallon. You can't taste the tea, but the bergamot gives the cider a slight floral/citrus note. Pretty subtle, but it's there if you look for it.

That's pretty interesting - how much did you use?
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